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Karl the Curmudgeon and the Time Capsule

"Hey, Kid. Did you hear about this time capsule they opened up in Boston?"

I heard something about it on the news, I said. Something a couple of the founding fathers hid away to keep the law off their tail, or something like that?

"No, not at all. This was a real historical find."

Look, just because someone stuck a box in a closet 200 years ago doesn't mean it's historical. It just means they didn't do a good job of cleaning up.

We were sitting in The Tilted Windmill, our favorite Dutch bar, watching the Dutch national speed skating championships. I waved at Nicky the bartender for a couple more beers. He brought them over, and set them down. This round's on him, I said, pointing at my friend.

"This isn't any old time capsule, Kid," Karl looked around to see who might be listening, and then leaned in closer. "It's Paul Revere and Sam Adams' time capsule from 1795. It was buried in a cornerstone of an old building, and they recently opened it."

So? I asked. It's not a secret, and it still doesn't sound interesting.

"But think of the history!" he said. "They found some coins, some old newspapers, and a silver plate made by Revere himself. Isn't that cool? Actual objects handled by Revere and Adams. What did you think they would find?"

Mrs. Adams.

"Classy. Don't you care about history at all?"


Sort of, I said. I just don't see what the big deal was. It's not like they buried a secret treasure map. We already know all the cool stuff there is to know about those guys. It's in museums and history books. These guys have been studied and examined so much, the experts know more about them than their own mothers.

"I'm going to be opening a time capsule in May," said Karl, ignoring my cynicism. "I'm a little worried about it." He rubbed his face with his hands. "When I was 16, in 1965, they buried a time capsule at my high school, and several of us students put some items in it — school books, records, the school paper — to show people of the future what our lives were like."

We know what life was like back then. We can see it on TV and in used trinket stores. Hell, there's people like you to tell us about it. What's to worry about?

"That's not it," said Karl. "I'm worried about what else they'll find." He took another drink of his beer, and plonked it half-heartedly on the bar. This was serious.

"As one of their most famous graduates, they want me to be on hand to emcee the event and explain to the students and their parents what's in there. There's going to be a whole big ceremony in the auditorium and everything."

That's great. Congratulations. I'll bet you never expected that.

"No, I never did. I never thought this day would even come. Which is why, after we buried the time capsule, some of my buddies and I dug it back up, and dropped in an extra item."

Uh-oh. I don't like where this is going. What did you put in there?

"A pair of my underwear." I nearly did a spit-take with my beer.

Well, aren't you the rebellious one, I said.

"Give me a break, Kid. It was 1965, and I was 16. We were naive back then. Our idea of hijinks was filling up McDonald's after a football game and not ordering anything."

You mean when you weren't busy playing with your Flash Gordon radio decoder ring.

"Shut up."

So what are you going to do? I asked. You'll have a lot of explaining to do when they open the box, and there's a pair of tidy-whiteys in there.

"It gets worse. My mom had sewn my name in them. What am I going to do, Kid? They're right there on top of everything else."

If it were me, I'd announce my candidacy for office right then and there, and use their little discovery as my slogan.

"Seriously."

BVD. Better Vote Deckers.

"Come on!"

Just remember to keep your speech brief. Try not to lingerie too long.

"I'm serious!"

Of corset you are. I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

"You're not helping."

Perhapth you could even thing a thong.

"That's it, I'm leaving." He drained his beer and walked toward the door.

Karl, you're just not thinking outside the boxers.

Karl shouted something unintelligible and probably vulgar, and slammed the door. I wiped my eyes and saw Nicky holding the bill.

He said, "You should have given him some more support."

Nobody likes a smartass, Nicky.



Photo credit: MoveTheClouds (Flickr, Creative Commons)

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