There’s hope for the mainstream media yet. Old and stodgy they may be, but when Time publishes a story about a combat soldier who carries his wife’s panties in harm’s way as a good luck talisman, it’s refreshing. Better yet, they report it deadpan, with nary a hint of puritanical eyebrow raising nor distancing jocularity:

Corporal Michael Compton carries a plastic bag containing a pair of his wife’s underwear. She gave it to him before his first deployment to Iraq, when they were still dating. “She said that she would stick by me,” he says.

But on a patrol outside Fallujah, the bag fell out of his pocket and blew away. “I thought it was long gone,” he says. A week later, while “out in the middle of nowhere,” he noticed a plastic bag and picked it up. The underwear was inside.

“I couldn’t believe it. I guess it was a sign because, sure enough, when I got back, me and my wife got married. I deployed again to Iraq, and I figured I should bring it with me. After all, if it found its way back to me, maybe it could guide me back to her.”

What makes this all the more fun is the photo, which is, sadly, buried in a horrid Flash-y slide show that makes the specific photo unlinkable harder to link. (I said there was hope for old media, not that they actually and currently have two clues to rub together when it comes to putting stuff on the web.) The photo shows the soldier, his plastic baggy, and what looks like a very insubstantial bit of fine feminine frippery inside. Her granny panties, these were not!

Thanks to Pursed Lips for the link. Updated: And thanks to Olav for rooting out the direct link to the photo.