I worked in the shipping industry for most of my life. I started out on the docks, and then trains, and then eventually I retired for a truck company. It was an interesting life, to be sure, even though it might not sound like it. All day every day I was loading and unloading shipping boxes, and I would often wonder about what was inside of them. Well, one day I got the answer to my question, and never again did I care to know!
I will tell you what happened. I woke up one morning just as if it was every other morning. It was early, so it was still dark, and it was damp with the approaching spring. I kissed my children as they lay asleep in their beds, I filled my thermos with coffee, and I got in my car to go pick up my truck.
Well, something terrible happened when I got to the warehouse. As usual, shipping boxes were piled from floor to ceiling, and I went to my section. I loaded up the forklift and began to drive towards my truck, which was sitting and waiting for me with the back wide open. Well, I’m still not quite sure what I saw, but I swear it was a ghost. All the same, I reflexively jerked the wheel and the forklift responded accordingly: the entire pallet of shipping boxes spilling all over the floor.
I sat in silence for an extended period of time, just trying to figure out what to do. There was stuff all over the place. Many of the boxes had split open and the contents were mixing. The only thing I could think of was trying to put it all back, even though I didn’t know what boxes anything belonged in.
Did the pillows go to A. Benson or Granny Smith? It seemed like Granny Smith might need them, so I put them in her box. Did the bag of dog food go to the Johnsons or to Dave With-A-Crazy-Last-Name? Since “Johnsons” was plural I envisioned a family and decided they probably had a dog and so I packaged up the dog food for them. Lizzie Blunt got a set of books, and Bobby Truman got the train set. I hoped that Bobby was the nickname for a little boy, and not a grown man, or he would probably be disappointed. It took me hours, and I probably sweat five pounds off from sheer stress.
I made my deliveries that day like normal, and dropped my truck off when it was done. But I never went back there. I couldn’t bear the shame of the calls that would come pouring in, and I never wanted to see that ghost again.