"Why do you have a pair of pliers on the bathroom counter?"
To the man who shares my life and bathroom space, it apparently seemed like a reasonable question. And, of course, I had a perfectly reasonable answer. "To squeeze the last of the face cream out of the tube."
For some reason, he thought that was the funniest thing he'd heard since the joke about the orangutan and the zookeeper. Funnier, actually. He hadn't laughed nearly that hard when I told him the joke. Come to think of it, he didn't actually laugh at all. He just groaned and rolled his eyes. It was that kind of joke.
But back to the pliers. Their presence in the bathroom made perfect sense to me. The face cream—nighttime moisturizing lotion with Retinol—is expensive. Not in the fifty bucks a half ounce range or anything like that, but not cheap, either. It comes in a metal tube. When it's almost empty, there are still several applications left at the top of the tube. Not having hand strength anywhere close to that of an orangutan, I can't squeeze them out with my bare fingers. Hence the pliers.
This brings us to the crucial question. Is squeezing the last possible bit of stuff out of the tube with pliers practical and frugal, or is it obsessive and cheap? Or, even worse, is it simply odd?
In my opinion, it's merely sensible. No different from using a spatula to scrape the last peanut butter out of the jar or storing the jar of salad dressing upside down to get the last couple of servings without having to sit at the table holding it over your salad for 17 minutes until it oozes out.
You just squeeze the top of the tube slightly with the pliers, and there's another application of lotion. No muss, no fuss, no wear and tear on the fingers. There you are, and Bob's your uncle.
Which brings us around to the orangutan and the zookeeper. (I know, I know. Admit it. You only read this far because you were looking for the joke.) There was an orangutan who was amazingly intelligent. Not only did he learn to communicate fluently in sign language, but he learned to read as well. One day the zookeeper came by and saw the orangutan reading two books at once—the Bible and Darwin's Origin of Species. The zookeeper asked, "Why are you reading both of those together? Isn't that confusing?"
The orangutan signed back, "It is, a little. But I'm just trying to figure something out. Am I my brother's keeper, or am I my keeper's brother?"