Two packages I ordered from Amazon came today under unusual circumstances–actually three packages–but none of them actually from Amazon. I was a little annoyed with UPS. They hardly ever screw up my deliveries, but these were sitting in the rain! We’ve had serious thunderstorms lately. Today’s lasted about 2 hours. The packages were sitting on the patio bench–not under cover of the overhang or even inside the storm door–but out in the full force of the storm. The boxes were limp.
I brought them inside, but am dumbfounded by the way the largest box was labeled and shipped. The entire box is rectangular-18x24x8–and covered on every corner and seam by Tape that says “Mountain State Schoolbook Depository,” “CAUTION verify order before stamping–marked books may not be returned.”
The box is way too big for what I actually ordered. The whole enterprise is bogus. What’s supposed to be in this box has nothing to do with the Mountain State school district, schoolbooks or stamping. Nothing–Nada–Nunca–Nyet! But it did ship from New York City. Maybe New York City merchants are really street-wise. No self-respecting thief is gonna steal what he’s probably spent most of his life avoiding-school and books! Besides, he’d be laughed off the street corner for trying to sell stolen schoolbooks! It’s an ingenious disguise!
Today’s box reminded me that I’ve seen this trick before–at the 1980 Republican Inaugural in Washington DC. I met a group of southern gentlemen, several generations of them, on a DC subway. They had come in a few days early and were going out for some sightseeing.
We struck up a conversation about their identical belt buckles and the logo, “Reagan-Bush 1980.” One old guy said “all the Klan brothers have them,” and smiled. Have you ever had a feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you you’ve gone too far and need to back out now? That’s where my head went. I remember thinking “I don’t want to be that kind of Republican,” and “Who have I aligned myself with?”
Right after that comment, he started chatting about how they had shipped their gumbo and jambalaya to the hotel in boxes marked “CAUTION: Contents-Human Heads” so no one would be tempted to open them. I smiled. “This is my stop,” I said, and headed for the door. Being friendly has its limits.
I haven’t had the courage to open my box yet. I decided to have the egg drop soup first. But the box is sitting here, soggy and waiting.