Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moving Tales Part II

(Note: For best results, scroll down and read Moving Tales Part I first.)

There’s a bookcase that’s been in my family since at least 1975. I think it goes back even further, but I might be confusing it with another bookcase. I can’t remember exactly what this one looked like before it received its current paint job. It’s not an heirloom, nor was it expensive as far as I know; in fact, it looks like something you might buy at Ikea, circa 1975, for $8.

It didn’t really become memorable until my older brother was allowed to decorate his bedroom. He chose a décor of purple and silver accessorized with a purple candle on a black four-foot-tall stand, purple walls, a lava lamp, and aromas of incense. The bookcase was purple with metallic silver lining on the shelves. (Think Barney with foil accents.) My brother had always planned on being a lawyer with a vague notion of running for political office someday. Of course, secret photos of this bedroom would ruin a politician (as opposed to posing nude in Cosmopolitan). But all in all, this was a typical teenager’s room in 1975.

Through the years, as we six kids moved from bedroom to basement and back again, or moved out and got on with our lives, the bookcase traveled as well. The last place I remember it occupying at my parents’ house was my younger brother’s room where it was painted blue but retained the shiny silver shelves. Some years later, I finally graduated college, was thrust out into the real world, and moved into the big city. My parents helped me move. Actually, they totally moved me for reasons I won’t get into. They loaded the u-haul themselves then drove it to my new apartment in the big city where I awaited. So I’m going to speculate that, as my dad finished loading the truck, he saw the opportunity to get rid of a few things he and my mom no longer wanted.

And that’s how I inherited the silver and blue bookcase.

But for a poor, struggling professional whose net worth was about $1.99, the bookcase came in handy. I had books and CDs and stuff that needed to be put somewhere easily accessible. So, simple as it was, it was much appreciated throughout my bachelorhood. I was more interested in function than color-coordinated décor. Alas, the long winding road led me to Texas and St. Pauli Girl. When I moved in, we put all of my non-vital belongings in the garage. Daily, St. Pauli Girl perused my stuff and mentally noted which things to get rid of. Somehow, someway, the bookcase always made the cut as I always needed some shelving to store books that I never read or referenced. Finally, at our last house, she’d had enough, and the bookcase was banished to the backyard shed where it was employed to host tools, paint, and other hardware which we seldom used.

Finally, in March 2009, it was time for another move. This move would be 400 miles (which still didn’t even come close to the border of Texas). Even though Rip-Cat was eliminated from our Rolodex, I knew St. Pauli Girl would still call them. Luckily, they didn’t do long distance moves. We ended up hiring one of those big name, professional moving companies. The day of the move, everything went smooth, and I personally ensured they had loaded everything. “This is great,” I thought. “Movers that actually move everything.”

Three days later, we arrived at our present house. The movers did a great job and put everything where we asked. This house was smaller than our previous house, so they unloaded a lot of furniture into the detached garage. We didn’t go through the inventory list, as we weren’t too concerned about anything missing. (In twenty years, my net worth had probably only risen to $4.99.)

Two or three months later we decided to clean up and organize the garage where all of our extra stuff was crammed into a narrow space. Slowly, we worked our way through the boxes. Near the end of our long day, I noticed a stack of blue splintered wood taped together laying on the floor. I pulled it apart, scratching my head trying to figure out what it was. The old blue bookcase! It had been shattered into about six large, flat pieces. Someone had ripped the wood apart, then wrapped it all together in one neat package. The movers?

I wondered if it was the result of anger on the movers’ part. Perhaps one of them was an interior designer on the side, and the silver and blue bookcase insulted his profession? Or maybe they all resented that we had so much junk, so they carried the poor misfit bookcase to the alley and smashed it into bits with highflying karate kicks?

But then it dawned on me. Since the bookcase was in the tool shed, it was probably one of the last items loaded. It probably didn’t quite fit. So, since these guys were professionals, they destroyed it to make it fit rather than leave it behind Rip-Cat style. Then, upon arrival at the new house, they casually unloaded the kit of broken shelves and hid it between other items of stored furniture hoping it wouldn’t be discovered until long after their departure. (Long after we’d signed off on the contract.)

It still bugs me. Couldn’t they have just showed it to me and said, “Sorry dawg, it just couldn’t handle the trip.” No big deal. We wouldn’t have cared if some cheap old shelves were the only casualty of the move. The bookcase was worth maybe 75 cents. But no, they had to sneak the shattered pieces in and hope we wouldn’t call the moving company and complain. After two or three days (or months, in our case), who’s to say who destroyed it?

I imagine they sit around at other jobs and talk about that ugly blue bookcase:

“Man, we sure got away with that one.”

“Dude, that was genius, taping the pieces together like we had actually taken it apart.”

“That thing should have been in the dump forty years ago.”

“We sure showed it who was boss!”

Silver and blue bookcase:
RIP March 9, 2009.

(Note: we suspect the time of death was actually between March 6 and March 9).


  1. Silver and blue? Aren't those the colors of the Dallas Cowboys? I can't believe there isn't some sort of Texas law that would allow for the punishment of those movers who created such sacrilege.

  2. Good point. I will consult with the attorney general.