FOR SOME PEOPLE LIFE IS all jam, for others it’s just a jar with a stiff lid. Once you’ve got a stiff lid, the first thing to do is to get a wet dish cloth. This gives you a better grip on the lid but the downside is that it can give you a smelly hand.
Feminists will do anything rather than hand the jam to a man as this would be a pathetic act of submission. What they may have overlooked is the terror in a man’s heart when the jam is passed their way. The stiff lid rite of passage is one few men relish. That’s why men often like to get tools involved at this point. There are special vice-grips that can grip anything. However, there’s something about getting your toolbox out that takes the edge off a relaxing breakfast.
The best way forward is to stop and mentally dominate the lid. You get yourself into a frame of mind that even if the lid were welded shut it would now glide off. Generally this technique works well. Even if it doesn’t, you end up so mentally energised you can often go without breakfast.
Try running the lid under a hot tap. The water should be absolutely scalding. You then grab the lid, burn your hand, and the sheer pain and anger will allow you to rip the top of the lid off without even bothering with the unscrewing action.
Jams are vacuum packed and it is atmospheric pressure that holds the lid firm. Observing the fundamental laws of physics, it stands to reason that the higher you go the less the pressure will be and the easier you will open the jam jar. Going upstairs with the jam should therefore significantly reduce the pressure. And take the rest of breakfast upstairs to your partner while you’re at it.
You can sometimes break the seal by giving the jar a sharp knock on the edge of a table. The top of the lid will suddenly go ping and you’ll know resistance is over. Alternatively there will be a sudden crash and you’ll know that you’ve got glass on toast for breakfast.
Another way of breaking the vacuum is to pierce a hole in the lid. Remember that at any given time one third of people in A&E have attempted to do this. Jam jar piercing is the most common knife wound in the country.
The ultimate weapon you have in the war against stiff lids is to wedge the lid between the door and door frame. This will give you a vice-like grip on the lid. Of course, this implies that you can get the door open and that it isn’t itself stuck. Or, heaven forbid, jammed.
© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.