just find everything’s place. sorted. thanks tupperware.

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the western world that hasn’t heard of Tupperware. And of those that have heard of Tupperware, 99% of us have come across a piece of ‘ware in our lives. Of that 99%, probably 80% actually own(ed) a piece, or lived in a household that harboured at least one or two items of durable, colourful storage ware, and now have the Tupperware font clear in their memory… and of that 80% of the 99% of the majority of the western world, over half of us…that’s 50% of 80% of 99%… are now being transported to our formative years, and are remembering their play area, a shared space containing a blanket of some description, a favourite soft toy and the Tupperware Sorter Ball.

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Undoubtedly, this was my favourite toy when I was a baby. It is the toy that even to this day, when I see a see one, think of one, or even glimpse a picture of one I can actually taste those little yellow shapes on my gums. I can feel the smooth and jagged ball in my little soft hands. I can remember so vividly the frustration and the satisfaction of pushing a star into a star hole. How amusing, so amusing, this toy was.

Tupperware are geniuses. Full stop.  Who invented this ball? A masterpiece of philosophical measures.

The Tupperware Sorter Ball helped us all learn to grip, learn to move our little fingers around a surface that was not flat and find a hole for every shape. Problem solving, acute motor skills, and patience, we all owe to Tupperware.

So where are these skills now?

I know for a fact I have brilliant problem-solving skills. I am in a face-paced job which leaves little time to deliberate about things, problems have to be solved on the spot. I also have a lot of close friends, emotional acquaintances and a neurotic husband who need answers quick, who need problems solved. I am skilled. Thanks Tupperware.

I know the world is round, I know when you travel around it you find all sorts of shapes and colours and holes. And things become clearer when you spin the globe a bit and find more shapes. And no matter how many times you have done this jigsaw, I know inherently that a round puzzle is much more interesting than a flat one. Thanks Tupperware.

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I have amazing motor skills. I can juggle things and balance things and hold more than one thing in one hand at a time. This helps me in my work, it helps me stay physically sharp and it helps to keep me alive. Food, sustenance, highly important, and just one example of the  relevance of Tupperware brand of survival skills. Cooking is a balancing act. Motor skills are necessary. Eating is hand to mouth; basic, elementary –one of the very first things we grasp, but there is little enjoyment, as an adult, in pushing a squashed up banana to your half-closed lips. However, being able to gather several ingredients, sometimes all in one hand, and combine them together in a designated amount of time to create a celebration of the senses, now that’s a skill. Thanks Tupperware.

[And to be able to suspend that creation in time for 3-5 days, without acquiring fridge odour, and eat it again …and again, is a privilege. ThanksTupperware].

So it seems I owe most of my life skills to the Tupperware Sorter Ball, most of the useful ones anyway.

Now, be still, one of the most obvious skills the sorter ball teaches you, yet one of the hardest ones for me to master in my maturity, is the fundamental lesson that everything has its place. Everything has a compartment it will fit neatly into, without strain.

Can you remember that feeling?

…take your mind back there for a minute…

You have that neat little sunshiny shape clumsily wedged in your chubby little hand, you have been pushing and pushing and clamming and twisting the crucifix-shaped bit of plastic for hours. You are pushing it into holes and tapping on the vessel with hope that one of the doors will magically open. Squeezing it, trying every angle, every hole–including your mouth and your little sister’s mouth– starting to lose your 2 year old patience (which as it turns out, is remarkably as short as a grown adult when put under pressure) …then all of a sudden, with a slight turn of your floppy sausage wrist you feel movement, movement in a direction toward the centre of the earth (ball).

You almost can’t believe it, it fits!

You feel a small pang of loss as you drop it in the hole but that is overcome quickly by the sensation of completion.

You have had a small success, in relation to your little life at the time it is a grand success, and you are ready to move on. Onto the next puzzle, the next piece.

You found the crucifix-shaped hole and, at the right angle, in the right direction with just the right amount of force, you placed the crucifix-shaped plastic block in the crucifix-shaped cavity. Sunlight streams through the pales of you playpen and hits your face just at that moment and you first hear a faint humm of the universe aligning. Everything has it’s place

Unfortunately our toddler brains tend to forget the simple rules without constant practice, so you may have to sit there until you’re 5yrs old, and all the other skills are in place, before you can confidently pick up that ball and place each shape in it’s corresponding hole with gusto and quality of precision. And your 5yr old self may then roll the ball across the room to your 3yr old sister with a cheshire smile resting on your chin as if to say, ‘its not that hard, dude, whats your problem?’

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So at 5 you get it. Throughout primary school you get it, mostly because it’s drummed into you by teachers and parents…”Is that where that belongs Mandy? I don’t think so, put it where it belongs…”

As a teenager you get it. Although our teenage years are all about rebellion, about knowing where everything belongs and deliberately putting them in the wrong place; clothing, piercings, expletives, and an assortment of illicit pleasures, everything is experimented with,shoved into the wrong holes. Ahem.

But you know the rules. You instinctively know that everything has it’s place. Thanks to the Tupperware Sorter Ball.

So here I am a grown adult human. With all my skills in place. In my adult years however, from time-to-time, I have struggled to maintain this basic mantra. Sometimes I find it hard to remember this one lesson. Everything has it’s place.

I have the other Tupperware sponsored skills down pat, as I demonstrated earlier in the piece. Skills that I never forget, that are ingrained in me, thanks Tupperware. But this one, this one simple Tupperware lesson, is harder to grasp sometimes.

I will sit like a dribbling toddler, with one shape in my hand, trying to push it into the wrong hole for weeks, months, sometimes even years. In some instances I will be so fed up with the confusion that I will just shove it in any hole and force it through to a point where it will just be stuck, blocking up the hole, but at least leaving me free of that shape for a while. I’ll then try and move on, pick up another shape, put it in it’s place and maybe ill get a few more in the bag(ball).

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Here’s the thing tho, if one thing is in the wrong place, I will inevitably end up with one piece in my hand and nowhere to put it. Checkmate. Thats when you want to just smash the ball.

What I have to relearn as an adult constantly, is that everything has its place. Everything, every one, in your life, your universe, your ball, has a place that it will comfortably fall, leaving you to get on with the next thing. Sure you will have moments when you are not ready to say goodbye to a certain shape. There will also be times when it seems that a circle shape is close enough to an oval hole.

Don’t do it tho. Don’t force it. Don’t smash the ball.

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So if you have some perplexing shapes in your life that aren’t fitting into the holes you want them to, a friendship that may have run it’s course, a job that is not complying with your passions, chores that that take up too much time at the wrong times, a gift from a loved one that doesn’t suit, an insult that may not have meant to hurt, an insatiable attraction for a seemingly wrong person… All of these things, they have their place.

Just take your time, use your skills and find the right hole. Find everything’s correct place, and place it. You will find great satisfaction when you have all the shapes contained within the ball. And this is not the end of the game. You can keep playing, just open up the ball at any time, shake it up, all the shapes will tumble out and you can start over.

And of course Tupperware will always have it’s place, and it’s not at my party.

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