See, now you've upset me

On a warm day last August, Harvey Bennett dropped five lightweight plastic bottles into Long Island Sound, off Napeague, N.Y., watching as they drifted out of sight on the waves. Inside each, he'd placed a note - just as many of us did in our youth - asking the finders to let him know where they were at the time. Earlier this month, a letter arrived in the mail from a Bournemouth, England, resident. But as he read it, Bennett's excitement quickly turned to - well - something less. "I recently found your bottle while taking a scenic walk on the beach by Poole Harbour," the letter said. "While you may consider this some profound experiment on the path and speed of oceanic currents, I have another name for it - litter." It added: "If you wish to foul your own nest, all well and good. But please refrain in future from fouling mine." Sighed Bennett, "I kind of felt like no good deed goes unpunished." But the story doesn't end there. A few days later, The Telegraph (London) apologized for its countryman. Calling the finder "humorless" and "pompous," it wrote: "Mr. Bennett must be assured that not all Brits are like that. Most of us understand the distinction between litter and international communication."

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