Heavy Light Reading | Page 6 | Newberry

Heavy Light Reading

     I wanted to discuss boxes with you again. No, no, don’t fret. Your Uncle Blogsy is not going to whine again. He’s had only one banana box so far this month, and only two boxes that were starting to rot away on the bottom. And about twenty that were folded together instead of taped and six with sides that split and one with a curling iron underneath the books and….

     That was just a little whine. It doesn’t count. I can quit any time I like. Honest.

     Anyway, I’ve been reading your boxes lately and sometimes they’re even more interesting than the books. (I don’t count that motivational management book with the scratch-n-sniff panels, nor that theological tome wherein 90 major spiritual leaders give their opinions on the religious sincerity of Bill Clinton. These are destined to be classics.)

     There are two kinds of labels, basically, on your boxes. First we have the ones which have some reference to what is in the boxes NOW. These range from the simple—”Out”, “Donate”, or “Newberry”—to the complex—”First Edition Books on Russia”, “32 PB, 8 HB, 6 BOT, 1 CD”, and “Not To be Thrown Away; To Be Picked Up By the Newberry, 2-4 P.M. Thursday.” There are variations, some of which are worthy of comment. “Books 2 Don 8” tells me something about you, as does “Nuberry”, “Newbarry”, “Newbery”, and even “Newberry Liberry”.

     More fun, though, are the labels which were affixed to the box in a previous job. U-Haul likes to advertise how many uses or how many years you can get out of one box, and some of these boxes have gone beyond those limits. On occasion, I will get a box where the entire lid has been filled with notes about the pieces of china wrapped inside. On other occasions, it has been more terse: “Lamps”, “Josh’s Toys”, “Towels” and “Junk”. I’m usually a little disappointed to find only books in these, but there was “Teapots”, where books had been packed on top of the teapots, smashing the lot of them, and “Books and Shorts Too Small to Wear”, which did include books and a pair of shorts that, true to advertising, I could not put on.

     But some donors, as Uncle Blogsy’s donors so often do, find ways to confuse the issue, bringing boxes with labels that may or may not refer to the current contents. Just this week I had a box marked “Some contents may be outdated”. I haven’t read the books in that box yet, so it may be an accurate description and it may not. The same goes for the box marked “Stuff to Throw Away”. Maybe they did mean the books, because otherwise I can’t understand labeling such a box. Why not just throw the stuff away? Since just about any book makes a great gift, I couldn’t argue with “Boxed Xmas”.

     On to our award winners, though: those boxes with labels that stand above the rest. Until a couple of days ago, my favorite of the winter was a box labeled “Old, Collectable Children”. I do state rather clearly in my voicemail message that we do not accept teenagers as donations, but I do think the label is endearing. Which of us–when you get right down to it, tuna bagel–is not an old, collectable child?

     But two days ago I received a box clearly marked “Angels: Plain and Christmas”. I’m going to worry about that all week.

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