What’s in a Cardboard Box?

Does anyone remember that scene from Seven, at the end, where Brad Pitt is freaking out because he got a cardboard box delivered to him out in the middle of nowhere?  He’s standing there with Morgan Freeman, and they both know it’s something really bad, and Brad Pitt is crying like only Brad Pitt can cry, and he’s saying, “What’s in the box?”

Well, in case you don’t remember that scene, because you have never seen the movie, I won’t spoil it for you.  If you do remember the scene, because you have seen the movie, then you know what I am referring to.  And even if you’ve never actually watched Seven for yourself, you are probably familiar with phrase, because anywhere you’ve ever worked has probably involved someone opening a cardboard box, and someone else being witty and clever and enacting Brad Pitt: “What’s in the box?”

It’s kind of strange how people can bond over a cardboard box, in this case because of a movie that may or may not have been seen, but is generally still known about.  And that one little reference, made over a simple cardboard box, would open the door to conversation.  “You know that movie?”  “Yes/No… And/But have you seen…?”  An amazing conversation begins to build about movies that have had Brad Pitt in them, or Morgan Freeman, or Kevin Spacey (who is the other main character of Seven), and then more conversation stems from people who have been in movies with those people: Angelina Jolie, Jim Carrey, Jason Sudeikes… And so on and so forth.  Until a friendship has blossomed, and continues the end of time. Then a movie gets made about their friendship, which started because of talking about movies, which started because of a cardboard box.

The world is complex like that.  A cardboard box can bring you a gift, signifying a healthy and beautiful relationship that brings you joy and can make you happy.  It can also be the Grim Reaper, in a way, like when you have to pack up your desk because you just got laid off and have to go find another job now.  The keeper of good memories, like mementos from your childhood.  The keeper of bad memories, like notes and pictures from your ex that you bring out every now and then when you want to have a good cry.  We can’t forget those tiny ones, bearing the request of a promise: will you marry me?  What’s in a cardboard box?  I’m sure a lot of things come to mind…