Funniest Thing for February


Tell ITN about the funniest thing that ever happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. There are no restrictions on length. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.) The ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.

This month’s winner is LES LENZ-NER of Poway, CA:

After the selections have been made by buyers at the wholesale produce market in Palermo, Sicily, porters pick them up on heavy steel carts with large, rubber-tired wheels. At 6 o’clock one morning, one of those loaded carts ran up the back of my leg. My leg began to swell alarmingly and the pain increased. By 8 o’clock I was unable to get out of our touring van, and at 9 our tour guide took me to the hospital.

At that hour, it took some time to round up an x-ray technician, so, sitting in a wheelchair with my leg outstretched, I waited in a darkened corridor with an English-speaking orderly.

After about 20 minutes we were approached by an impressive man of mature years. He had gray-black hair carefully barbered and was wearing an intarsia-knit sweater over a silk shirt, with gray flannel slacks, handsome soft-leather Italian loafers, a serious gold ring and a wristwatch.

He asked the orderly some questions, bent over my foot, which he probed gently, and put me through a series of foot and ankle movements. He then nodded gravely, said something to the orderly and walked off into the gloom.

The orderly said, “He says that it will take a long time to heal, but then you will be all right.”

Feeling much better, I asked, “Is he a doctor or an administrator?”

The orderly said, “Oh, no. He’s the janitor.”