Boxed In | Page 57 | Newberry

Boxed In

Okay, kids, listen up. Today we’re going to talk about those books you dropped off last week. No, I’m not going to tell the world about those magazines. That’s your business (and mine, since they turned out to be too smutty for eBay, and I have been banned from trading there again until I stand in the city square on three consecutive moonlit evenings crying “Unclean! Unclean!”)

I want to talk to you about what they were packed in. Now, I completely understand that your place isn’t like mine. Not everybody lives in a room decorated with cardboard boxes of all sizes and shapes. It’s unfair and I feel sorry for you, but we need to come to an understanding.

I’m particular. I like books packed in boxes that will hold them and offer some protection. Barring that, I like nice, sturdy shopping bags with two (count ‘em, two) handles. That’s what I mean when I say in the directions “boxes or bags”. It’s amazing what a variety of results this has produced, but I have become jaded now. I am currently quite bored with books that are packed in:

Banana Boxes: I’ve spoken to you about these: the great big cardboard boxes with a big square hole in the bottom. Please do not pack books in boxes with holes in the bottom. This should be Rule 1. And anyway, they’re too wide to haul around conveniently.  (The same sort of box is often used for melons, or lettuce. Don’t be fooled. I don’t like those just as much.)

Detergent Display Boxes: Or whipped cream or chocolate syrup or any other kind of grocery store display box which is missing one or more sides. You should not pack books in boxes without four sides. This ought to be Rule 2. (I had books donated in a box once that had just four sticks of cardboard at the corners, and no sides at all. My, didn’t we laugh! But gin was cheaper in those days.)

Computer Boxes: If the box was hard to pick up with a computer in it, it will be heavier when filled with books. I KNOW it’s efficient to use a big box, but be reasonable. And no, it doesn’t make everything all better if you use the box the air conditioner came in but fill it only halfway.

Shoe Boxes: If you’re giving me a bunch of miniature books or tape cassettes or CDs, I see the point. And I know I asked you not to put books in really big boxes. But if you have send me eighty books all packed in shoe boxes, I am going to conclude more things about you than that you just have a lot of shoes.

Boxes You Can’t Bear To Part With: Oh, you want the box back, do you? Well, just wait right here while I find another box and repack everything you’ve brought in that…oh, you have six more and you want all those back, too? How kind of you to come on a rainy day when it won’t be so hot while I work.

Broken Plastic Storage Containers, Boxes With Bottoms Only Folded Together Instead Of Taped, Boxes That Have Been Sitting In The Garage And Which You Last Used To Haul Tomato Plants To The Garden, Boxes That Have Been Sitting In The Basement And Are Turning Blue-Black At The Corners, Boxes That Have Been Sitting In The Attic And Have Bats Hibernating In Them, Boxes That Have Been In The Storage Locker So Long You’ve Forgotten About That Live Ammunition At The Bottom, Boxes That….

Tell you what, kids. Let’s talk about the BAGS I don’t like some other time.

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