While we appreciate the occasional excitement of discovering some unusual type of book damage, we also really enjoy an unexpectedly happy ending.

Dorian from ILL brought us this package, which had just arrived in the mail.  At first glance, the mailing envelope seemed to be soaking wet, and we immediately worried that its contents would be infested with mold.  However, closer examination revealed that the envelope was actually saturated with some sort of oil or other clear, greasy substance.  Just holding the envelope left an oily residue on my nitrile gloves.

Usually, the Post Office attaches a note of explanation when a package is damaged in transit.  However, no note accompanied this item, and we have no idea what mishap befell it on its way to us.

With the package under the fume hood (just in case!), I used a scalpel to slit the envelope open at one end.  Luckily, the envelope was lined with bubble-wrap, which had prevented the oily substance saturating the paper exterior from penetrating to the envelope’s contents.  The book inside was in perfectly normal condition.  We gladly returned the book to Dorian, discarded the envelope, and proceeded with our regular workflow, reveling in such an easy, happy ending.