See this? It’s a package I received in the mail a week ago. It was very nearly destroyed, but somehow its contents (an autographed football card) remained intact and undamaged.
After seeing this package, I wondered if the post office will deliver any package, regardless of condition. Is there a cut-off point where they say, “Screw it, this one’s going straight to the circular file!”? And exactly what kind of damage would bring a package to the brink of no salvation? What if it’s in multiple pieces? What if it reeks of cabbage and wet dog? What if it’s been beaten more than an old dirty rug?
At one point or another, this package was torched… and drenched… and smeared with grease/mud/insert your own synthetic substance here. The logical explanation is that it got caught in a post office sorting machine.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I’d like to believe that something more exciting happened than just a run-of-the-mill malfunction. Come with me as I explore other completely logical explanations as to how this damage occurred.
Theory #1 – Megasaurus Lunch: The car-crunching monster got ahold of the package, gnashed it with his steel teeth, burnt it to a fine crisp, then drooled grease on it…. then his promoters made t-shirts depicting the occasion and sold them for $29.95 each.
Theory #2 – Gas Puddle: The package was riding comfortably on a mail truck when the mail carrier decided to stop at a gas station for some Mr. Pibb and Cheetos. As he exited the truck, he accidentally hit the switch that opened the back of the truck. The package tumbled out and landed in a puddle that was mostly gasoline. A mere split-second later, a guy with a mullet drove by in a Camaro and flicked his cigarette out the window. The cigarette landed in the gas puddle and ignited the package. Luckily, a farmer was pumping gas nearby and saw the flames. He stomped out the fire with his muddy boots and threw the package back into the truck before the unsuspecting mail carrier returned.
Theory #3 – Come on Baby, Light My Fire. After watching endless hours of tape-delayed Olympics coverage on NBC (featuring everybody’s favorite know-it-all, Little Bobby Costas), the package wanted to be part of the action. He lit himself on fire and tried to pass himself off as the Olympic torch, but inadvertently self-extinguished himself while swimming to Rio. He will now team up with a crumpled envelope and try to qualify for synchronized diving in Mailaysia (get it? MAILaysia!)
Theory #4 – Uncle Buck Time Travel: The package miraculously traveled back in time to 1989 and made a cameo appearance in the hit John Candy film “Uncle Buck.” Candy’s title character took a few puffs on his cigar, then set it down on the package when he left to go protect his niece Tia from slimewad Bug. Marcie (being the nosy neighbor that she was) smelled something burning, broke into the Russell house, and doused the flames with club soda and non-flammable makeup. This sequence of events completely changed the movie, but Macaulay Culkin (who played Miles) still went on to severely cripple Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern in “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Just Like Home Alone 1, But in New York.”
So there you have it. I’m convinced that one of these theories is correct. In fact, these theories are just as true as J.J. Thomson’s plum pudding model of the atom, which states that an atom is composed of corpuscles surrounded by a soup of positive charge to balance the corpuscles’ negative charges, like negatively-charged “plums” surrounded by positively-charge “pudding” (it’s a horribly false theory – Wikipedia it!)
In a crazy way, I see this package as a metaphor for life. We’re just like that package. Sometimes we get burnt. Sometimes we get drenched and beat up and dragged through the mud. But somehow we get where we’re going, and we’re still undamaged on the inside, where it counts.