Packaging With Pluck

Packaging plus art. Oh, my heart. You can’t know what a lovely pun this is unless I confess the products in these packages were acquired because of my heart. My beloved heart. I’ve been wearing emergency IDs for my solo runs, hikes, rides, etc. for years now. I recently upgraded them to denote I am now a heart patient. If a first responder ever finds me unresponsive, I need a way to alert him/her/them of my special status. This was always the point of wearing an emergency ID, of course, but every minute counts when/if there is a cardiac event.

My preferred brand of such products came in the most dandy little boxes adorned with the most endearing little artwork and these declarations of belief. Each one provided a ponderous pause, such as middle row left. I don’t believe that one absolutely. I call this a Yes But. It’s a boon to have good help. Teamwork can be divine. But some people can do it alone.

Top row. Another Yes But. I believe in all backs, not just the strong ones, but this includes the strong ones, so we agree to an extent. Switchbacks and give backs, yes. Back to the future? If you mean the film, oh definitely. Right smack in the middle of the 1980s. I was a teenager. I thought anything to do with the 1950s was charming. About 30 years later I met Lea Thompson at film festival near Mercyburg. Nice lady. I liked her laugh.

Middle row right. The first Never cancels out the next two Nevers, so which is it, dipsticks? Never seems to be the fastest way to make damn sure the never happens anyway, so that one is an exercise in futility for me. I think there is value leaving angry sometimes. There is also value is giving up on some things. So nope.

Bottom row left. I did drive to the desert to look at the stars. It wasn’t much of a journey though. I was already living in the desert. But driving deeper into the desert, away from the remote military outpost upon which I was posted? Just to look at the stars? Yes, I recommend it. For years I carried a boulder from state to state as a memento of one of those late night, deep desert excursions but I eventually lost in a divorce. Perhaps the next packaging launch should include We believe it is perfectly rational to fight over a rock.

Bottom row middle. I guess so. I don’t play video games but if I did it would seem a good thing to level up.

Bottom row right. Yes. Mix tape. Compilation CD. Box set. Play list. I believe.

It wasn’t just the artwork or the pithy printing, though. I admire folks who know what they believe and can articulate it clearly. Even if I don’t agree I respect a manifesto. A creed. A mission statement. A doctrine. Sometimes I’m jealous and wish I had one but I am not particularly well-suited to such things. I speak to (or listen to) folks who do and they appear to be so comforted, rooted, strengthened by a staunch stance while I flounder and float, always in flux. In flex. In flax. And phlox.

Ask me for a credo and I get itchy and cranky. It’s not that easy for me. It’s the primary reason I DESPISE the exercise of writing a letter to our younger selves. Hate is not a strong enough word for this. All I have to offer her is the assurance that she will outgrow everything and I am not sure that’s worth the time travel. I’d rather just give her a good story. Be someone she met once who left a strong impression. Like Lea Thompson’s laugh.

Younger me in a parallel universe writing a blog post about meeting her future self: She was a nice lady. I liked her laugh. Except that’s not a strong impression.

Do over: She was a weird lady. She told me I would break my own heart. Better, but just cryptic enough to be dismissed by an asshole younger self.

One more time: She was one of those strangers I felt like I already knew. She handed me a small box with drawings all over it which also read,

I believe in poetic license.

She’s taking a photo of the box with her cell phone. She’s editing it on her cell phone. She’s uploading it to her blog on a rainy Sunday afternoon and missing travel, trails, and old movies. She believes I’m out there somewhere, aware of her. And I am. And for today, that’s enough of a thing to believe in.

— Mercy

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