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Why I am The Way I am : The Shredder Saga

I feel like there are probably moments when you read my writing, and then perhaps ask yourself, “why?” Just “why is this girl like this?” Why did she have to say that? Yes it is warm, but there’s no need to compare going outside to “walking inside a moist vagina.” Just unnecessary imagery.

Was she dropped on her head? Did her mother smoke while she was in utero? (Answer: yes) What is wrong with her?

I think I was just born into an eccentric family. We are all a bit wacky in our own ways, and I believe the email chain I am about to share is pretty much the perfect explanation of who I am.

Here is the context:

In my Dad’s study, there are piles and piles and piles of paper. Kind of like the room of a mad scientist, but instead of test tubes, there is just LOTS of paper with Ancient Greek on it. So my dad decides he needs to clean his study, and the best way to do this, would be to shred all the paper.

My dad then goes on line, and buys and industrial sized shredder. Keep in mind; my dad pays all his bills electronically. There really is nothing in his study that is worthy of shredding, and if there is, I am sure he could tear up that ONE piece of paper.

Yet my dad insisted he needed this industrial sized shredder anyway.

The shredder arrived, and weighed 250 pounds. My dad, who was in Greece, assumed from MILES AWAY that this GIANT MACHINE could be brought up the FIVE flights of stairs to his office by the handy man Tony Farma. My brother interjected, and explained that the shredder is wayyyyy too heavy for that. My brother’s solution is that the shredder stay in the dinning room, yet my mom – who is German and very particular about aesthetic – would not be pleased. An industrial sized shredder in her dining room does not exactly fit into her taste palate.

My brother, however, had grown very attached to the shredder, and insisted that it remain in the dining room. It was now a part of our family, and one can’t just go around abandoning industrial sized shredders.


Title of Email : Applied archaeology on the shredder
Author: My brother

Dear Dad,

So there is this huge heavy box that is sitting in the front hall. I
think what must have happened is Tony Fama intercepted it but then could
not deal with it because it is really heavy and it would seem it would
need a team of ox to do anything about. I recommend it just sit there
for a while. But what I am trying to tell you here is that it is a
multiple person job moving this huge box anywhere. But I like having it
around because it makes me think of you. But it is the kind of thing
that if Mom saw this, she’d shit. Dad, I love you. Son

My Dad’s response

Dear Laszlo,

I swear, your Mom gave her blessings to this. If the shredder can fit
into my 5th floor study, near the wooden ladder that goes to the roof,
then we have a plan. That’s what I pitched to your Mom, and she liked the

My Brother’s response

OK Dad this sounds good.

But what I am saying is this thing seems like
really heavy. So, I am thinking that it might be a good idea for you and
mom to lovingly look at it. What happens if it doesn’t fit? Then one
just has a huge shredder that has been opened and doesn’t fit anywhere.
Can I just propose that the thing sit around until there is a plan? I
just don’t want to have that much to do with it but I assure you that I
pat the huge box lovingly each time I walk past it. Dad, I am cc-ing

My Dad’s Response

Dearest Laszlo and hi to your Mom
Actually, our dear Niloo did some very good detective work on the size of
the li’l critter.
Actually, I shouldn’t call it “li’l”, but it’s still supposed to fit
upstairs. It’s just the box that makes
it seem so monstrously big. See what I mean?
But you should not have anything to do with it. Tony will I’m sure hire
some guys to carry the critter upstairs.
And just think of all the fun I will have shredding so much junk.
Lots and lots of shredded paper will go to the trash.
I can hardly wait.

My Brother’s response

Dear Dad,
Please know that I would walk through Hades with you to make sure this
shredder finds a home in 8* Revere Street. I was just worried that it
would not fit anywhere. But if you grant me your assurance that this
device will in fact fit, I am happy just to think of many happy hours to
come of you shredding things. I love you so much and I am sorry if I
caused undue alarm with respect the dimensions of the device.

My Dad’s response

Dearest Laszlo,
I found your concern very legitimate and very endearing. I love you for
But I’m betting that Mr. Shredder is smaller than it pretends to be
inside that gigantic box.
Here’s hoping… I can hardly wait to start shredding thousands and
thousands of old bills and bank statements and other
such dreary things. And you can join the fun. Ha ha.

Now it is around here where it’s discovered via phone that my brother was correct in his assumption, and the shredder really IS to big for Tony Farma to bring up. It was then decided that the shredder shall be returned.

Email title: Let us all meet the shredder before turning it into an orphan …
Author: My brother

Dear Mom, Dad, and Toni

I write you all now in haste before logging on to the internet about the
shredder. Briefly, I believe there is a false choice before us : either
the shredder go up to dad’s study, or it leave this house. I would lke
to present the argument here for its remaining on this floor (the dining
room floor).

The dining room although lovely from the point of view of functionality
is a mail sorting area. As our lives continue to grow more complicated,
there is the risk of masses of paper being sent to us in need of proper

Although the shredder is large, it is quite elegant and I believe it can
be beautified. I of course don’t want to argue to vigorously for this
aesthetic judgment because I know none of you have seen this 250 pound
machine, but I think there is actual room for it in the dining room
where it can fit the overal gestalt of the dining room. The dining room
is a gestalt dining room. In reality, it serves as a mail sorting area,
and so what is needed in my opinion to complete this gestalt is this
particular shredder.

As things stand now, it exists packed back up by Tony Fama. I propose it
remain that way before becoming an orphan because I have faith in it as
both an object of beauty and also as a steady work horse. My basic
request then is that you all meet the shredder before turning it into an
orphan. I love you all. Son/Bro

My Mother’s response:

No fucking way!!!!

Email title: Dad raises a White Flag about the Mega Shredder
Author: My dad

Dear Laszlo and hi to all,
You are very noble about the Mega, but I talked to Mom and she has convinced me that it must go.
My fault, for being so greedy. Remember, it needs to shred only things that could be victims of identity theft.
Everything else can be thrown out unshredded.
Contritely yours,

My brother’s response

Dear Dad,

I will respect this, but please allow me a modicum of post partem
depression, as I was ready and keen on having the shredder become part
of our family. I love you. Son

My dad’s response

Dear Laszlo,
I love the sentiment, but it can’t live in the dining room. That would be anathema to your Mom and even to me.
The li’l critter has to go.
But I’m very touched that you care.

Response from my brother

One last plea to keep the shredder …

Here is my brother and the shredder… still in the box. Photo credit: Tony Farma


6 Responses to Why I am The Way I am : The Shredder Saga

  1. Laszlo Nagy says:

    This is a classic case of a specific operation developing its own appetites. The initial operation was a covert one. Dad had not discussed the matter with Mom. He was basically using Niloo and Tony (TonY not TonI) as agents and I was not consulted. Had the operation gone according to plan, I’d be ignorant of there even being a shredder in this house. But what is odd is the inverse relationship of Dad’s decoupling himself from the cause of the Shredder and my coupling myself to this cause. As it stands now, as a cause, the Cause of the Shredder truly is now one for the history book. But given that this is all recent history, I am grateful to you for recording it in all of its complexity. Basically, it would appear that one can commute but OCD as well as Obsession. And your readership should know that it was you and you alone that caused me to decouple myself from the Cause of the Shredder. // All these things said, I can’t retire these remarks without saying in closing that if for any reason you can convince our parents of the aesthetic merits of the machine, I’d be grateful to you, but I quite obviously myself will no longer press this as a cause.

  2. Olga Davidson says:

    I sigh. I sigh again. And again and again.

  3. Teneisha says:

    This is hilarious.

  4. Janet Ozsolak says:

    I knew Laszlo’s picture with the box would inspire you to write! Great blog!

  5. Greg Nagy says:

    I swear, I only wanted the li’l critter for shredding bank statements and credit card info. and awful things like that. I can toss everything else unshredded.
    It ***seemed***like such a good idea.
    I’m very contrite.
    I loved all the correspondences, though.

  6. The way people can’t let go of what doesn’t serve them until they find out WHY they have these compulsions, I agree with that. The issue isn’t resolved until you can figure out what went on before.

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