Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Present Outside the Present

Those of us who’ve had small children will know the incredible but unforeseeable value of the refrigerator carton. Kids can make all sorts of things from robots to puppet theatres out of these cardboard structures. And, of course, how many parents out there have been bemused to give their infant toddler a gift at birthday or Christmas time only to find them more captivated by the box than the goodies inside?

I had one of these experiences recently. I had serendipitously taken part in an EzineArticles “100 articles in 100 days” challenge and only realised so after the event. Part of the challenge, of course, was a prize--a coffee mug adorned with “#HAHD” to signify the achievement. But, wait, there’s more.

When I responded to an email to register for my prize I thought at the time I’d be unlikely to actually receive it--being halfway around the world from Green Bay, Wisconsin, the home of EzineArticles, I was sure something would happen to see it get ‘lost in the post.’

I received this ‘present’ on my birthday. And not only was there a mug, but a pen, paper, some coffee, a mouse mat and more. But, the main thing that got my attention was the United States Postal Service ‘small flat box’ that the present came in.

This box was no ordinary box. I marvelled at it like it was sent from Mars or something. It had logos on it I hadn’t seen before. It specified the holding capacity in pounds not kilograms. It featured a small insignia map logo--a globe of the world, but not featuring Australia (Africa and Europe are featured in this ‘International Express Priority’ post actually). Finally, my address had “AUSTRALIA” marked in bold under the state details.

My wife and I mused for a good ten minutes about this box. It provided quite a pleasure-filled surprise for the day.

The lesson from this that I draw is, the simplest things can spur our minds. It also shows how big a world we live in. Having never travelled internationally, I’m awed by thoughts of places like America, the Middle East, and Europe.

The best things in life truly are free.

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