The Box

Several years ago, Chris, our soon to be in son-in-law (at that time), was quietly amused by many of the things that he witnessed in our home. A prime source for his merriment was our flexible usage of the word “box.” In our vernacular, box can be virtually any device that is electronic in nature:

  • The answering machine was the box.
  • The garage door opener was the box.
  • The VCR was the box.
  • The DVD player was the box.
  • The DVR (digital video recorder) was the box.
  • Each of our 5 remotes was the box.  (We needed all 5, because the universal remote was actually only semi-universal.)

I want to give full and deserving credit to my wife for initiating and propagating this simple, yet curious naming custom. Yet, to be sure, I had easily and unknowingly adopted her minimalist identification convention. Strangely, there was seldom any confusion as to which particular box is being referenced at a given time or situation.

Sometimes, my bride was able to skillfully use “the box” twice in the same sentence, but referencing two different entities, as in:

“I need the box (universal remote) if I am to turn on the box (DVR).”

Yet with all of our boxes, we seem to get along just fine—and give Chris a reason to smile.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!