“Fabersham is a thief.”
The open bay berthing compartment erupted in laughter. Fabersham was our golden boy, surely destined to become a great military leader in the years to come. The joke had been repeated all day long, but it was still funny to everyone in the room. Except maybe Fabersham.
It all started when another Marine lost his toothbrush earlier that morning. “What @#%&* stole my $#@&* toothbrush?” The fellow who lost the toothbrush wasn’t exactly a patient man, so one of our group quickly threw out a name. Fabersham. The idea was so absurd and unexpected that the mood lightened instantly and the issue was forgotten.
But not the joke.
For months afterwards Fabersham was harassed with thief jokes. He took it in good humor, although it must have been pretty annoying.
Then one day I was called in to the XO’s office. “Jeff, the Major had his leather coat stolen. We think Fabersham did it.”
I was horrified. Our little joke had gone too far. “XO, there is NO WAY Fabersham stole that coat. It was all a joke. I would stake my life on Fabersham’s integrity.”
I went back to my buddies and said the “Fabersham is a thief” jibes had to end. Our humor had made it all the way to the top, and we had soiled the reputation of one of our best and brightest.
The next day the police searched Fabersham’s home and found thousands of dollars worth of stolen material from all over town, including the Major’s coat.
So it just goes to show you, you can’t judge a book by its cover. It also makes you wonder about the power of suggestion. Had we actually turned him into a thief, or had he given off some kind of invisible vibe that we picked up without realizing it? Or was it all just a weird confluence of circumstances?
It’s hard to say. But I better figure it out soon, because for the life of me I can’t find my toothbrush.