I was listening to the Velvet Underground’s track ‘The Gift’ the other day. If you don’t know it, it’s a spoken word piece, with musical background, about a young man separated from his lady love. Wracked with jealous anxiety, but without the financial means to make the journey in the accepted fashion, he seals himself in a large cardboard box and has himself posted to her. Unfortunately, the box is sealed so tightly that the only way she can get in is to attack it with a long carving knife, with predictably messy consequences.
Actually, people travelling by post isn’t as common as you might expect, although there a few recorded instances. In 2003, Charles McKinley sealed himself in a crate and had himself mailed from New York to his parents’ house in Dallas. After a long and uncomfortable journey by air freight, he was discovered on delivery by a courier, who notified the authorities and McKinley was arrested. For a while he faced terrorism charges (the US is understandably wary of persons unknown on aircraft), but was eventually charged with ‘misdemeanour stowaway’ and was sentenced to four months house arrest and a $1500 fine.
More laudably, in 1849, a slave in Virginia named Henry Brown (subsequently named Henry Box Brown), escaped captivity by having himself mailed in a wooden crate to the free state of Pennsylvania. After spending 26 hours cooped up – most of them upside down – he greeted his surprised liberators with the words “How do you do, gentlemen?”, before embarking on his new life as a lecturer for the anti-slavery movement and a performing magician!
Have box – will travel?
The way train fares and petrol prices are going, it’s perhaps surprising that more people don’t try this creative travelling concept. Obviously, we’re not suggesting that this is a good idea at all (especially if your journey were to include air travel), but if you were thinking of doing so, we do have a few large cardboard boxes ideal for the purpose.
Henry Box Brown’s box was “three feet one inch wide, two feet six inches high, and two feet wide”. That’s about 940 x 609 x 762mm in Davpack terms. Bearing in mind that we also have to take the weight of the person being mailed into account, I think the best bet is one of our triple wall boxes, ATW73, which has internal measurements of 1040 x 620 x 790mm. That’s quite roomy!
A quick calculation shows that you could get to, say, Cornwall, for just over £35 (I’m including the cost of the box, our standard delivery charge, VAT and an extra £3 for guaranteed next day delivery). Actually, that’s not bad…and I’m due a week’s leave… Right, I’m off to pack a very small suitcase and then sun, sea and sand, here I come!!!
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