How to Entertain Your Movers

Whew. Moving is hard.

Doing hard things is a shitload easier if you have the help of lots of other people, including hired professionals who may or may not have been professional bodybuilders in a past career and are therefore qualified to lift extremely heavy things. But even if you’re the one who needs help, you can’t just take, take, take. You have to give back a little, too. I’m a big believer in giving everyone I have a meaningful interaction with something — if not an actual thing, then a gesture, a feeling, a thought. Kind of like how my mama taught me that when you return somebody’s dish, you don’t return it empty; you put something of your own making back into it. (Thank you for the delicious casserole. Here is your pan back, along with some drawings I made of a giraffe smoking a cigarette.)

But what on earth could I offer a bunch of big, burly movers?

I decided I would give the gift of making their work a wee bit more interesting, and I would do it by labeling my moving boxes for them.

I mean, don’t you think it gets old, looking at all those brown boxes every day? They’re probably pretty similar in every house. “Kitchen… upstairs bath… dishes… books… roller skates…” I bet sometimes it feels like the same old job just repeating itself day after day. Well, not anymore. I would make these boxes different, keep the job entertaining. That’s what I could give.

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It occurred to me at one point that there was potential for this whole thing to go wrong. What if the boss guy saw one of my boxes, thought one of his packers labeled it, and said, “WTF, Carl — why is this box labeled, ‘socks for dragons’?  YOU’RE FIRED, CARL,” and then one of the really nice packer guys got canned? So I stopped, and instead of the spiritual gift of laughter, I got everyone some pizzas.

(In reality: If they even noticed, the boss guy was probably just like, “Oh, sheezus. Look, Carl, we got another jokester.”)

* * *

PS: Are you having a nice summer? I hope so. As you may have noticed, I’m not posting here quite so much this month. But it’s for a bunch of good reasons. For one thing, I’m working on the book. For another, my day-job is jammin’ lately. But then also, it’s summer. And I just moved. And I can’t even find the box that has clean bras in it, and I don’t have a washing machine yet, so I’m spending a lot of time hand-washing these same two bras and hanging them up outside to dry, which is why I’ll probably be getting a LOT of dinner invitations from my new neighbors pretty soon, so I guess I’ll be staying quite busy for a while. But I’ll be back. Promise.


  1. Why didn’t I think of this? This would have prevented my mover from labeling the entire garage and office as “garage(or office), pots, papers”. Still looking for the photo albums.

  2. This is awfully funny. “just some papers” aka nothing to see here, move along…

    Reminds me of one time I moved and labelled a box full of “boots” – Except the t and the s were squished together and the top part of the s was missing… well, that made the nice moving man laugh.

  3. We have moved ten times in ten years and have now ran out of friends. And!!! We have to move again as landlord selling house…. We are cursed with houses as it happens every time. Maybe we’ll pack like you did and not open anything next time. 🙂

  4. Absolutely GENIUS!!! Hopes/dreams was my favourite…Until i got to the meth lab, sorry, tablecloths. I want to move now, just to scrawl random things on the boxes. Mind you, I’m not sure we even finished unpacking all the boxes from 23 years ago yet.

  5. Hilarious, as usual! I adore your bookshelf header. Is that your own illustration or is it something I could borrow? I write about books sometimes and it would be perfect.

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