Board-folding: a parable (or how I refrained from murder yesterday)


Yesterday,  I learned the valuable lesson of “board-folding.”

What is board folding?.. you may find yourself asking.

WELL, basically it’s folding a shirt, tank, cardigan, sweater (LARGE PIECE OF FABRIC)… while utilizing a plastic board as a kind of stabilizer throughout the process. The result is in theory, a neater folding job so that your stacks of clothing look organized and visually appealing for potential customers.

Let’s talk about these “potential customers” for a second shall we? They do not care about board folding. They care about finding their correct size. They care about small, medium, large and so on and so forth. And they will destroy any “visually appealing” masterpiece you have created in order to ensure they get there.

... and they all have red hair.

I board-folded 75 t-shirts (yes I counted) for 55 MINUTES .

When I was done, these shirts looked like they had undergone the garment version of extreme fabric makeover. To say they looked good is completely undermining the quality of performance I exhibited. These shirts were the Justin Bieber of the cotton world. They could do no wrong. But alas, I find myself entirely too emotionally attached to certain tasks and after spending almost an hour with these particular shirts, I felt a certain protection over their new perfection. I guarded them like a mother bear protects her cubs. I might as well have been growling at people. …It’s fine, I’ll never see them again. Anyway, I stepped away for a few minutes to gaze outside longingly at Noodles and Company (I never really stop wanting Mac and Cheese) and to stare down my stupid ankle and will it back to health in much the same manner Jesus does but with less success. Which was understandably disappointing.

A rookie mistake. Day dream ended, I observed in dismay as 4 (evil) adolescents destroyed my carefully calculated job in a matter of thirty seconds.

It was really all I could do to not strangle them, or myself. Or my boss. What was the point of all that stupid work to just have it destroyed by Miley Cyrus and crew? I just wasted minutes of my life on such a menial, retarded task and for what? So that it could be “visually appealing” for myself?

And the answer I think.. is yes. Because in the moments that the shits, ahem shirts, did look perfect I was actually kind of proud of how good it looked. And I know that sounds idiotic and like I have been brainwashed into thinking that my job has purpose (and maybe sometimes I have) but when you are stuck for 6 hours folding and refolding shirts and staring off into space and wishing you could time travel and wondering if any guy who comes into your store is actually straight… you might find a little pride in your shirt display as well.

Which brings me to my overall point (because I do have one) of the lesson that “board-folding” has taught me. I’m beginning to turn my mindless retail slavery tasks into life parables which makes me feel much less like what I am doing is sucking me of my brain cells and dignity. Anyway..

In life, there will always be things you will take the time to do with the knowledge that at some point, whatever you have accomplished will eventually fall to ruin.

This could be as simple as folding clothes for hours on end to have someONE destroy it in minutes or it could be making your bed very aware that that very night you will once again tear up the sheets or putting up christmas decorations knowing in two weeks, you have to put them away again or it could be something much bigger, like letting your guard down to let someone into your life with the knowledge that at some point, the relationship may fail and that all that “visual perfection” is really just one silly day dream away from coming back to terms with reality.

But we put the effort into making these things temporarily perfect because we know during the time that things are flawless, it’s totally worth it. It’s something to be proud of. To care about. To protect and prolong. And when it is ruined or falls apart, which sometimes happens, and is occasionally inevitable, it’s a comfort to know that if we created something perfect once, we can always do it again. And though getting there might be a tedious or monotonous or painful experience, the final result is always worth it.

So go ahead and make your bed and sleep in it too.

Let your guard down and let someone in your life knowing they might leave.

Fold some clothes and then throw them across the room in a giant pile and then, set them on fire.

Because guess what? The best part about metaphorical “board-folding” is that you GET (!!!!!) to do it again. And (though this doesn’t directly apply to beds or christmas lights) you’ll do it better. And it will last longer. And maybe next time.. perfection will stick around.

I don’t know. All I am saying is that next time I am forced to “board-fold“, the board will also be doubling as a baseball bat to anyone who touches my perfect sweater masterpiece.

*retail smile*



2 thoughts on “Board-folding: a parable (or how I refrained from murder yesterday)

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