The Butter Knife

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My mother and I -- weary with travel, drained from a day of sightseeing, and armed with only a butter knife -- once dismantled a bathroom door in a Paris apartment. We were exhausted, having, in true Schultz family vacation style, walked about 10 miles through France's great metropolis. As we marched up the six flights of stairs at 11:00 pm to reach our rented apartment, I though back to the cool white marble of our bathroom at home, longing for a hot shower to rest my weary bones and revive my poor feet. The wind, however, had other plans. You see, we innocent Americans had left the front window open in the hope of introducing a slight breeze to our non-air-conditioned apartment. This open window reacted with the other window in the bathroom, generating a cross breeze that somehow managed to close and lock the bathroom door. We walked in, at first blissfully unaware of our dilemma, then shocked and frightened to find the locked door.

My first thought was irrational, fearful: "There is a robber in the bathroom!" My second, equally irrational, was spurred by the recent black belt that I had earned in martial arts: "Clearly I must kick down the door!" Suddenly, our plan to live on our own like real Parisians instead of staying in...

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