A Dash of MacGyver

Day 15 – Today I am thankful for ingenuity.

I thought I was finished with thanksgiving entries related to my recent vacation, but I’d forgotten the valuable lesson I learned during the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego:

Using a dollar bill, you can open an untwistable bottle cap. True story.


A pit stop for gas also yielded two cold promises of orange deliciousness in glass bottles. Sadly, we quickly discovered the bottle caps were not twist-offs. The driver also quickly realized that, since the car was moving, he should not be the one to discover how to open the bottles. Our hopes of carbonated refreshment were dashed as a quick glance around the car revealed no bottle opener.

The Internet to the rescue! More sites than you would imagine are devoted to opening a bottle without an actual opener.

The car’s seatbelts did not have the correct shape/size opening in the latchy part to work. Stopping the car to use the outer door handle would have interrupted the drive and potentially scratched the car. Neither of us smoke so no lighter. And we like our teeth so no barbarics.

Blood welling up from my finger urged us to consider other Internet suggestions that used tools and not brute force and/or strange hand grips.

The answer? Fold a dollar bill in half and then roll it as tight as you can. Then fold the tube in half. Using the fold (the tip of the V in the photo), wedge the money under the cap and pull out. I could hear carbonation escaping and knew a sip of Fanta was moments (or minutes away). I worked the money around the cap continuing to push up and out. I could see the cap moving up the bottle.

Like an idiot, I tested what my eyes were telling me by pushing the cap back down (doh) and having to start over. Also, like an idiot (perhaps one of the 1%?), I opened the first bottle with a $5.

The money alone wasn’t enough to send the cap ricocheting around the car. Nope, for that, I ended up resorting to my key to my sister’s house (why ruin my own house key) to bend the prongs of the cap away from the bottle. Success. The driver could drink. I had a second bottle to open.

Seeing the lines of holes that were perforating my money and knowing legal tender needs to be more than 50% intact, I switched from the $5 to a $1 and ended up drinking deeply from my success. The mutilated $5 was quickly passed to a toll taker.

So, if you find yourself barreling down the I-5 feeling a bit parched, hand your passenger a bottle and some cash. Ah.

PS – The finger wounds are just about healed. Thanks for asking.

PPS – In spite of the YouTube links, this post was not sponsored by Fanta.

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5 thoughts on “A Dash of MacGyver

  1. Thanks for the giggle (sorry it was at your expense). I discovered recently that there is a bottle opener built into some barbecue spatulas. It’s the hole in the middle. Not that it would have helped you in the car but it has saved a camping trip/tailgate party before.

    1. I mean to start practicing the money trick so I don’t need the house key as a backup and so it takes fewer than several minutes. I’ll be busting this out at parties for years to come.

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