I Know The Science Behind Opening Jars

Just because I opted to take Geology instead of (the more complicated) Chemistry, has no bearing on whether or not I know the science behind opening jars.

If I had a million dollars for every time some girl with weak wrists handed me a jar of peanut butter or a jar of pickles and bulged out her eyes as if to say can you puh-leeze open this jar for me “mr. you can punch me in the stomach as hard as you want”, I would be at least a double-millionaire. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I look like I have bulging, strong wrists. It’s more based on the fact that a long long time ago when I was hanging out with a group of friends, I boasted about my knowledge of opening up stuck jar lids.

You know the story. Cold water contracts, while warm water expands. So, if you want to loosen a jar top then just put that baby under a cold water source and dry it off and try your hand at the jar lid. Warm water, my friends, works about as good as using a jar of Jello to open it up.

Needless to say, after that one night in which I laid out the exact knowledge I had about opening jar lids that were stuck, I sort of became a local Billie Jean. You remember the movie? The Legend of Billie Jean? In which a woman who stood up for good ended up becoming the idol of teenagers everywhere in a world that only movies could create?

You can call me Paulie D-Jean.

Cold water contracting is a simple little bullet point of knowledge, of course. But it’s not the full solution to opening up a jar of bread and butter pickle slices or olives. There is a wrist movement that I have coined “wrist-a-twist”, combined with a stance that requires one foot in front and one foot behind “the line” which works in tandem with Equation 45H as postulated by one Harrison Begly (Harvard U., 1975). Begly’s equation states that the amount of force combined with the amount of desire divided by X, which equals the amount of hunger and multiplied by the amount of attractive women standing by, watching to see how strong you are — it all plays into whether or not you can open the jar.

Mind you, opening jars is not a gender specific talent. I am well aware of this fact and would never, ever in my life, allude to the fact that only men are talented in this area. No way, buddy. Not at all. I simply can only attest to my knowledge of the science behind opening jars and leave the rest up for discussion.

And that, is the God’s honest truth.

9 comments on “I Know The Science Behind Opening Jars

  1. Robbie - May 31, 2004 at 8:12 am -

    Another jar opening tip: Poke a hole in the lid with a knife. It pops the seal. But that should be a last resort option since you will then need to store the remaining item in another container or place Saran Wrap under the lid.

  2. DebW - June 3, 2004 at 10:06 pm -

    you can also open a jar by taking the pointy tip of a can/bottle opener and pry it under the rim of the lid to loosen the vacuum seal.

  3. Rory - June 4, 2004 at 2:00 am -

    This only works if the glass jar contracts to a further degree than the metal? lid. If they both “contract” the same amount, or if the lid contracts more than the jar, then you have accomplished nothing. I think this may be the placebo effect in action. It’s really just a matter of getting a good grip on it and twisting. All though, banging the top gently against a countertop seems to work well for me. / aw hell.

  4. james - June 4, 2004 at 9:07 am -

    The coefficient of linear expansion for glass is 5.9 m/mKx10^6, while aluminum’s is 22.2, and steel is 13.0. In other words, if the lid is made of aluminum, it’s contracting nearly 4 times as much as the glass, tightening its grip. A steel lid is also contracting twice as much as the glass jar.

    In my experience, hot water is better, for both expanding the metal lid, and loosening any gumminess.

  5. Pauly D - June 4, 2004 at 9:28 am -

    Yeah, I didn’t take the coefficient of linear expansion into account.

    Damn me.

  6. lucy - June 4, 2004 at 10:10 am -

    One of my ex-roommates taught me this – you put a rubber band around the lid to get a grip. The thick rubber bands work the best.

    It always works, even for a girlie girl like me :).

  7. Andrea - June 4, 2004 at 7:57 pm -

    Your writing is excellent!! Kudos…and the jar trick…well, roll up your sleeves, kiddo. I think it’s the bulging biceps.

  8. Gary Miller - June 5, 2004 at 3:37 am -

    I usually use a fork to get in between the lid and the jar to break the seal.

    Usually I end up bending the fork from doing thios.

  9. Dawggpie - June 11, 2004 at 6:01 am -

    how about this, if u’re lacking buldging biceps, put the jar in the fridge for a bit so that it’s cold, then dunk the metal lid in hot water for a couple seconds, twist, and eat. This way hopefully u get the benefits of both contract and expanding all in the right places. I bet that bald kid in the Matrix could do one better and open it w/o touching it :p

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