You Can’t Have Everything, Where Will You Put It?

You Can’t Have Everything, Where Will You Put It? September 23, 2017


Yesterday I was supposed to be busily reading and writing something or other, and so, of course, I indulged myself with ten or fifteen of those Watch Me Unpack My Mystery Box That I Paid For But Still Makes Me Feel Like Its My Birthday videos. These little gems are as mesmerizing as any disembodied hand unmolding a spaghetti-o jello from its plastic ring.

The first thing to note is that the lady opening her box is already at the height of this moment’s fashion. Her hair is perfectly arranged, her lipstick is just so, she is wearing something perfectly neutral so that the box itself will, one might say, pop on camera.

Also, and I think this is the most important thing, the background is Completely uncluttered. There might be a picture on the wall, but usually there’s just a lamp or something, maybe a cushion. You are invited to believe that this box being opened isn’t going to tip that person’s material life into chaos while she frantically figures out where to put ten more ‘things.’ Her bathroom drawers are not already overstuffed with free mask samples, greasy and weird moisturizer, and that cleanser that promised to make her look like Kate Middleton but then failed. Similarly, the box opening lady does not, by any means, already have five hundred scarves stuffed in her closet, and she is not going to have any trouble shoving one more water bottle into the pathetic darkness her overflowing kitchen cupboards. She’s Does Not Have Too Much Stuff. And so having this little box of unknown treasures arrive on her doorstep is only going to make her happy. It is no way going to launch her into a frenzied house cleaning as she tries to figure out where to put it all. That’s the first thing.

The second is that by acquiring this box, I’m pretty sure she purchases for herself entrance into that long forgotten club in Junior High, that rarified air where, with your parents’s credit card, you managed to secure for yourself The Pair of gap jeans required for moral and aesthetic superiority over all your fellow men. You both knew that they were The Jeans and you had a ride to the mall. This hidden secret knowledge, and the cash to act on it, elevated you to a sphere above, an enlighten plain. The breathlessness with which the box is received in each case transported me back to that misbegotten era. If I want to be In, say the purveyors of this box, I have got to get this box.

And then, most charming of all is the manner in which the box is opened. First the lilting uptalk of the voice, the ooing, the ‘I really like this’ in a tone that leaves you pretty sure she likes it, because she was given the box in order to get you to buy one, but there’s just a shadow of, what shall I call it, inauthenticity communicated in the most authentic way possible. Once the product has been ooed over, it has to be tried. It is opened right then, and applied on the face or wrist, or wrapped around the neck or adhered to the head (if it’s a hat). Each item’s fragrance has to be inhaled deeply and then the substance itself immediately indulged, with cries of delight.

Then, decked out in cream, lipstick, and scarf, the lady turns once more to the camera, expresses her deep joy, and offers you a discount code. If once you have got this box you may be sure that the cloying ennui of your own vacuous existence will be pushed back just a little bit. You will experience happiness. You will be delighted and thrilled at least for the rest of the day, if not for a whole week, and you will be never again be anxious or worried about what you will wear, or where you will store the scarf, or what you will do with another strange little bag. It will be wonderful! Get yours today!

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