More Silly Things to Write About: Tabs

I suppose it’s part of getting older – reminiscing about one’s earlier years – comparing life of today to what it was like when you were a kid. Boy, I sound just like everyone’s parents sounded about thirty years ago.

The cycle recycles the new into the old and the must have, must talk about, must do, must get items of today become the flippant irrelevant memories of the past.

Life seemed so much simpler back in the 80s. I’m sure the 80s thought life was simpler in the 50s and the 50s certainly thought life was a snoozefest back in the 20s.

I guess that is the price of progress.

So what is it that got me thinking nostalgically about change and the flow of generations? A pop can for that matter. (It’s pop, okay. Let’s not have that debate here.)

2015-05-07 10.28.02Look at the tab at the top of this Coke Light can. Do you notice it? Better yet, do you remember what it was like before it was like this?

Before 1980, all soda-pop cans (and beer cans for that matter) had pull-off tabs instead of these ones which remain on the can itself.

It was common place to see can tabs strewn wildly on the side of any road. Pull and throw – that’s how it was done.

But in seventh grade, the game-changer came along. I remember the first time I saw the new style of can. I was in my seventh grade English class and Mr. What’s his name with a bushy mustache walked in before class started with a can of pop. He said, “Hey class, look at this.” We gathered around as he held the can in front of us inquisitive creatures and he said, “Watch.” PSSHH! He popped it open. “No tab. You open it up and there’s nothing to throw away.”

We were mesmerized.  Wow! What an amazing invention.

What is amazing about that story is that such a simple engineering feat as that was enough to mesmerize seventh graders circa 1980. My how times have changed. And what’s more amazing is that moment has been canonized into the important memories of my youth for whatever crazy reason. We were proud of our new pop cans. We were reducing litter and creating a whole new hole shape from which to enjoy pop.

So maybe my generation didn’t save the world, but at least we knew a good thing when we saw it.

I’d like to meet the patent-holder for the tab-less can. What an inspiring person!


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