Sunday, December 21, 2014

Follow the Paper

Once, many, many moons ago, I had a seasonal job at The Christmas Store, which used to be in the Century City mall. Today we would call it a "pop-up shop", but back then it was merely a "seasonal store." I think I was only in 9th grade when my friend Jen and I both applied for and got the job. Because I had neat handwriting, they put me on engraving duty, that is to say I personally engraved names onto ornaments with some super slim power tool. Is that even legal? The tool shook in my hand as I practiced my cursive on scraps of recycled metal. When a customer approached with his or her bauble, I'd plug in the tool and scratch out whatever name they requested, usually, but not always, to satisfied customers. In my down time, I was put on "wrapping duty", which was much less exotic and required me to wrap gifts. Boy did I suck. I always underestimated the amount of paper, and often found myself taping paper to the box and covering up my botched job with extra paper, and then a bow on top to try and hide the screw-up.  Once, upon watching me struggle, a co-worker or a boss, or maybe even Jen, said to me, "Sometimes you just need to follow the paper. It'll always tell you where to go." How zen! How reasonable! When the paper folded a certain way, I let it, instead of fighting to make it conform to my wishes. "Follow the paper" became my mantra in the store, and still is now when I find myself wrapping gifts for friends, parents, nephews, Hanukkah, Christmas, parties and the like. "Follow the paper" - isn't it a nice metaphor? 

No comments: