Have you ever thought about how important the life of a bottlecap is? I bet there are a lot of them that could tell some amazing stories.

When I was young, we would ride our bikes to the grocery store after walking beans and grab some Twinkies, Ho- Hos and a bottle of orange or grape Crush. We would talk about the heroics of Kirby Puckett, Daryl Strawberry and Done Mattingly, while bouncing our bottlecaps on the sidewalk.

I used to love looking into the old-fashioned pop machines at all of the different logos pointing at me from their respective slots. When a certain brand changed its logo, it was a BIG DEAL.

Do you remember the old Coca-Cola commercials? The spit and hiss of effervescence as bottle after bottle were opened became an iconic sound of the time, and the image of that red bottlecap was engrained in humankind across the globe.

It’s rather ironic that the highlight of a bottlecap’s career is also its last function – being twisted or pried off, to expose the very thing that it had been created to protect until that point. There is nothing more satisfying than the sound of a bottle of beer being opened. And there is nothing more annoying than trying to twist off a cap that isn’t a twist off. Especially if your hands are wet and you get those little cuts on the inside of your fingers.

Some of the lucky ones might get set to the side instead of immediately thrown away. If they are the first bottlecap to pop off that night, they may hear serious business deals being made, or friends saying how glad they are to see one another. Maybe they get to hear the very first conversations of a couple on a blind date, or the memories of family members in mourning of a lost loved one.

Those that come later in the sequence probably get to listen to some jokes, hear the jukebox play, and follow half true stories of the “good old days”.

And those poor unfortunate souls that get opened at the end of the night might have to deal with repeated bad jokes, promises that won’t be kept, and tone-deaf singers wailing to their favorite tunes.

So, thanks to all the bottlecaps I’ve known in my life. You did your job well. And I think I’m glad you can’t tell your stories!


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