On Saturday, I passed a box on the street corner near my house. It was just an ordinary cardboard box, about the size of two milk crates, but, attached to it were a handwritten sign saying "free" and a shiny mylar helium balloon, so that no one would miss it.
It is very common in the city for people to take random items that they no longer want, stick "FREE" on them and leave them on the street. Most often, you will see abandoned furniture, which is sometimes truly great if you happen upon it before it has been vandalized, rained on, or peed on. Cardboard boxes are not quite as ubiquitous, but they do pop up. In boxes, you will usually find old books, toys, clothes, weird outdated electronics and/or videotapes. We are all at a bit of a loss about what to do with our old videotapes.
There was nothing visible in the box from a distance, so I assumed most of its treasures had been claimed. As I passed, I peered in. At the bottom of the otherwise empty box, there were three chocolate chip cookies.
I have questions.
1. Would anyone eat a cookie claimed from an abandoned box sitting on the street corner in a major urban area?
2. Are there towns in America where unmanned free cookies would be cheerfully consumed without fear of death?
A. If so, would they be left in a cardboard box or, more likely, a basket
3. Was this particular large box at one point filled with cookies? Suggesting
A. A significant baking project
B. That some 40 dozen cookies had already been claimed by
brave or hapless cookie-loving citizens
4. Had there never been any more than three cookies in the box? Suggesting
A. A sort of miserly act of generosity
B. Some kind of trap, or mean trick, akin to the famous
dollar bill on a string
C. That the baker simply had no smaller boxes
Clearly, there is no need to go on costly vacations to marvel at the wonders of the world. Are the ancient pyramids any more mysterious than this? I think not. Heavier, yes. Bigger, certainly. More confounding? Not really.