Rendered Fat Content

The Downfall of the American Match

Have you noticed that matches don't work anymore?

In my youth, a single Diamond™ kitchen match could set a porcelan toilet on fire. (I didn't mean to do it. I was just experiementing!) Today, I need four or five to catch tinder-dry kindling. The little matches, the ones that come in handy pocket-sized boxes, don't work at all, except as pocket filler. I can go through a box of these without ever catching anything on fire, especially the matches. They die before they flare, leaving me with a fine pile of tinder-dry kindling and an empty box which, if I'm lucky, I might set fire to if I have four or five kitchen matches handy.

Forget about paper matches, which are nothing more than advertising on false promise. Probably two false promises. Don't believe anything you read on a matchbook cover.

In Europe, it's still possible to buy decent matches. Full-headed with a decent striking strip. Lively with flame, On Swedish wood. And firery graphics with sexy names. Vestas! Calling the Greek god of fire into play every time you strike.

The American match seems godless, designed for efficiency of manufacture and lowest possible cost. I'm sure they succeed on both of these counts, but in achieving these noble ends, they have succeeded in reducing this once proud implement to an impotent twig, unable to perform its primary function.

Gotta light? Probably not.

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