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The Engineer

London’s Heathrow Airport

Two days before Christmas, Jim was flying from London’s Heathrow Airport to Washington, DC, to visit his wife, who worked in the United States. He arrived at Heathrow to find the entire terminal decked in green and red, complete with tacky elves, Santas, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees wherever he looked. Meanwhile, between announcements of flight delays and cancellations, the loudspeakers blared out tinny renditions of Christmas carols.

As he checked-in his luggage, having queued for the best part of an hour, Jim noticed a sprig of cheap plastic mistletoe hanging over the conveyor belt. By now he had endured enough of the Heathrow experience and needed someone on whom to vent his frustration, so he said to the woman at the check-in desk: “I’m sorry, madam, but even if I were not married, I would not want to kiss you under such a ghastly mockery of mistletoe.”

“Sir,” she replied. “Look more closely at where the mistletoe is located.” “Okay,” he said, “I can see that it’s above the conveyor belt, which is where you’d have to step forward for a kiss.” “But that’s not why it’s there,” she said. “It’s there so that you can kiss your luggage goodbye.”


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