Look at that. It was once a book. It came in a Christmas package today sent by some dear friends in the Netherlands. The package looked perfectly fine from the outside, but when we opened it, all four of the books in the package had been completely destroyed — apparently chewed up by a machine in the delivery process. No idea whether this happened in the Netherlands or in the US, and no explanation from the postal service(s) as to why all the books in the box were chewed to bits. Happily, the two Christmas ornaments and the stroopwaffels made it through intact.

I’ve never seen anything like this. I feel so bad for our pals. These books weren’t cheap, and according to the form on the outside of the box, they paid something like $50 to mail them. They were good books, too. What on earth do you suppose happened to these books in transit? Perhaps the box came open, the books fell out and got caught in machinery, and the postal service repackaged the remains and sent them on their way?

I’m trying to figure out if this is merely a shame, or also kind of an outrage. Not that it much matters; one way or another, the gifts are destroyed.