Seal Team Six
Many packaged goods like medicines or juices will have a plastic seal on them with a phrase like "Sealed for your protection" printed right on the thing doing the sealing. I think the history here is that someone was selling non-sealed bottles of something, and some prankster down at the distribution plant thought it would be funny to replace the cola in one of them with like, cherry sauce, or something, and so the higher-ups realized they could add some seals on bottles to counter these efforts.
The seal is ostensibly there for my protection, but it's also there for the bottlers liability. I'm sure that if they can show that every thing which goes out their door goes out with a seal, that makes it harder for the guy who got cherry sauce instead of cola to prove that it was their doing. The grocer presumably inherits some of this protection and they can be like "look buddy, you left our store with a sealed box of stuff and this is your own cherry sauce, stop scamming us!"
You've gotta think though that like essentially all of the time no one is tampering with the bottles and no one even wants to tamper with the bottles, so we're just putting all these seals on things to show they haven't been tampered with but they never were going to be tampered with. You are entering into a tacit agreement with the manufacturer of your thing where they agree to use slightly more time and energy and materials to package your thing, and you agree to spend slightly more on it, and this is just the cost of doing business in a litigious world.
I'd like to see someone "disrupt" the market with like a roll-the-dice branding effort where you purposefully did not seal your things for someone's protection and the sales pitch was one of mutual trust and warm feelings and optimism about all the middlemen who had the opportunity to touch the thing in between the bottle person and the end drinker of the beverage. The FDA probably wouldn't allow this.
If they did, I wonder how the very tiny portion of bad actor middlemen who are into replacing cola with cherry sauce would react to the existence of this new brand? Some of them might have a moment of crisis and reconsider all the tampering they've been doing and look down with a sense of awe and appreciation on this new market entrant, genuflect before them, and decide to not tamper with their stuff. Others might be like hey screw those guys, if they're going to make it easy I'm going to go ahead and do it!
Someone please zest my lemons
I haven't been in a school setting in a while, but I did go through a public school system in the US, and when I was there "saying the pledge" in the morning before class was a thing. I'm going to assume this still happens, and there are still people getting on and off various high horses around the topic, re: the various adjacent topics one can get worked up over.
I just looked this up so you don't have to -- the pledge was written in 1892 as part of a 400 year discovery of America celebration; the original verse was "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."; they changed to "the flag of the United States of America" in 1924; they added "Under God" in 1954, probably to show up the godless communists; a bunch of people have screwed around with the courts for ~30 years re: both the church/state implications and the general requiring of making people say stuff.
The problem with pledging allegiance to stuff is first off, what the hell does that even obligate you to do? I think most people operate in a world of trade offs and moment to moment decisions and less of a world of pledges and unwavering allegiances. Secondly, even if you are down with pledges of your allegiance "the flag" and "the republic" are pretty big moving targets with lots of ins and outs and what have yous. If pledging allegiance has the emotional weight of a Facebook "like", then there are lots of things about the republic and it's (at least symbolic and theoretical) values which I'd be comfortable pledging allegiance towards ... but if it's the equivalent of signing a mortgage, I think I'd like a little more fine print in there around which particular implementation of "the republic" I'm getting on board with.
I would advise students who are grappling with their pledging or not pledging decisions to think about a few things. On the one hand, there are a lot of people who have put a lot of life and death and energy into the flag, and you're spitting in their faces by just sitting there and not standing to say the pledge. On the other hand, I'd like you to have a healthy inclination for telling people who are asking you to do something you didn't come up with to fuck off, so not saying the pledge seems pretty solid. On yet another hand, I'd like you to start building some goddamn humility and gratitude here, and get over yourself and stop overthinking this thing, and just stand up and say the frigging thing. On the fourth hand though, it's absurd to be compliant for it's own sake, and if you aren't going to lead this effort to object to what you probably see as some real serious issues here via what is nominally a protest, I don't know who is. But on the fifth hand, I'm not sure you have the full depth of experience to properly grasp the issues at play or the entire history of the republic and the flag, so maybe lets settle right down and just follow the teachers lead on this one. Yet, counting six hands now, I'm not sure your teacher has even fully come to terms with the implications vis-a-vis pledging allegiance to things, they're probably just hoping to get tenure and trying to stop any of their kids from rocking the boat too hard here and sweet christ, if you make a whole thing out of this we're not going to have time for the real learning stuff today, but of course what's realer learning than saying no to someone and seeing what happens.
Tiny pewter statues
There's a joke people can play on each other with footballs, where the person holding the ball will tell the (usually younger or more gullible) other person to start going out for a pass. As they keep running the ball holder will keep saying "keep going", "keep going" and so on, until the person has run so far for so long that they realize the thrower is screwing around with them, and is not going to throw the ball, and that they will not reap the sweet reward of all that running, because a ball will not be coming their way. At this point the group of people standing around the thrower will start laughing, because they were sort of in on the joke the whole time and have witnessed its pay off in the humiliation of the person who has run all that way.
I think a cool variation on this joke would be for the thrower to spend months or years developing a super human throwing ability, and then just when the runner and the standing-around people think the joke has been made and the ball is not going to be thrown, to throw the ball to the person over such an unbelievable distance that joke is now on everyone, including the standing around people!
Seal Team Six