Man in a Box

I played in a box laImagest weekend. There it was, sitting large and empty in my living room. A childlike curiosity overcame me as I thought: “I bet I could fit inside that.” And so I, a man well into adulthood at 27 years old, climbed on in. And it was fun!

What leads a person my age to indulge in such a childish compulsion? The situation had begun with mature enough intentions. I set off with the woman I am married to, in the car that we lease, to buy a new barbeque for the home we have a mortgage on. Every aspect of the endeavour was characteristic of an adult lifestyle.

Yet, when it came time to dismantle the packaging of our new purchase, I found myself wearing it like a giant cardboard turtle shell as I chased our pets across the floor. My wife soon hopped in with me, the both of us wedged together laughing while our dog wriggled through our tangled limbs.

This was a normal enough occurence. For us, goofing around is a favourite pastime. Sometimes we pause to marvel that we really are what people would technically refer to as “grown-ups.”

At what point does a person actually start to feel like an adult, anyway? No matter how old I become, at no point do I feel I fit the label. When it comes to the simple senseless joys of life, I might as well be just a kid. Though my latest years have been structured around school, work, and general stability, such responsibilities are merely incidental of my age and serve to supplement the good times for which I live.

Having fun is important to me, and often it involves gratify the lingering tendencies of my younger years. This is why I still get giddy around theme park rides (see my related blog post, “Grown Up Kids“). Why at this very moment I am wearing Scooby Doo underwear. Why the prospect of a box with nothing in it will forever fill me with delight.

Clear a box of all its contents, and it comes to be filled with endless possibilities. As children we all know this, though we tend to forget as we grow older. Most adults will see a used cardboard case as nothing more than garbage. A kid, on the other hand, might see a racecar, cave, or robot helmet. The playful of us fully grown will see these things too.

Some of us refuse to ever truly grow up, and I think we are better off for it. The kind of joy and wonderment we experience as children should be something that lasts throughout our lives. Never discount frivolity, nor allow your imagination to be suppressed.

Don’t let the promise of an empty box escape you.

Cory Magnus Stumpf

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