A Million Stories in the Naked City

I don’t want to scare you out of sending us books.  I really do stop and reflect “This is what they gave away; we can’t judge them without knowing what they kept.”  But I learn a lot, sometimes.  One box gives me a good idea of the donor’s religion while another provides a strong hint about how they voted in that last election.  The box of sex manuals could tell me any number of things.

The problem is that I do get only one part of the story.  The conclusion, unless the donor mentions it, is often lacking.  We are left with nagging questions.

All those writing manuals: did they make it to the bestseller list?

All those diet manuals: did they make it to size 3?

All these books on cancer treatment: did they make it?

Once a couple gave us the whole history of their young married life in one banana box.  (By the way, PLEASE don’t donate your books in banana boxes.  They’re a bad size and shape and they have that big hole in the middle that you have to cover with cardboard so the books don’t fall out only people seem to think a folded paper bag will do the job only it really doesn’t so when I move the box everything drops out and then I pout until somebody brings me a candy bar only not a Twix for Heaven’s sake because those cookies….  Where were we?)

There are books, believe it or not, on How To Be Engaged.  With these was a book on How To Get Along With Your New In-Laws and eight books on How To Plan Your Wedding.  Three How To Maintain a Loving Relationship books sat with two books on How To Get Pregnant, and two more on How To Deal With Infertility.  My shoulders drooped when I took out the book on How To Adopt a Child, and two on How To Be a Good Adoptive Parent.  But wait!  Here came What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and after that, oh please, two books on How To Cope With a Difficult Pregnancy.  And that was all that was in the box.

As mentioned above, it is maddening not to know.  I may have been grumpier than usual (it’s hard to tell sometimes) as I took the banana box out to the recycling bin.  By the way, they had used a piece of cardboard to cover the big hole in the bottom.  I noticed it when I set the box down.

It was the side panel from the carton of an infant car seat.

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