Monday, January 8

Not a Box


by Antoinette Portis
HarperCollins 2006

Jules over at Seven Impossible Things has managed to basically say everything (and then some) that I would have wanted to say about this book.

So I'm just going to stand here and nod while you go visit her and read for yourself. Go on, I'll be here when you get back.

* * * !

Excuse me. Sorry, just finishing up some holiday candy. Welcome back.

One of the things this book did was rekindle a memory from my younger days, shortly after I discovered MAD magazine. Dave Berg was a regular contributor who provided cartoon strips grouped around a single subject. The cartoons always felt dated, like an old man from the 1950's giving the younger generation (the 1970's) a jaundiced look. To be fair he took shots across all generations and exposed all for the folly of their thinking.

While I read his cartoons every issue I felt they really said little that wasn't either obvious or cliched. Then One day he did a cartoon centered around Christmas. The house has been ravaged by a trio of kids tearing through their presents, the parents are frazzled, the toys lay scattered all around. But where are the kids? Outside, playing with the oversized cardboard boxes their presents came in.

Which is how Dave Berg fits into all this.

I don't know an adult who at one time or another didn't find more fun with a cardboard box than anything it could have contained. My girls squeal in agony whenever we throw out an empty box, even a shoe box, because they can always see "project" potential in each of them. As a packrat personality (and a messy desk genius) I totally understand; somewhere around her I have a cigar box that I've been holding onto for nearly 15 years and just last week found the perfect project for it. All I have to do now is carve out the time to work on it. That should add another five years to the life of the box before it's either lost, destroyed or repurposed.

The thing about Not a Box is that it's one of those perfect books that makes people slap their heads and go Right! Why didn't I think of this?

And why didn't I?
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