Blog: Peanuts

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Burt Ross

I have always enjoyed eating peanuts. There are few things that bring me more joy than a handful of Planters Peanuts washed down with any one of a hundred libations. You can imagine, then, my utter disgust when a ghastly product was named after my beloved peanuts. I am, of course, referring to the styrofoam packaging material commonly (but unfortunately) known as “peanuts.”

Back in 1966, the United States Supreme Court defined obscenity or pornography as “anything patently offensive … and of no redeeming social value.” I assert that peanuts are, by that definition, thoroughly obscene. They are patently offensive beyond any reasonable doubt and, as far as I am concerned, without redeeming social value. Yes, they might on occasion prevent a gift from being broken, but that is small consolation for their otherwise nefarious characteristics.

It seems like I spent much of my holiday season getting rid of these nuisances. Let me give you one example, please.  Somebody was kind enough (I should say sweet enough) to send me a small box of chocolate candy. I think there was a box of candy in there somewhere, but first I had to spend what seemed like eternity trying to get rid of all those peanuts in order to secure my gift. 

Taking handfuls of the junk and placing it in the garbage was too time consuming, so I lifted the entire box and poured the peanuts straight into the garbage with, I am afraid, the box of candy not too far behind. I then had to retrieve the box of candy from the garbage with all the peanuts clinging to my skin like leeches.

Who created these little styrofoam monsters in the first place? Apparently a chap named Robert E. Holden was granted a patent in 1965, which he then sold to the Dow Chemical Company, the maker of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Dow seems to major in assaults on our environment, which peanuts most assuredly are.

I Googled Mr. Holden and, for somebody who did such a horrible thing, he actually looked like a perfectly nice guy. Since he is long gone now, I can be candid. With all apologies to his progeny, Mr. Holden should have been summarily executed for his invention of this inconvenient and hazardous material. There is a time to suspend our Constitution, and that was the time—no trial, no reading of his Miranda rights, no representation by counsel—just a quick execution like they do in other parts of the world. 

Hopefully, the gift giving has died down by now. If you ever feel the need to send me chocolate, whatever you do, don’t hide it in styrofoam. The worst that can happen is one piece of chocolate breaks, thereby giving me an even more wonderful gift—two pieces of chocolate.