Thursday, November 25, 2010


So I ordered a red leather case for my new BlackBerry from Amazon a couple of days ago. I was told I wouldn't receive it before Christmas, which was fine with me.

Yesterday I got the package you can see in the picture out of my mailbox. It was sent from Hong Kong and the customs declaration form specified, as you can see, that it was an "unsolicited gift." My first reaction was that of fear. Handling the package with extreme care, I brought it into the house, placed it on the coffee-table, and spent the next 30 minutes worrying about what to do with it. I'm ashamed to say that I even put my ear to it to listen for the sounds of ticking.

Eventually, I opened it - again, with extreme care bordering on paranoia - and discovered the BlackBerry case I'd ordered from Amazon.

Obviously, as a quiet, peaceful academic, I have no need to worry about terrorists sending me Anthrax or explosive devices. Still, the current paranoia about mysterious packages proved to be infectious in my case. Even now that I'm writing about it, I'm curling my toes in shame over my own ridiculousness.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Vinod said...

I won't say the fear was unreasonable. I remember one friend got a mysterious package in our hostel back in India. We were scared as hell to open it. Turned out to be a surprise gift by one of his relatives.

Anonymous said...

Modern bombs don't tick. :-) Digital timers are much more reliable and cheaper nowadays. But most package bombs intended to detonate for a single target are wired to detonate upon opening and aren't timed.

Also, most package bombs are wired so that only the "normal" side that people open will trigger a detonation. If you were really worried, you could've opened the package in a way that it wasn't intended (cut through the side, etc.) Not foolproof, as some bombers are more sophisticated than others, but still a pretty good heuristic.


Clarissa said...

I was very disappointed to read in an article somewhere that actual bombs don't have that Hollywood timer with a countdown in huge red digits.

But I'm glad to know that my instinctive way of opening that package was exactly like you described. :-)