Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mister Mister

There were two men in my teens that were instrumental in making me who I am today. Depending on what you think of me as a person, you can either credit them or blame them for that. (The Wife chooses to blame them, if that gives you any indication as to her thoughts on the matter.) No, I’m not referring to my dad, an influential teacher, coach, pastor or even an athlete. Those are all obvious choices, but failed to have the impact of these two gentlemen that, honestly, I don’t know a lot about.

Not Mr. Jones
The first I simply knew as Mr. Jones. He was a bit older than me. We didn’t do a lot together as he was usually did find time to talk to me, we’d end up telling each other fairy tales about this or that. Often they’d devolve into dreams of being famous and looking at the moving picture box in hopes that’d we’d see ourselves looking back at us.

I’m not sure what happened to Mr. Jones. We lost touch in the mid-90s and I haven’t heard from him sense. I assume he eventually found that beautiful woman he was always staring at. Of course, it’s possible he got eaten by a lion as he was trying to pass as a cat. Either way, the man had a profound impact on my life despite the fact neither of us ended up as big stars.

Mr. Wendal
The other was a man known to me as Mr. Wendal. I honestly couldn’t tell you if Mr. Wendal was his first or last name. He was simply known to everyone he met as Mr. Wendal. I’d dare say he might be like Sting or Bono and only have one name. Anyway, Mr. Wendal could be considered the crazy guy like the ones with the sandwich boards proclaiming “The End is Near” with his talk warning us about our ways. A lot of people didn’t bother to get to know him, which was their loss. I’d buy him lunch and he’d drop knowledge on me like Randy Jackson drop names on American Idol.

I don’t know what happened to Mr. Wendal either. I got busy and our weekly meetings seemed to end. Sadly, Mitch Albom stole my idea and met with some guy named Morrie on a weekly basis and turned it into a best-selling book.  Maybe he and Mr. Jones met and became famous, but nationally or internationally, but that seems unlikely as I haven’t heard of them as a duo and a Google search for the two together turns up nothing. So I guess it’s safe to say they’ve both faded into obscurity.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Unlike U2, I found what I was looking for

What a long, strange trip it’s been
Do good things,
good things happen

One of my favorite episodes of My Name is Earl relays the story of how he won $100,000 in a scratch off lotto ticket and in his excitement and zeal, runs into the street where he is hit by a car resulting in the ticket embarking on a journey through the fictional town of Camden. Willie the one-eyed mailman could have gotten the ticket if he had better depth perception. Joy, Earl’s ex-wife, could have had it if she hadn’t been so busy stealing a movie from the video store return box (I’m not sure Problem Child 2 was ever worth the $3.50 rental price it cost in Camden.) Didi, the one-legged woman almost got it, but instead the wind blew the ticket right past a triple-amputee and she ignored the ticket to fall in love. Eventually, the wind blew it back to Earl’s hotel where he found it while he was taking trash to the dumpster.

I like to think that’s similar to the journey my iPod took over the past few days. It started last Sunday when I took it with us on a drive to show a friend of ours around Wilmington. Normally, I don’t take it in the car unless I’m going to or from preschool to pick up Mini-Me. But he’d just woken up from a nap and is usually cranky, so I figured some Raffi and some Wheels on the Bus would make the little excursion a little more bearable for him.

Fortunately for us, it did (though unfortunately, the strawberry farm we were going to pick strawberries at was closed due to massive crowds the day before.) So after a tour of Wilmington and of the campus The Wife works at, we made our way back to our apartment. I left my iPod in the car and we apparently left the car unlocked. It wasn’t something I typically did, but it wasn’t all that uncommon either. On that Monday, our friend leaves and a few minutes later, I went to my car to get my iPod to download the latest Fantasy Focus podcast. (yes, really) Once I opened the door, I noticed something wasn’t right. First, our GPS was missing. Second, there was some loose change strewn about. I called The Wife to ask if she took our GPS for some reason. She didn’t. So next I went back to get my iPod only to find it, too, was no longer there.

I called the police, not expecting anything more than the police to take a report and use the incident as one of the thousands they receive each year to set patrol patterns. But as the officer who took the report was getting ready to leave, she said to expect a call from a WPD detective within the next five minutes. He did, indeed, call to say that someone had tried to pawn my iPod, but because the person was acting suspicious, the pawn shop wouldn’t take it. But he was 99-percent sure it was mine and figured the thief would try to pawn it somewhere else.

From there, the trail gets a little murky. The detective called every pawn shop in Wilmington trying to see if our bandit continued his tour of selling my iPod. But alas, it wasn’t to be. So the trail went cold, or so I assumed. But as the officer told me when I initially field the report, “he has to be right all the time, we just have to be right once to catch him.”

The dog did not play a
role in recovering my iPod
At some point, our not-so-bright scoff-law stole a car from Wilmington and was spotted in the neighboring county. He was pulled over and arrested and when they searched the car, they found quite a few items that didn’t belong to him, though my iPod wasn’t one of them in the car. Eventually, they called the Wilmington detective working my case and let him know what they found and he asked if the crook had an iPod on him. They said he did and the detective told them to take it from him because it was stolen. That was my iPod.

I met with the detective Tuesday to get my iPod back. I thanked him as I signed the paperwork and he told me they’d be charging the guy with my theft as well as a multitude of others. I told him I was genuinely surprised they were able to recover my iPod and he said sometimes you just get lucky. Apparently this time was one of my times.

When I was about to tell The Wife what I learned from this, she said, “lock your car and don’t leave your iPod in it.” That’s a crazy lesson that ‘s not applicable to anyone. Instead, I learned that if you’re going to leave your iPod in your unlocked car to be stolen, make sure it’s stolen by someone who will later steal a car and later get arrested with your iPod in his possession.