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Consider This, Fred Fiske: Towels

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Now, I've known for some time that the gods have a sense of humor, and to be fair, sometimes I've even laughed with them. But frankly, I'm a little wary of being the butt of their jokes.

When we were driving down to Key West, chatting and rejoicing that we had an open road, noting that while there was lots of traffic in the northbound lane, there was none in ours. It wasn't our fault that we couldn't get any news on the radio. It wasn't our fault that the only station we could get on that lousy car radio in Haiti was in French. So how were we to know they were evacuating Key West and that we couldn't check into our hotel?

We were good sports, and we laughed with the gods. And we - well, I - laughed with the gods, when my wife got stuck in the car trunk, retrieving cantaloupes and couldn't get out. You should have seen the expression on her face when I suggested driving to the fire station. Well, that was really funny. And again, I was a good sport.

But, let me ask you. What was funny about what just happened to me at the beach? I had just come in from the ocean, hung my towel and fresh clothes on a hook, and was showering off in the locker room when I saw a kid about 10 years old or so, walking away with my towel.

I shouted to him to stop, but he ignored me and I certainly couldn't run after him naked. And if I had taken the time to put my suit back on, he would have been long gone anyway. So, I came back into the apartment dripping wet, on hardwood floors no less, shouted for my wife to bring me a towel, and I dried off upstairs. What else could I do? But I was pretty peeved about losing the towel.

Well, two days later I figured my moment of vindication had come. There I was in the locker, getting dressed, when the kid came in, and he was carrying my towel. I went to him and said politely that he must have made a mistake the other day when he took my towel. I told him I was pleased that he was retuning it. And I took it out of his arms and returned triumphantly to our apartment. I handed it to my wife, announcing that I'd found the kid and that he had the towel, and that I had retrieved it.

Well, she looked at the towel, read the label and then started laughing. Did you recognize the kid, she asked. Well, I think it was the same kid. I recognized the towel. No, she said. That was not our towel. And she started laughing again. Imagine what that kid is going to tell his mother when she asks him where the towel is. Some crazy old, white-haired man grabbed it from me and said thank you. And what I do know for sure, the gods were laughing again and dammit, my wife was laughing with them.

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