I hate these things. Next time I order something over the Internet, I am going to send a query of some sort—maybe even call customer service—and ask if the thing comes packed in packing peanuts. If it does, I am sure I can make do without whatever consumer durable I was about to order. Because if it comes accompanied by packing peanuts, I don’t want it.

What could possibly be important enough a device or item that I’d abide packing peanuts in my life and my house? Perhaps a pacemaker, but nothing south of that.

Packing peanuts are pure hell, no matter how they arrive at your doorstep. The first problem is that they spread out like a well-drilled occupying army. As you yank your consumer durable out of the box, the army takes up its various positions. On the rug, on the couch, on the stairs. If you have youngsters around, they’ll want to play with them, but only, and just only, long enough to spread them even farther and wider than they’d normally disperse. Then the young ones lose interest in these lifeless, useless objects.

Yes, useless. Packing peanuts are supposed to protect your consumer durable, but according to sources in the packing industry, those consumer durables tend to migrate toward the bottom of the box despite the presence of the packing peanuts. Makes nothing but sense to me, given how, every time I get a peanut-filled shipment, I end up having to reach to the bottom of the box to fish out the damn thing. Next time, I’m going in from the bottom.

Oh, that’s right—-there will be no next time. Never. The last episode was just too traumatic. First was the standard spillover. Then, once on the loose, they took on a caffeinated static frisson, running to all available surfaces and clinging to them. Sure, you can live with sweeping the floor a bit, but with these evil little suckers, you find yourself scraping the walls and the baseboards. And it’s not just the full, intact peanuts, but also peanuts subparts and fragments. They, too, follow a GPS system of their own.

I know that bad people in authoritarian and Cheney-led countries have spent a lot of time figuring out how to torment people. Here’s a thought—-have them try scooping up foam peanuts into a dustpan. See how that works. And then try downloading those peanuts into a garbage bag of any dimensions. A physically impossible task.

Foam peanut backers will doubtless counter that today’s varieties are environmentally responsible and water-soluble and based on some kind of sorghum or some shit like that. Great, now I can draw a bath to dispose of these things. That’ll work.