Some time ago, someone in our neck of the woods donated a bomb to the Goodwill Store.
When I read the headline, I couldn’t believe it. I felt sorry for all those people at Goodwill who were somehow targeted by a crazy person. I imagined the bomb with all the wiggly wires and some sort of digital clock counting down the minutes. In my mind’s eye I envisioned the brave folks at the police department sending in a professional wearing one of those puffy suits — which look like they would protect you from a few furious toddlers, but not a bomb. Then, kneeling for possibly the last time, the brave bomb squad person would clip the red – no, the white! — wire with one second left on the timer.
Who in the world would have it out for Goodwill, I wondered? Did someone buy a hair dryer that only worked on the cold setting? Or did the heel come off the boots in a week? I mean, I’ve been there, but this certainly seemed like a bit of an overreaction.
Then I saw the picture in the paper of the bomb, which looked to me like a metal buoy, or maybe a giant car part. At that moment I realized three things:
1. It’s a darn good thing I’m not working for the bomb squad because between you and me, I don’t need to wear anything that makes me look any puffier than I already do.
2. It’s also a darn good thing I’m not working for the bomb squad because I apparently have no idea what a bomb looks like.
3. And it’s a darn good thing I’m not working for Goodwill because I’d probably put a bomb on the clearance rack, nice and low where children could reach it with their toy hammers.
As it turned out, the item at Goodwill wasn’t a live bomb (or munition as the smart bomb squad people call these things), just a decoy or training bomb or bomb stand in. As you can imagine, this was a great relief for all involved.
But do you know who I really feel for? The person who donated it. Because I know how it feels to come across something in your house that you can’t identify, something you prop up in a corner for a few years, until finally you get fed up with all the stuff and decide to clear out the clutter. You go on a real tear, clearing out boxes and boxes of stuff, feeling lighter and more in control than you have in forever.
Then you drive it over to the wonderful folks at Goodwill, determined that your stuff is going to help someone out in the world. You imagine your shirt going to someone who is starting over or that dresser going to some young family decorating a new house on a budget. Or an aspiring interior designer attracted to large metal objects that look like buoys with fins.
And then you open the paper and realize you freaked out half of New Braunfels.
I feel you, stranger. Believe me, it could have happened to anyone (and just for the record, it wasn’t me).