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Taking them to the toaster 0

Yo Shaw,

My clothes stink and, frankly speaking, have been for years. Not all of them, of course, but enough of them and, the thing is 1) they’ve reached the limit 2) Francesca agrees and 3) that settles it.

You’re probably wondering, “Why not wash them? Wouldn’t that solve your problem?” Simply said, “No, it wouldn’t” because these particular clothes must be dry-cleaned and, being in Italy, taking clothes to the dry cleaner is like taking them to the toaster. So far any clothes I’ve taken to a professional “cleaner” have come back either a) unclean, b) stained, c) bleached, or d) all of the above. So I prefer to stink.

Of course, from a distance of three feet people may not smell me, but that’s an assumption because I have a pathetic sense of smell. In fact, I can’t smell a stink unless its origin is inches from my nostrils. But I’ve known people with powerful senses of smell. Whatever it may be, lemon rinds, a stick of incense, an acorn, they smell it from considerable distances.

Many years ago I was in the kitchen talking with Natasha. She was seated at the dinner table, about ten feet away from where I was leaning against the refrigerator. At some point during our conversation, she sniffed the air and asked, “Are you wearing silk?” I just about choked on the gob of saliva in my throat. First of all, I had no idea what any of my clothes were made of, and secondly, I had no idea what silk smelled like (and still don’t). Natasha walked over, pulled up the tag inside the collar of my shirt and read, “100% silk.” For that reason, I’m hyper-self-conscious about sitting too near students when it’s summer and I’ve been running around Rome all day.

“What’s wrong with Italian dry-cleaners?” you may be wondering. I can sum that up with a story my co-worker and friend told me about his favorite sweater, which he dropped off at the dry-cleaners, saying, “Please be extra careful with this. It’s my favorite sweater and the staple of my attire.” It was white when he left it and gray when he picked it up. Enough said.

Once, after several tragic experiences with various dry-cleaners, I let Francesca take one of my favorite (there’s that word again) pairs of pants to the dry-cleaners at her job, a special service offered to their employees. At the time, hers was the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world. One would have thought they knew which dry-cleaner to hire, right? Wrong. A spot of olive oil needed to be removed from the crotch of my pants and, well, it was removed… along with the rest of the fabric.

Anyway, Shaw, my clothes stink and now Francesca insists on washing all my shirts and pants. Oh well, whatever. I should just let her, right? Right?

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