July 1st, 2008

Distressing Lack of Narrative

On the sidewalk in front of an apartment building, this morning I encountered a cardboard box filled with mugs, labelled in magic marker, “Free Mugs!” This is not interesting, of course–the box contained the same mismatched promotional and gift mugs that everyone over 20 ends up with unless their house burns to the ground. We are all periodically putting these mugs in boxes and leaving them somewhere labelled “Free!” in the hopes that a teenager or fire victim will be able to make use of them, thereby rendering us un-guilty of “wasting” “perfectly good” mugs.

No surprises there. But the box had a subtitle: “Please do not cherry-pick. Take all (or none!)”


Aside from being completely unenforceable (I looked up at the building, but no one looked back), what could be the reason for this? Was there, buried in the bottom of the box, one really good mug that did not have the name of a florist on the side, as incentive to take the rest? Was there a unity of form that I was missing? Though I in fact fit into one of the categories on the sign just fine (I wanted “none” of the mugs), something in me suggested that an appropriate reaction to this aggression would be to take just one mug (the one with the orange and yellow and blue flowers) and sneak away cackling.

Why why why?

I actually have stuff I need to be doing and somewhere else I need to be, but I am posting this because it is *really bothering me*. Please send me a logical explanation of this scenario, so I can stop thinking about it. Otherwise, I worry I’ll go back to the box and see if all or none or some other number are there now.

All the lies in the book

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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