Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A guiding light inside a box of sunglasses from Taiwan

Joel Shupack
The mysterious poem from Taiwan.

This story originally aired on June 9, 2018.

When Sound Effect contributor Joel Shupack was just out of high school he was working a boring, tedious warehouse job in Bend, Oregon.

“My job,” recalls Joel, “was to open boxes full of sunglasses, take them all out and put each pair into a separate box. They would be mailed out to all of the dupes who signed up for a sunglasses-of-the-month club.”

It was one of those companies that would mail out leaflets advertising “FREE SUNGLASSES! $40 Value!”.  An asterisk would direct you to the fact that you only had to pay shipping and handling, a mere $19.95.

“I was the handling,” says Joel.

One day, while unpacking sunglasses that were shipped from Taiwan, Joel found a poem on the inside of a thin cardboard box. It was written by hand in black pen. This little bit of foreign text broke Joel out of his dull routine and became a sort of guiding light that he’s held onto ever since, even though the poem didn't turn out to be exactly what he thought.