I don’t know about you, but almost nothing peaks my curiosity more than wondering what’s inside other peoples packages. Ah, just seeing those varied size brown packages, or thick envelopes, addressed to people I know, feeds my imagination to no end. Call me a voyeur, or a snoop, or a frustrated postal inspector, and you’re probably right.
Though it’s currently ‘verboten’ where I work, most of us still continue to get personal packages mailed to our offices/cubes. Of course, prior to 9/11 and the subsequent Anthrax mail scare, this was never an issue. It seemed that the mail order business prospered, as a flow of packages came in to our offices daily. Now, it seems, every HR type wants to play Homeland Security maven; so personal packages are discouraged, or even prohibited. And yes, there’s even memos codifying this rule. What, they’re gonna protect us from…The Book of the Month Club? Or, worse yet, Netflix? Uh oh, maybe its a Victoria’s Secret catalog, or even a naughty package of goodies from them.
If ever an envelope or package is marked ‘personal’ or ‘confidential’ or (best yet) ‘eyes only’, then it really takes all the resolve I can muster not to just rip the damned thing open. Though I know that, invariably, I’ll likely be disappointed by the contents.
Once, when I worked in the mail room of a large utility, the CEO, who spoke only to God and the CFO, started receiving these large, bulky envelopes, crudely stamped ‘confidential’, with a (too innocuous) return address. Just so happened that I ‘accidentally’ opened the packet, only to find the most exotic, highest quality porn that I’d ever seen before, or since. I quickly resealed the envelope as best I could, and wasn’t caught, guaranteeing that I could continue my illustrious career forever (yeah, right…). While I never shared this knowledge with my buds in the mail room, it did, in a sense, humanize this New York blue blood of a CEO, and I felt as if we now shared a secret.
Of course, and karma being what it is, the only time that I received an ‘eyes only’ envelope, was when I was in the Military Police. The slim white envelope contained just one piece of paper, a death sentence for a couple of GIs convicted of murder.
Like Forest Gump learned early, life indeed is like a box – though not necessarily of chocolate – that we open at either our peril or delight. But open it we must.