Life As a Cardboard Box
Life As a Cardboard Box
By Michael Lawrence
Hello. I'm a cardboard box. I'm just an ordinary cardboard box --
brown, three foot high, three foot wide, and I'm made of cardboard. I'm
in a bit of a bind right now. See, I'm currently stuck in a tree on a
cliff that falls into the Pacific Ocean. I'm a bit scared. I don't know
exactly what will happen to me when I fall in, but I do know that it
will eventually happen. I don't have movable limbs to speak of, so I
cannot simply swim my way to shore, and even if I could, my body would
likely disintegrate because I'm made of paper.
I've been caught in rainstorms before, but I did eventually dry out
(warped, though). But the ocean? That'll end me for sure. So I'm just
hanging here -- waiting patiently for a certain death.
I can't really complain, though, I have lived a most interesting life
-- for a cardboard box, anyway, and I've seen much of America. It was
certainly much more interesting than sitting in a truck for the rest of
my life with heavy objects pressed against my sides.
Well, I hope to be able to tell you my complete life story (I'm sure
you're interested). Please forgive me if I die on you. I do feel the
wind picking up.
It all started on the night of -- aww, I don't keep track of the days
-- I doubt any cardboard box does, unless it happens to be transporting
calendars. Anyway, I was born one night. I opened my eyes and saw
blackness. Of course, cardboard boxes don't exactly have eyes?wow, this
is a bit difficult to explain. I can see, but as far as the whereabouts
of any receptors are unknown -- even to me. It's strange, but it seems
that I have receptors wherever I will it. I can see with my top flap,
my bottom flap, on my inside -- wherever I want. Just not at the same
time. I also have state-of-the-art hearing capabilities, yet I have no
ears. It's kind of magical, I guess.
Anyway, I saw blackness probably because I was flattened and there were
other individuals around me. During that period, I pondered my
existence -- I think therefore I am -- and all that hooey. All of a
sudden, something grabbed me, spread out my sides, turned me into a
box, and poked staples into me.
"Jeepers!" I thought. "I'm a real live box!" It was quite an exciting
moment for me, but later on, I really regretted having lived such a
So off I went. I was on a movable platform in a large metallic room.
There were other boxes, just like me, in front of me, behind me, and on
different tracks. I tried talking to one of them but then realized that
I had no voice.
In the distance, I heard a repetitious thumb. It quickly grew louder
and, before I knew it, something landed on top of me. Luckily, along
with my lack of an optic nerve, I have no regular nerves, so I didn't
From there, I was put into a large truck. This was the first time I've
seen a human. One of them quickly grabbed me and put me on top of
another box and, before long, a box was placed on top of me. My sight
was completely blocked when a box was also placed in front of me.
The moment sitting in the darkness, I had a moment to contemplate: what
on earth was I doing there? I was born, I was de-flattened something
was put on top of me, and now I'm in a large truck. Then I realized
that the shape of myself actually resembled the shape of the truck. It
was then and there when I realized my role in society: I was to
transport items in a transport item.
Then I had to decide whether or not I liked my role. I came to the
conclusion: no. I tried, with all my might, to wiggle myself, but alas,
I could not. At the time, however, I thought the reason for that was
because there were so many heavy boxes around me, but later realized
that (as I have explained earlier) I have no movable parts.
So when I was removed from the truck -- by way of human transport -- I
tried to jump out of its hands. Through some strange occurrence,
however, the human dropped me and my contents (which I now understand
were cans) were sent rolling every which way. Luckily, I managed to
catch a gust of wind which sent me soaring into the air. That was quite
a memorable experience! I caught very few gusts of winds that I think
would equal that. I was sent maybe one hundred feet into the air. I
could see the humans watch me with puzzled expressions on their faces.
And, at the time, I thought I had caused the entire thing with my own
I was a cardboard box on top of the world! It felt great! I must've
traveled at least three hours when I ran into the front of a low-flying
747. That pretty much disrupted my gleeful soaring, but it surprisingly
only dented me slightly. Astonishingly, it was just a little nick
That sent me tumbling straight to the ground and I landed into the
thick branches of a giant oak tree. (This was a much different tree
than the one I'm in now. This one wasn't so damn flimsy.) My open side
was face up. I tried to wiggle myself free, but I couldn't. I knew I
should have been able to -- that was the moment when I first realized
that (as you all ready know) I have no movable parts. So I was stuck
there. The tree was situated in a fairly small lawn in the backyard of
a pleasant, white home that was two times smaller than the tree.
It was about a month later on a cheerfully sunny day, when two tiny,
blue birds perched on my side.
"Churp!" one of them said in approval.
A bit later, they returned with straw and mud in their beaks and they
dumped it in me. They left and, shortly after, they returned with more
mud and straw and did the same. Eventually, after about fifty-two
trips, they constructed a nest. Conveniently enough, the very day the
nest was fully complete, one of the birds laid four very small,
speckled brown eggs. Eventually, they hatched and four ugly, naked
things emerged. I couldn't see how, but these two birds absolutely
adored these tiny monsters.
"Eep, eep, eep, eep," they were constantly yelping.
The four baby birds did nothing but chirp and beg for food. Quite
annoying, if I say so myself. One day, when both parents left to find
food, a two-foot green garden snake slithered inside.
"Ssssssssss," it said sinisterly.
The snake, with its beady eyes, peered hypnotizing at the small birds
and then slowly ate them. The infant birds had no defensive skills
whatsoever. Boy, if I had tear ducts, I would have cried then and
The garden snake was sitting inside the nest digesting when the parents
returned, worm in beak. The two tiny, blue birds chirped in anger as
they fluttered and tried to claw the snake to death, but their weak
toenails weren't strong enough to penetrate the snake's leathery green
skin. The snake simply slithered from where it came, seemingly ignoring
what it had done or what the two birds were trying to do to it.
Reluctantly giving up, the birds flew away. I never saw them
One night, some time later, a freak storm occurred and the wind
violently picked up. The tree eventually collapsed and smashed the
house below. I was knocked out of the tree and finally set free. I was
overjoyed at this release because being in that tree really had me
bored. (There were exactly 268 shingles on that roof.)
That was a windy week, so I traveled far. I tumbled across pavement, I
soared through fields of cotton, I was kicked by a cow, and barely
avoided being run over by a terribly-maintained rusty, blue truck.
Eventually, I made it to a large Midwestern city with towering
skyscrapers. I ran into a hotdog stand, caught a good gust of wind, and
was lifted off the ground.
I was sent soaring, but only for a little while. Seeing as this place
was filled with enormous buildings, it wasn't before long I ran into a
window. Somehow, I had managed to hit the glass at such an angle that
I ended up knocking out a man who was holding a gun up to a woman's
head. The gunned man let go of his weapon which was sent sliding across
the small, tiled room, and the hostage woman fell along with him. Four
uniformed individuals in the room (with their hands up) were briefly
shocked at my grand entrance. Snapping out of it, one of these
uniformed men quickly grabbed the hostage while the remaining three
picked up their guns which were lying on the floor. They pointed their
weapons at the unconscious man.
Two days later, after a pleasant, free night's stay at the local
"I hereby award this cardboard box the highest honor this city can
bestow upon an individual," Mayor James Greenwich said. "I give, to
this cardboard box, the key of St. Louis! He is the undeniable the hero
of our city!" I did not smile nor did I say "It was nothing" because I
didn't have a mouth. But what I did do, however, was simply catch a
gust of air as the huge crowd of citizens waved goodbye.
I tumbled through more fields, except these fields were composed of
species of taller grasses. I eventually ran into the side of a
mountain. The wind was so strong that day that I was dragged up it. I
neared the pinnacle when I was stopped by a mountain goat that looked
goofy until I noticed its threatening horns.
"Bahhhhhh!" it said. I tried to respond to it, but then I remembered I
couldn't talk. It bucked me with its head, puncturing two holes, about
three inches apart, in me. When it opened its lips, it appeared as if
it was about to eat me. If I could shriek, I would have because that
was the first time my life was placed in extreme jeopardy.
As you have probably guessed, I survived that goatly encounter. It only
took one giant bite out of me when it was approached by a hermit with a
canteen made of hide. The hermit looked at me. His happy eyes, cheerful
nose, and just the tip of his smiling lips were the only features
protruding out of his hairy head of dirt white. A minute passed over
when he finally quit staring at me and knelt beside the goat. He
started to milk it.
"Bahhhhhh!" the goat said again. When the hermit completely filled up
his canteen with goat's milk, he enthusiastically grabbed me and
brought me to a large, rocky cave. It was as big as a ballroom, I
guess. There was a fire situated in the middle and a small animal laid
a headless and skinless roasting on the open flame. He excitedly placed
me upside down and put a rock-carved plate, cup, fork, and knife on top
of me. He then took the roasted animal off the flame.
"Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!" the hermit said, responding to the apparent heat of
the carcass. He plopped it on the plate. The hermit then carefully
grabbed the cooked animal, in full, and took a huge bite out of
"Mmmmmmmm!" the hermit grunted in ecstasy. A piece of juice from his
lips dripped upon me. If I had taste buds, I would have tasted it
because it must have been quite good! The hermit devoured the animal
and then laid down on a large pile of dead grass. His fingers were laid
lazily on his belly. A hint of a satisfied smile appeared underneath
his enormous beard.
It wasn't long before a large, hungry grizzly bear, that had apparently
smelled the roasted animal, entered the cave.
"Grrrrr," it said. The hermit, scared out of its wits, quickly jumped
up and grabbed the spear that sat beside his bed -- its point was sharp
and carved out of granite. The hermit made threatening gestures with
the spear as the bear continued to approach him.
"Ouuuuu! Ouuuuuu!" the hermit wailed.
"Grrrrr," was the only word the bear could find to reply.
The hermit swung the spear an inch away from the bear's eye. The bear
responded by swiping its paw of sharp claws, missing the hermit by a
good foot. The hermit then jabbed the spear, in threat, just an inch
away from the bear's head. The bear simply responded by striking the
hermit clean to the floor. Blood trickled from the three parallel cuts
on his cheek. Ouch!
On the floor with fright in his eyes, the hermit quickly arose and
regained his defensive posture, spear and all. The hermit jabbed its
spear through the bear's head and it fell backwards -- on me.
A defeated "Gr" was its last word.
When the hermit was sure the grizzly bear was dead, he carefully
removed its carcass off my smashed body. The hermit then, thankfully,
straightened me out a bit. When the hermit finished attending to me, he
started to skin the bear. A swirl of wind happened in the cave and I
was slowly being carried out.
"Aruuuuuu!" the hermit exclaimed when he caught a glimpse of me leaving
the cave. I was blown down the mountain -- the excited hermit peered
over at me from the cliff.
I was sent tumbling through the countryside again. Until I finally got
out of the mountains, however, my tumbling had just been
One day, when the mountains were but a mere speck in the distance,
something rather odd occurred: I was picked up by a golden eagle.
It carried me to the sky; its sharp talons held me firmly. The eagle,
with its majestic wings, carried me due west. A rather extreme gust of
wind occurred and it must have distracted the bird or something because
it dropped me.
I was falling straight to the ground until I managed to catch that gust
of wind. I soared upward and caught up with the eagle. In fact, I hit
"Waaaaaauk!" the eagle exclaimed. After falling a couple of feet, it
wasn't long, however, before the eagle regained its magnificent
I continued to soar until I happened upon another large city. A large
blue body of water (the Pacific Ocean) laid on its outskirts. The gust
of wind faded and I was sent tumbling into the city. I landed on a
There was an informal convention of some sort going on. It was
comprised of about fifteen audience members. A man stood behind a
podium that displayed a banner saying "BIG BUSINESS IS EVIL" and, in
fine type on the bottom, it said: "printed with 110\% recycled
material." (Did I mention that I have superior eyesight?)
The man spotted me tumbling through the park and ran after me. He
picked me up and brought me onstage.
"This is what I'm talking about!" the man yelled through a bullhorn.
"It's not PEOPLE who dump trash like this on our planet, it's BIG
Trash?! Just watch your mouth, mister. I'm the hero of St. Louis!
"Stop big business! Stop big business! Stop big business!" the man
began to chant and the fifteen audience members soon followed.
"Recycle this for me, Bill," the man yelled through the bullhorn, while
everyone was still chanting, as he tossed me toward another man.
"Rebirth!" I thought in joy. However, I guess it wasn't meant to be
because I caught another gust of wind.
Though Bill ran after me, I was too quick for him. I tumbled down the
street, and into a field of short grass. The wind was particularly
strong there, so I started a shaky liftoff. I bounced several times on
"Uh oh," I thought in fear as I began to near a cliff. Upon every
bounce, I caught a glimpse of that large blue body of water. And it was
getting closer! "I'm about to fall into the ocean!"
When all hope looked lost, I ran into that palm tree, which is
precisely where I'm situated now.
So here I sit. My death is off this cliff. This palm tree is violently
shaking and it'll only be a matter of minutes before I fall into the
ocean and likely die. Goodbye world! It's been fun!