Monday, January 16, 2006
The Glory of Cardboard Boxes
What could be better than your parents buying a new appliance? With foolish grins they would drag the thing out of its brown container and stroke its white surface in consumer satisfaction and glee. Father would back away from the fervency of his wife to do the manly thing, which was rummaging around in the pushed aside shipping crate for the manufacturers instructions, warranties, and unnecessary plastic. What they felt, we had to grant, was important to them but could it be called, in any seriousness, a life? You would bravely step forward as if to ask a boon of your differently motivated but empowered majesties.
"May I have the box?"
For Man, the loftiest expression of the ultimate urge at the highest price is Battle but the clearest encounter, the pristine first taste of the drug we call the Pride of Life, the "bestest" metaphor of all we live by is the large, corrugated, Kraft-papered, cardboard box. It says to us that at last we have a border, past our skin, which is ours, inside which our law prevails. It is a fiefdom entrusted to us by the baron who ruled the lands and rooms round about. It may be poor in resources but it is clear in its claims. We were not pretending at all. With its rigid walls, clean corners, and flaps that close, it was releasing endorphins past our imagination's tales or any assent to what we actually felt. That box was, in truth, a fort.