Traveling Light

The man hurrying through an airport was worried about missing his plane. He didn't have a wristwatch and couldn't spot a clock. So he walked up to a total stranger and said, "Excuse me, sir. Could you give me the correct time, please?"

The stranger smiled and said, "Sure thing!" He set down two large, heavy suitaces he was carrying and looked at his watch.

"It's precisely 5:09 p.m., the outside temperature is 93 degrees Fahrenheit or 33.8 Celsius, and the barometer is falling so rapidly that it is surely going to rain tonight," he said. "In London, the sky is overcast and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, 17.7 Celsius. In Nairobi, it is clear and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, 22.2 Celsius. By the way, the moon will be full here in Dallas tonight, and . . ."

The man interrupted and said, "Your watch tells you all that?"

"Oh, yes," he said, "and much more as well. I invented this watch myself, you see, and there is no other like it in all the world."

No longer worried about his plane, the man who had started the conversation said, "I'd like to buy that watch! I'll give you a thousand dollars."

"Oh, no," said the man with the wonderful watch. "I'm afraid it's not for sale." And he reached for his suitcases to leave.

"Wait," said the man. "I'll give you $5,000 in cash for that watch."

"No, I couldn't do that," came the reply. "I invented this for my son and plan to give it to him when he graduates from Georgia Tech."

"I understand," said the persistent would-be buyer, "but I'll pay you $10,000! I've got the money on me, and it's all yours for that watch."

"Umm," the stranger paused. "Did you say $10,000? All right, it's a deal!"

Delighted beyond words, the man counted out the money as a crowd gathered around. He took the watch, put it on his wrist, and shook hands with the stranger. "Thanks," he said, as he turned to leave.

"Hold on!" Said the stranger, handing the man with the watch his two heavy suitcases. "You were about to leave without the batteries."

Our conspicuous materialism makes some of us want everything we see. But there is an oppressive heaviness that can be avoided by traveling light.

Rubel Shelly The FAX of Life

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