Jump to content
Mental Support Community
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

The Box Tender



Once there was a man who was a box tender.

Now, you might not think that boxes need much tending, and in a sense, you'd be right. Individually, a box is fairly self-sufficient and well suited to its basic function, which is to enclose something. But in large groups, the situation becomes more complicated.

When there are different boxes, you have to keep the different kinds separate. You have to keep them lined up in neat little rows, with their labels facing out so people know which box they want.

Still, you might think, what's the problem? Boxes don't move around, so just do it once and you'll never need to do it again. But that's where you would be wrong: though no one ever sees them move by themselves, somehow every day when the man came to work, the boxes would be all messed up again. If the man had needed further proof of the concept of entropy, that things naturally tend toward disorder, he would have been able to prove it just from his observations of the boxes.

So the man's day was divided between coaxing the boxes back into their proper locations, and helping people find just the box they needed. This too was a more complicated task than you might think, because people frequently asked for boxes that the man had never seen before, or that he remembered seeing but had forgotten where. Often, the man was reduced to searching in likely places, which of course the people could have done all by themselves if they had wanted to.

And, sometimes, the man came across a dead box, torn and discarded carelessly, or tucked in carefully behind other boxes, as if embarrassed to be seen in that state. The man always grieved at the waste, and then disposed of the remains in a respectful way.

The result, in the long run, was that the man became very discouraged. Boxes, after all, rarely express gratitude for the efforts of their tenders. The people might thank him for helping them find their box, but not for all the work it took to keep the boxes tidy and separate. In fact, the people didn't seem to care about the boxes at all; for them, boxes were just a means to an end, just a shell for their contents.

{To be continued, once I know what happens.}


Recommended Comments

don't worry malign, it's only a matter of time before they come up with smart boxes (if they haven't already), and i'm sure there would be something like a 'being grateful'/appreciative' app.

i still wanna know the rest of the story though. :)

Link to comment

They have come up with smart shelves, with little spring-loaded thingies that are supposed to push the stock forward on their own.

That's great when it works. But if the adjustable width isn't set exactly right (by the people who build the shelving layouts, not us tenders), either the boxes bind because they're too tight, or they slip around the spring things because there's too much room. Or, if the box turns out to be a weakling, it gets crushed right where it stands ...

What's deceptive is that the spring shelves might have worked, so you might be tempted to skip that area and work on areas that don't have them, but then, they might not have worked.

So I guess I didn't fool anyone, and it was clear from the start that this was a description of my work day. A somewhat dissociative description, too ...

Link to comment

So I guess I didn't fool anyone, and it was clear from the start that this was a description of my work day. A somewhat dissociative description, too ...

actually, you did fool me. i thought you were speaking metaphorically; silly me. -_-

i'm sorry you're not being appreciated. :(

Link to comment

I prefer to speak in metaphors; I've never met a phor I didn't like.

For one thing, they keep the reality farther away ...

Flip it over, and maybe everything is a metaphor, to the mind of some person who sees the parallel. I didn't construct this one, is all that I'm saying.

Link to comment

Box-tender- although it may not be a responsibility adorned with appreciation, it does have it perks. First of all, unlike the responsibility of child-minder, if you lose, or cant find one, its not that big of deal. Boxes don't talk back, and they dont have parents that make excuses for their negative behaviour and unfortunate choices. And boxes.... Are so much quieter. In fact boxes are looking pretty darn attractive right now! I think ur onto something here Mark.

Link to comment

Now, I didn't say that boxes have no advantages (i.e. you don't have to talk to them. Unless you feel like it.)

It's also true that if you found a kid with its outsides all ripped open and nothing left inside, it would be a lot messier. And you do in fact lose a fair number of boxes into impenetrable crevices, or onto the back of the top shelf of the aisle opposite, without having to call out the National Guard or equivalent (are the Mounties still mounted, one wonders? One does not then wonder, by whom, though. Out loud, at least.)

I should've quit while I was ahead, or at least not so far behind.

It's also possible that I miss the opportunity to talk with those with an IQ greater than cardboard. This may also be a difficulty when caring for children, though probably not all of them.

Link to comment

You aren't anti-social; you're anxious-social. You talk just fine on here. I'm going to guess it's the seeing, and all the thought process that goes with it, that's really hard. Is that closer? If it's any help, I like talking to you, and I suspect that would carry over (at least on my side) into real life talking.

"Why don't I", is the real question. It's not as if there are no other options; it's just that they require work to apply for and obtain. Complaining, as we all know, is infinitely easier. ;-)

Link to comment

Au contraire, mon ami! Rarely do they have the IQ of cardboard! They are quick and savvy, not to be underestimated in the slightest degree. Its that sort of complacency that leads to unrest, mutiny, and unmitigated mischievousness. (I shudder at the thought.)

In fact, i suspect you might find speaking with them to be infinitely enlightening. As I'm sure they would also love to engage your gift of spoken insight, ideas, and twisted word double-entendre.

Indeed, some mounties still rely on trusted steed for short transport, and preferred visual vantage point. Not to mention how quickly, im sure, the mounties choose to mount one another as they clamor for position, rank, and recognition.

And i have to say I've had a handful of interactions with members of the RCMP that left me feeling as though i had been mounted multiple times without my consent.

So are you going it alone this easter, or did you brave the journey with your un-lost lady friend?

Link to comment

I was kidding. I was one of those smart kids, only my upbringing made me channel my brains into behaving, which after all is a bigger effort for kids than mutiny, and a lot less healthy. Easier for the adults; that's about all that can be said for it.

She's visiting family these last couple of days, but we're meeting up for a few days in Florida to look at swamp creatures, and not just the people. I did do Easter solo; I went looking for early spring flowers and then I had a few hours among the boxes.

Link to comment

'I was kidding.'

Yes, i was aware. It just seems to me, your aptitude for behaving is the only thing nurtured in your newest position, and perhaps a different kind of fulfillment might be found if some of your other qualities we're engaged as well. But its not a judgement, if what you do is fulfilling and makes you happy, by all means, attend away.

I think I'm ready for a new challenge, myself.

Well you did better than I. I put a bra on under my pajamas and then proceeded to stay inside, alternating my activities between binging on junk, kicking around crap i should have cleaned and organized, sniveling over whatever comes to mind, and ignoring the dogs pleas for any sort of attention or exercise. So spring flower seeking does sound pleasantly optimistic.

Hope you have fun in Florida. Cruising the critter-country and swamplands... I wouldn't dangle your fingers in the water tho. Maybe try an alligator burger, i wonder if they have those? Ive never been south of Montana in the western hemisphere, so my closest comparison is Thailand. =}

it should be interesting, though, I hope you enjoy...

Link to comment

My aptitude for "behaving". :-) I like that. "Oh, behave!" Not that Austin Powers is a role model, or anything, but Mike Myers does have an interesting take on things. Also, his father was Scots, which casts a scary light on the "Fat Bastard" character.

You did more than I did: I didn't put on a bra at all. :-P

We visited Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Preserve, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, and Everglades National Park, mostly around the road to Flamingo. We stayed a night in Naples, only near the highway rather than the beach, and two nights in Homestead, as a base of operations for the Everglades.

It was too short, but I got lots of wildlife pictures, which I haven't processed yet. There was at least one place we ate that offered fried gator, but I stuck to grouper and shrimp, which were very tasty.

Link to comment

a boxf ell on box t ender head a ndknocked him out.hewoke to see more. whatispossible todowith boxes-the one he hasnots tepped outof yet. oneday i still believe it will comeoff

--relerning--both of us-you have thebigbrain

Link to comment

Hey Ken. :-)

"Thinking outside of the box", eh? Well, it's one of those big-box stores, too, so I suspect I should be thinking outside of that, as well. And I realize you're not talking about a physical box ... it's just that jokes are easier.

I also didn't miss that I chose the word "tender" for my role. Never could resist a double meaning.

Link to comment

hsin-hsin ming

thout -sp-thought of you

whenin the beauty way

whichdefion -no-which definition of tender you -are- you using

will remainsilent untili havenothing to say.

muddled thought

howabout justhi and comebackhome

no--another time. tru-no--i trusty ou in you r hands

nevermind -emily litella/gilda radner

Link to comment

Which definition of "tender" am I not using? ;-)

The point of double meanings is that they should all apply, from some point of view.

Sarcastically, "Silence is golden" -- it's heavy, immutable, and the kind of riches that we can't either spend or take with us. I would rather have something I can touch, taste, or feel, so don't worry too much about being silent.

Link to comment

Meh -- the upgrading was handled by our host, Invision Power Services.  The site issues we had there for a while were apparently all due to our software version becoming obsolete, so the upgrade was our only choice to get up and running again.

We did have a few days of chasing our tails when the site broke, though.  I wasn't able to log on to the site itself at all from the first time I heard about issues until after the upgrade.  Instead I had to deal with Invision directly through the support channels, and most of the effort involved figuring out how to give them the right access to do the upgrade.

I'm glad that the upgrade came with features that work for you, though.  I know I've been a bit concerned about new "features" that we might not have wanted ...

I'm also glad you're still around.  :-)

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...