Writing and Thinking “Outside of the Box:” A Class Action Lawsuit

April 6, 2022 § 3 Comments

By Boaz Dvir

A West Jefferson, Ohio, cardboard box has filed a class action lawsuit against tens of millions of Americans, citing defamation, libel, slander, reputational damage, separation anxiety, social phobia, externalist angst, agoraphobia, panic disorder, PTSD, ADHD, and FOMO.

Filed at a US District Court in Columbus, Ohio, the suit claims that the use, misuse, overuse, and bludgeoning-to-death uber-utilization of the phrase “think out of the box” has caused irreparable harm to Box 7821 and 9,240,524,378 other cardboard containers that have joined in this legal bout.

The 9,240,524,379 boxes seek an injunction against the use of this “shopworn shibboleth” by anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason. Yes, even in the hallowed institutions of capitalism.

“I cringed the first time I heard this counterproductive catchphrase,” said Box 7821, a multilayered corrugated fiberboard with a fetching fold at the edge of one of its side panels. “By the 100th time, I collapsed. By the 1000th, I was totally crushed. By now, I’ve had it up to my slots. Why do humans insist on recycling these flattening terms? Why can’t they think outside the box?”

The boxes’ suit has sent shockwaves through corporate boardrooms, political headquarters, marketing departments, entrepreneurial retreats, and think tanks.

“If this suit prevails, market leaders will have to conjure up new ways to instill out-of-the-box thinking among their employees,” a CNBC/MSNBC/NBCUniversal/Peacock analyst said. “In a twist of irony, they themselves will be forced to finally and truly think outside the box.”

Although most of the defendants have yet to think in or out of the box about the suit, some have stepped up to shoot it down.

“I have nothing against most boxes, as long as they keep their flaps shut,” said a Boise, Idaho, resident as she brought in Amazon packages after letting them sit on her front porch for just 12 days (down from the previous 12 weeks) as part of her relaxed COVID-19 safety protocols. “Some of my best deliveries arrive in boxes. I recycle. I never draw evil, ugly faces on them or anything.”

The reporter pointed at an evil, ugly face drawn on the side of an Amazon box perched on the Boise resident’s porch swing. At first, the Boise resident called this observation “fake news.” Then she blamed her “young, impressionable son.” But this middle-aged adult said he stopped drawing after catching his mom tossing his childhood art into a burning fireplace.

Finally, the Boise resident pointed her finger at her dog. But the Chihuahua claimed its innocence by barking incessantly and flashing its tiny teeth at the sketch, which some might say resembles Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s soul.

“Fine,” the Boise resident said, “you drew it out of me. I felt boxed in, OK?”

Her dissatisfaction was echoed by a Crystal River, Fla., homeowner wearing a “Prevent the 2024 Steal” T-shirt and shooting box panels with an assault rifle in her back yard.

“Boxes are a key part of the conspiracy to control the American people,” the Crystal River sharpshooter yelled during target-practice internals. “We should alter this line of verbal propaganda into ‘out with the boxes!’”

Yet other defendants called for understanding and compromise.

“We gotta stop saying the same thing over and over and expecting different responses,” said a San Francisco studio-apartment-renter from his van phone as he drove solo across the country. “We gotta start thinking out of the box.”

(The reporter did her best to capture this quote from the San Francisco studio-apartment-renter. But he was hard to hear because he insisted on wearing a mask despite driving alone in his loud diesel van.)

Accepting the San Francisco studio-apartment-renter’s olive branch, Box 7821 said, “I gotta welcome attempts at compromise. They show that outta-box thinking is possible.”

The reporter asked if it’s hypocritical for boxes to use this phrase. But Box 7821 said they’re reappropriating it.

“Just as Jewish comedians took back ‘Jewish,’” Box 7821 said, “and heterosexual white men now own ‘bro,’ we need to reclaim ‘think out of the box.’”

Box 7821’s attorneys asked the US District Court in Columbus to expedite the proceedings. They noted that the plaintiff lives a couple of miles from Amazon Fulfillment Center CMH4 and could find itself rolling down an assembly line at any moment.

The reporter advised Box 7821 to refuse deliveries to Crystal River and Boise.

Waging battle on several fronts, Box 7821 has filed a trademark, secured all related URLs, and hired a bevy of social media influencers to “de-cool-nize” the expression.

Another, unnamed box praised Box 7821’s courage.

“I’m awestruck,” the box said, “seeing a box not just thinking but also acting out of the box.”

Legal experts said this suit may inspire others to act. Fruits have scheduled a meeting later this season to marinate over pulverizing the overripe slogan “grab the low-hanging fruit.”

“We thought that in this era, y’all would cease with the grabbin’,” a Marshallville, Ga., peach told the reporter. “But even now as we speak, I can see that you’re fixin’ to grab me. This terminology also promotes a hierarchical structure that runs counter to our sweet disposition.”

(The reporter confirmed that the peach was indeed delicious.)

Flagpoles are also standing tall in their opposition to the “idiotic idiom” of “run it up the flagpole.”

“Only thing we want running up our pole is a US or a state flag,” said an American-and-New-Mexico-flags-hoisting flagpole in Albuquerque. “What you see is not us waving you in to spew your bad ideas and toxic feedback but waving you off.”

At the same time, pins have shelved a proposal to do something about “put a pin in it” and candles say they’re too busy to deal with “burning the candle at both ends.”

“I don’t have time for this meshugaas,” a Staten Island Shabbos candle said. “I’m burning the candle at both ends over here.”

Box 7821 encouraged the candles and pins to think differently.

“And until our trademark comes through,” Box 7821 said, “I’ll just leave it at that.”

___
Award-winning filmmaker Boaz Dvir’s films have been distributed by PBS, Hulu, Amazon Prime, The New York Times and other outlets. An assistant professor at Penn State, Dvir teaches journalism and directs the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative, which trains educators to effectively teach difficult topics. Dvir’s critically acclaimed nonfiction book, Saving Israel (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), follows World War II aviators’ secret mission to prevent what they viewed as a second Holocaust.

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