Life With Boxes: A Short Story

(The following are stages in a fictional life of someone as he observes humanity.)

The second I’m born, a man with a mask takes me and cuts my lifeline. I try to tell him how important it is, but he doesn’t understand me. As he’s taking me to a room to get cleaned off, I notice a glowing box on the wall. This place is filled with strange things, and it makes me miss home.

Once I’m clean and wrapped up, I go back and am handed to the person lying on the bed. She seems somehow familiar to me. There’s a man who seems to be very interested in me standing nearby. He’s holding a smaller glowing box next to me. I wonder what these things are?

I wake up in a different place, still being held by my mother while my father is sitting next to the bed. There is a parade of people that come in with gifts, and almost all of them take out glowing boxes and hold them up toward me. Only the very old do not have them. I wonder if there’s a connection?

We go to my parent’s home. It is big, and there are glowing boxes of all sizes around the place. These must be very important, but I don’t know what they do yet.

Today my father is very upset. It seems that he has lost his box, and is frantically searching for it. He actually starts yelling because he cannot find it. It seems like he may be physically harmed if he does not find it. I do not want him to be hurt, so I hope he finds it. Since only the very old people do not have boxes, perhaps there is a connection between getting old and dying, and not having a box. My mother uses her box to help him find his. I wonder what all the fuss is about?

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As I meet kids my own age as I start school, I’m amazed to find out that they have boxes too. They mostly use them to play games, and some of them look very different from the boxes that grownups have. Perhaps there are different boxes for different ages. I do not have one yet, because I am still unsure about them.

I have noticed that the rooms in my house where people most often gather are centered around the bigger boxes. Whenever it lights up, different things are displayed, and people watch it constantly. I’m told that they are real people doing those things, so I try to talk to them. This is apparently funny to my parents, and they explain that we can’t interact with them through the box. They seem like fake people to me, even though I’m repeatedly told they are real people, sometimes pretending to be other people, and other times playing sports.

Today I made a terrifying realization. I was shown pictures and videos of myself on a box. I do not understand. I remember the events, and it certainly looks like me and what I was experiencing, but something is missing. I don’t know what the difference is, but I know enough to not try and ask about it. I don’t want to be laughed at again. I do not like that they took some of me and put it on the boxes.

There are things on shelves that apparently are very old versions of boxes, or something. Nobody touches them, so I assume they are there for decoration.

Today I am taken with my parents to the largest box I have ever seen. There are many people with us, and we sit for a very long time. It is very loud, and people laugh,cry, and even yell things at the fake people on the box. I wonder why my parents do not laugh at them? I do not understand why people seem to care so much about fake people. Or perhaps it is the boxes that they care about, or that the boxes create the fake people. I wonder what all the fuss is about?

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As I go through school, I am often thought of as being strange because I do not have a box. People seem very annoyed that they cannot get in touch with me whenever they want to. It is thought rude of me to tell them when and where they can meet up with me. There is something strange about that.

It does take me longer to complete assignments than my friends, because I don’t use the boxes. Interestingly, I seem to retain the information longer. I do not know if there is a connection, but if there is, I would prefer to do harder work to get longer benefits.

Some boxes seem to be used primarily to listen to music. In order to not interrupt others, there are strings which connect to our ears from the box. I find it interesting that in order to charge boxes, you have to plug them into the outlets in the walls, and to enjoy boxes, sometimes you have to plug the boxes into yourself.

I do not often enjoy watching movies, mainly because I distrust the boxes and the fake people that live there. However, there is one movie that I have found to be fascinating. I wonder if this is an attempt at describing the real life. Perhaps this is art imitating life, as they say. If this is true, than we need someone to rescue us from the fake world, and bring us to the real world. We need to be unplugged. I hope there are no boxes in the real world. I still don’t know what all the fuss is about.

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I remember reading somewhere of a story in a magical world where children enter it, and live entire lives and fight battles. There is a talking lion that is somewhat of a hero, or at least a rescuer. I believe they have made a movie about it as well. The interesting part for me is that there seem to be quite a few parallels to the movie I watched a few years ago. The lion mentions that when they leave the fake land, they will be able to find him in their real world, though he goes by a different name. I wonder if there is some truth to this?

People seem very distracted by their boxes. I can hardly have a conversation with someone without their box lighting up or vibrating or making noise, only to have them interrupt what we were talking about to check it. There is somewhat of a growing concern about this tendency, but it seems to concern people for a few minutes only, and then nothing changes.

The boxes keep getting both bigger and smaller. People now have boxes on their wrists the size of watches, and some on their face the size of glasses. The bigger ones are generally for your living room, to simulate the experience of going to the theater for the gigantic boxes. I’m not entirely sure why people want to invite others over, only to watch the box, and then talk about what the fake people did on the box. I feel like it would be better to just talk to the people and get to know them better. But I am in the minority on the whole situation. I do not think any of the fuss is worth it.

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I am nearing the end of my life, and thankfully the doctors tell me that I will not need to be connected to any boxes because I am in good health. I have decided that I want to be cremated, though my reasons are somewhat strange. I have been to several funerals in my lifetime, and I notice that we dress the dead people in their best clothes, put makeup on them to make them seem alive, and then place them in something shaped like a box. Then lots of people come to see the once-person in the box. An eerie parallel to the spectacle of the theater, where people go to see the fake people dress up and do other things. Why must our lives center so much around those boxes?

I believe that the things in the other movies are actually true. There is somewhat of a fake world and a real world, and that people need to be rescued from one to the other. Also, we need to find the rescuer in our world, and I believe that I have found Him, though He is known by a different name here. They made a movie on that, too.

I believe that ultimately, there is nothing inherently wrong with the boxes, even though I do not choose to have them. I think the problem is that the things you own end up owning you, and therefore we become controlled by the boxes, and whoever controls the boxes on the content side. I think people need to be very careful about what they do with their boxes. There needs to be more fuss about that.

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Now that I have died, I am in a very different world. A better world. There are no boxes here. It would appear that the fuss was all for nothing.

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