Another Classic Blog Entry "The Mystery of the Appearing Water Bottles"
Too good to not to repeat: from November 3, 2005
I always wanted one of those fancy Nalgene bottles, but they charge an arm and leg for them. So it was incredibly good fortune when I was teaching in 133 Tate Lab in Fall '04 and a student in the class the night before left one there. The lesson we learned in grade school still applies as adults: finder—keepers; losers—weepers. I don't know if the poor sap who left her/his bottle was weeping, but I was keeping. I took it home, swirled bleach around in it, and boiled it for two hours to get rid of any residual germs and bad karma. Then, I put it in the dishwasher for good measure. Unfortunately, I put it on the bottom shelf, and during the heated dry cycle, the cap melted slightly—so much for taking it on my trip to Mount Everest. Still, who am I to complain? I didn't pay a red cent for the thing. For over a year, it served me well. Then, earlier this week, I noticed it had gone missing. Meh. Another grade school lesson: easy come, easy go. Of course, I wasn't about to go out and spend my money on one of those things. If there's one thing I learned from my dad (other than how to conduct DNA electrophoresis for various high school science projects examining the influence of household chemicals on DNA) it's that a real man is cheap, cheap, cheap. I'm nothing if not a real man. Whether I'm stocking up on Splenda brand sweetener at my local Starbucks brand coffee café or stocking up on dollars pilfered from purses in the coat room at a dinner party, I know that a real man saves money like it was 1933 all over again. Of course, I mentioned to my classes that the bottle had gone missing, in the hopes that it would show up. Another swirl of bleach, another boiling, and the thing would be as good as nearly new once again. Who am I to turn up my nose?
Then, on November 2, 2004, a University of Minnesota Nalgene bottle, puce colored, shows up in my mailbox in the department, with only a mysterious note attached:
Ben Munson's New (never-been-used-by-another-person) Water Bottle (Use it in Good Health).
A free Nalgene bottle? What is this, Christmas and my birthday combined? I was suspicious. I took it home, swirled it out with bleach, boiled it for 2 hours (actually, more like 1 hour 15 minutes), then filled it the cap with water and let my cat drink out of it. She didn't die, so I figured it was OK. Then I cleaned it again—cat germs, you know—and brought it to school today, 11/3/05. Well, I made a big deal out of it in the morning phonetics course. Then, about 2 hours later, BAM, -> ANOTHER <- water bottle shows up in my box with the same message. I'm running out of bleach here, guys!
I haven't been this flummoxed since the whole canolli fracas back in '03.
Who are the suspects? I think they know who they are. Let's call one of them "Ms. H from Bloomington." Another could be referred to as "the former Miss Munson, currently of Afton." "Poëlle Nadgitt" is the code name of another likely suspect. Also there are two guys in phonetics—I think their names are both James—who seemed veeery interested in the whole business. They're on the list FOR SURE. The font in the first note was Comic Sans, a favorite font of Dr. Peggy Nelson.
There is a reward for any information that leads to the definitive identification of the perpetrators. The reward is a couple of singles and a bunch of packets of Splenda. I can spare them.