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The Thingy


In the sad weeks and months after Mother passed, Tarun and I obsessively decluttered our closets and drawers. It allowed us to go to her room and not feel crushed. We admired the kick-knacks she had collected over the years. We laughed at her whimsy and cried over her loss. This was the genesis of the confrontation with the "thingy".

As Marie Kondo propelled us through every closet in the house, we gave away bags of clothes, shoes, and housewares, saving the sentimental belongings to pass on to the kids some day. Like the onesie in which both Neil and Josh came home from the hospital.

I thinned my closed by 60%. The boredom of wearing the same clothes for decades (noooo kidding!) and the need to align with the times, kept me focused while I sorted, bagged, hauled, and dropped off stuff.

At the time, the plan was to replenish the summer section of the closet mid-spring. Unbeknownst to us all, we were going to be in a lockdown and I'd be counting my summer clothes on one hand!

Naturally, I had to go online to grab a few things. The first order in early April was challenging. Between Covid-19 upsetting the retail supply chain and my own insecurities about handling a potentially virus-laden package, I let the order sit in my garage for a week. The good news is that the clothes fit and I didn't have to return anything. Seeing my success, Tarun followed suit and put in an online order of clothes for himself to which I added a couple of items.

This time the outcome was dreadful.

Attached to a pair of shorts was the security thingy. You know the thing that is placed on the gadget on the sales counter and it buzzes right off the clothes? The thing that makes the store alarm blare? The thing that allegedly has an ink bomb if you try to take it off?

Yes, this thing.

I desperately needed the shorts and I was not going to return it.

I did what I always do when confronted with an intractable problem - reach for the screwdriver. I sat on the floor to wring it off my shorts. And then Tarun yelled from upstairs, "Some of them have ink bombs!!"

Ugh, it's true!

I switched into black pants and a black t-shirt (...because...ink...is...black?!) and proceeded to the garage in case of an explosion. After a ten-minute struggle, I was able to break the thingy into two with the screwdriver. There was no ink bomb and the shorts didn't rip in the mutilation.

There was another way to do this but it involved setting fire to the thingy and popping up the spring inside. Umm, no thanks.

In case you are replenishing your clothes and you are confronted with this, follow my lead: black clothes, flat-head screwdriver, brute force, garage.


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