As we near the end of our second semester this year at Goshen College, my sentimental side has kicked in even more than usual. I’ve begun to look back on my college “life,” such as it has been.As a junior, I have the benefit of looking back on a substantial quantity of experiences here without the terrifying spectre of graduation (and direct contact with the rest of the universe) looming before me.
All things considered, this article should have sprung from an inexhaustible supply of stories and humorous insight. But surprisingly, I had some difficulty thinking of a suitable topic to help close out the funnies page for the 2013-14 school year. That is, until I recalled the basketnapping incident.
I was young; a lowly fresh… year. It was February, and I began to assume I had some street smarts when it came to college life. I could spice up dull fries at any meal by microwaving a layer of salad bar cheese over them. I knew who to go to if I needed a bike. I was on a first name basis with some of my professors. I even could find my way to the college cabin unassisted. I was, as they say, a “pro.” Or as I like to call myself, a “professional.”
But there was one area in which I truly excelled: laundry.
Nothing can quite drive a college student to ingenuity like the threat of a petty expenditure—recall that these were the days of pay laundry. I can’t say I was ingenious with my laundry habits; I simply went to the extreme. The sheer volume of laundry that could be forced into one of those abused beige washing machines was truly astounding. With this simple fact, I was able to forgo my laundry for extended periods of time, often packing no clothes on my homebound trips save those in my laundry basket.
My technique was simple. I would tote my laundry and detergent to the machines, cram masses of clothes into one or two in the back, swing my laundry basket (more of a “bag-and-stand” affair, really) atop the dryers, and leave, attempting to whistle a jaunty tune.
Yet, a fateful day arrived when my careful planning went awry. On this day in late February, I discovered my precious laundry basket—my faithful companion through many years, and a decrepit old thing, to boot—had been taken from me.
I returned to my dorm empty-handed; how could I possibly transport such monstrous quantities of clothing without my laundry basket?
The next morning I awoke to find I was out of socks. I dutifully trudged down to the laundry room and extracted a now freezing pair. For several days, perhaps a week, my laundry remained in the dryer until an exasperated friend finally loaned me something to take it all back to my room in.
Eventually (and only once I’d gotten a replacement) my laundry basket was returned unannounced and anonymously to the laundry room.
I will likely never know the identity of the individual who absconded with my basket. My heart tells me they were from Yoder, but who can say?
This story, of course, is not without purpose (as most of my stories are). I seek to leave some parting words. I won’t likely be writing again for The Record until spring of next year, and many fine friends of mine will not be around to witness those times. No, they’re not dying—unless that’s a euphemism for graduating.
At any rate, take this tale to heart and out into the world, all you seniors. It embodies the advice that has long been given me: “Trust no one.”