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Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Did you ever accidentally throw out a box or a container only to realize later that there was something inside it you really needed? You felt like an idiot, didn’t you? And if you’re anything like me, you probably stayed ticked off at yourself for weeks afterward.

Imagine then how Annat, a woman from Tel Aviv, Israel, must feel. Just the other day Annat, who refused to give her last name lest people realize how royally she’d screwed up, bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise gift. The new bed was to replace the tattered old mattress her mother had slept on for years, which Annat then dutifully dragged outside to be taken away with the rest of the trash.

It was a nice gesture, but there was just one problem: The old mattress contained nearly $1 million in Israeli shekels and U.S. dollars that Annat’s mother had been stuffing inside it for decades. When the old lady realized what her daughter had done, Annat ran outside to try to find the mattress, but it had already been carted away.

So then Annat did exactly what she should never have done in her situation and alerted the two major dump sites in Tel Aviv, thinking they could help her locate the missing bed. Unsurprisingly, neither dump had any information about it, although Yitchak Burba, a manager at one of the sites, told Israeli Army Radio that he and his men were working relentlessly to try to find the mattress and reunite it with its owner.

Yeah, right. I’m sure that if some guy working at a dump found a million bucks stuffed in a mattress, the first thing he would do would be to track down the person who threw it out. I know that’s what I’d do. There’s absolutely no chance that I would take the money and then burn the mattress to get rid of the evidence. In fact, it bothers me to think that there are some people who might do something like that.

Annat’s next mistake was to tell Israeli Army Radio about her dilemma, an announcement that has apparently sent waves of people into the city landfills in search of the mattress. Security around the sites has been increased, according to Burba, but as dumps aren’t generally the sort of places that need to be kept extra secure, I imagine there are plenty of people getting in.

This, of course, creates a rare opportunity for Palestinian militants, who can now aim their rockets away from such well-protected targets as military bases and ammunition depots and instead point them at garbage dumps, which typically don’t have much in the way of defenses. Don’t be surprised if you see the following headline some time in the next week: “Hamas missiles strike Tel Aviv landfill, killing hundreds.”

Conveniently glossed over in the story of the missing mattress, however, has been one important nugget of information: How in the world did Annat’s mother acquire so much money in the first place? It seems the old lady would rather not say, which obviously can only mean something untoward. In general, people who make their money legally aren’t afraid to tell others where it came from.

I’m not saying the old biddy was the world’s oldest prostitute or was selling drugs or anything. I’m just saying that she refused to discuss some important details relating to the case. You can take that to mean whatever you want.

Despite losing her entire life’s savings, Annat’s mother was taking the situation quite well, telling her grief-stricken daughter, “The heart is crying, but you know we could have been in a car accident or had a terminal disease.” No word on whether the old lady said it wistfully, as if she wished one of those things had happened before her daughter bought her the new mattress.

I suppose, though, that it’s not too hard for Annat’s mother to be philosophical about her loss. After all, if she’s an elderly lady and hasn’t done anything with the money yet, chances are she was saving it for her daughter. Well, Annat, guess who’s going to be inheriting a bunch of kugel recipes now instead of a mattress stuffed with cash?

As for the mattress itself, only time will tell if it ever gets recovered, but I wouldn’t count on it. If it hasn’t already been found and pilfered of its loot, which I’m sure it has, it will likely be destroyed in the next Palestinian rocket attack anyway.


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