Nothing Worth Stealing

A Delta airline baggage handler was arrested recently because a passenger had placed an Apple AirTag tracker inside her lost luggage and was able to tell the authorities the exact address where the stolen bag was located, which turned out to be the crook’s apartment. He had apparently been ripping off bags for quite a while and had $16,000 worth of other stolen loot there—boxes of earrings and necklaces, designer dresses, bottles of expensive liquor and perfume, cashmere sweaters and much more.

I tried to imagine how this thief would have reacted if he’d gone to the trouble of shlepping my bag home. Dirty underwear (mostly purchased more than three years ago because they stopped making the kind of all-cotton boxers I like), a plastic bag with a wet swimsuit, seashells, and rocks from the beach, a well-worn pair of Birkenstock sandals, a container of homemade granola, and a pile of Kurt Vonnegut books that I found in a used bookstore near the boardwalk. The most valuable thing in my suitcase was a bag of nutritional supplements I take for sciatica. Or possibly the tube of special hemorrhoid cream that I order from India.

I’ve reached the point in life where I no longer feel the need to impress people. I never did buy expensive suits, Rolex watches or Montblanc pens to awe potential clients with my wealth and good taste or woo potential partners by taking them to gourmet restaurants or buying front row tickets to sporting events from scalpers. And I’m never going to be the guy who can convince bankers or venture capitalists to fund my latest visionary idea that will change the paradigm of advertising or land tourists on Mars. I don’t even think I could convince them to give me a home improvement loan.

Would a car thief even want my car? A ten year VW in serious need of a new clutch? Probably not the first choice on the lot. Maybe if I left the keys in the ignition with the motor running some 15 year old kid might be tempted to take it for a joyride, if he could figure out how to drive a stick shift, but otherwise?

Would a burglar try to break into my house to steal my twenty year old stereo and collection of yard sale CDs and homemade cassette tapes? Could he even figure out how to untangle all the cords and wires that connect everything in order to get it off the shelf? I know I couldn’t the last time I tried to plug in an old record player I found on the tree lawn to see if it still worked.

Maybe a neighborhood crook would be interested in one of the several computers that I have piled up in the corner of my office that might possibly still work if you could find old enough software discs to run on them. I haven’t gotten rid of these modern hi-tech monstrosities because I paid so damn much money for them when they were new and I can’t believe that there really isn’t anyone who would want one. Maybe my burglar is just the guy!

We do have a lovely set of silverware that we got forty years ago for our wedding. It’s held up amazingly well and we still use it every day. Unfortunately for a robber it probably wouldn’t fetch much from a fence, since it’s made of stainless steel. And the only designer clothing I own is a pair of Calvin Klein jeans that I got at the Nordstrom’s Rack closeout bin several years ago and have since outgrown. My burglar is welcome to them if he’s got a 34 inch waist and likes the color chartreuse.

I never was a big fan of jewelry since I gave my Cracker Jacks ring to my sweetheart Leslie in first grade and she promptly threw it down the sewer grate to see if it would splash. I do still have my Dad’s collection of one-of-a-kind cufflinks that he saved. I initially kept them because I was sure they must be made of gold or silver, or else why would Dad still have had them? After checking a couple with a jeweler I now realize he’d kept them hoping to someday come across the lost matches so that he might be able to wear them again. Or maybe he just wore them mismatched. After all, a guy who had burned a hole in every suit jacket he owned with cigar ash couldn’t have been all that concerned with his appearance. This is a trait that he certainly passed down to his son. This year when I was flying for the first time since the pandemic I couldn’t help noticing how almost everyone else on the flight had brought their bags with them onto the plane, because they were so afraid the airline might lose them. They’d drag their suitcases around with them into the coffee shop while they waited for their inevitably delayed flights, into the bathroom stalls with them and everywhere else in between. Meanwhile I couldn’t help thinking I stood to profit if the airline did lose my checked bag. The $3500 insurance they’d pay would allow me to buy a lot of replacement shells, rocks, and used books. Although I’d never be able to find any dirty underwear like that again.

3 thoughts on “Nothing Worth Stealing”

  1. Hilarious editorial. I’ve always liked and done a ‘fist in the air’ YES! for several of the ‘Mock Authority’ comments. The words are as good as similar cartoons! Tom.

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  2. Enlightening story. I enjoyed this diatribe about the burglar possibly not appreciating your bag of he stole it because it helped me look at the valuables scale. I have an eye for good taste. I am also reading spiritual books that help curb my desire to own six or more of every possible clothing item and accessory that a person could wear. My girlfriend Mary has a subscription to the magazine and I came to the website to consider the cost of giving a subscription to friends and family as gifts.
    Loved the story and the writer’s style. Thanks!

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