Ah, the ol' bag in a box.  Back when I was kitchen manager of my fraternity, I used to have to deal with these a lot, and they sucked.

Basically, the way a whole lotta soda is sold, unless you buy it in a can or a bottle, is through soda fountains.  And the way most of those work is by putting a few gallons of the soda syrup in a big bag, and then putting that bag inside of a cardboard box.  You then connect lines from the fountain machine into a doodad on the bag, connect another line to a CO2 tank, and voila!  You've got yourself a soda fountain.

They're also a MAJOR PAIN IN THE ASS.  You'll usually have six boxes connected to the fountain, for six different products (regular, diet, root beer, etc.).  Originally, I'd wait until two or three boxes of syrup emptied before I'd make the trip down to the basement and lug more upstairs.  Big mistake.  If a user tried to get soda out of a line where the box was completely empty, it could cause air bubbles to come up through the lines.  I don't exactly know how or why, but this would send the CO2 tank into conniption fits.  This, in turn, would screw up your syrup to CO2 ratio, ruining all six lines.

They also leak.  Even making sure the connections are airtight, checking for holes, and cleaning the storage compartment every week, somehow the space would always be disgusting and covered with dried syrup by the next time I checked it.  God help you if you drop one of the boxes while you're carrying it...

Ever tried to open a wine carton of the Bag-in-a-Box variety? In that case, just read on, provided that you are over the age of four.

It's well known that we have all been smaller. I don't refer to the considerable embonpoint (look it up in your French dictionary) that most of us have acquired by now, in our late twenties. No, I'm thinking of the rather extensive Freudian damage that was done to us at the age of four, or somewhere in the environs of that age.

To pee, or not to pee

We had some sort of trousers, generally short - the long ones were reserved for late adolescents and grownups - but we still had to pee. Yes, this is what makes this particular account biologically viable. Peeing is an inalienable right, bestowed upon us by Darwin. We exercise it in public conveniences, in among the trees, behind bushes, at home, even in the direction of an occasional bedpot.

The problem

However, the vehicle of urination at the time was quite small, among most of us male pee-ers, and it had to be taken out, extracted, in order for the urination to be effectuated. So - and I remember this as clearly as a salmon's ass - we had to search in the deep depths of our short pants to retrieve our respective peckers, or whatever you might call these small, elusive, slinky unmanageable body parts that Darwin saw fit to endow 4-year-olds with. This was not easy. It took considerable time - what our parents or governesses didn't have - and endless puerile effort. The task would have been ameliorated by intelligence, which we thankfully didn't know how to spell, at the time.

Well now, this is common knowledge. We - fifty percent of us - have intimate acquaintance with the problem of being a 4-year-old in some sort of trousers and wanting to pee. The problem at hand (no pun intended) is more of an Eternal Return of the problem, in our Post-Industrial Age of today.

Elusive search for the unmentionable

Because the same problem reappears every time you want to open a Bag-in-a-Box wine carton. You have to search for the spout, or tap, or whatever they call it, deep inside of the trousers of the well-engineered contraption. It feels indecent, and it reminds you of your shortcomings at an earlier age. Digging deep down into the cardboard box, feeling the soft animal texture of the plastic bag, gently feeling that it is withdrawing from your reach, enticing you, giving you some sort of inexplicable pleasure, without accomplishing the task.

Well this is what we all have to live through, in these times of drinking wine from a Bag-in-a-Box. OK, just fifty percent of us, to be accurate. The rest are still sticking to bottled wine.


Reminiscences of noder

Experienced hardships

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