Maybe we should open this box outside

On my last trip to visit my parents, my dear mother confronted me with a couple of boxes of my stuff that were taking up space in my old bedroom.  Apparently, that situation was no longer acceptable.  Fortunately, I was able to wade through it rather quickly.  The boxes consisted largely of books, including textbooks that I really should have gotten rid of a few years ago, when they were actually worth something and someone could have used them.  But they were science textbooks, and I still thought medical school and studying for the MCAT might be in my future.  Not so much.

I could have taken the easy route and trashed the textbooks, but I wanted to investigate a greener alternative, so I carted the books back home with me.  I could not find a local outlet for them, but after a little digging, I found Better World Books.  They were willing to accept all but two of my books, and since I donated them, the shipping was free.  I packed them all up in a decently sturdy box with lots of packing tape — it was very heavy — and dropped it off at the post office on July 17.

Yesterday afternoon (July 29), my husband opened our front door and found a large box sitting on the porch.  Neither of us was expecting a package.  It was addressed ambiguously, with just the initial for the first name (which is M for both of us) and then the last name.  No return address.  We debated whether or not to open it out on the porch, just to be safe.  At this point, I had not seen the package, but apparently had some sort of premonition that it might involve those books I had tried to donate.  I asked if it was heavy, and he said yes.

He brought the package into the apartment, opened it up, and out came lots of white powder.  And then we caught anthrax and died.  The end.

Oh wait, I am still alive writing this.  Where was I?  We opened the box (not my original shipping box, by the way) and found my original packing list and a letter from the USPS saying my box had been damaged and some contents had been lost.  In fact, of the 8 books that I had been trying to donate, only 3 were in the box.  But that was not all.

Apparently, the USPS also damaged someone else’s package and had thrown some of his belongings in the box they returned to me.  No word on any of my other books.  We are now the proud owners of a very large map of the United States, some guy’s drawings of scantily clad women, and a book of short stories, the contents of which would qualify as soft core porn, in case you were wondering.  All because I was donating textbooks for reuse.  You can’t make this stuff up.

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