Thursday, May 25, 2006

An Open Letter to the three kids that robbed me on University Avenue yesterday:

Okay. I get it. I was walking, footloose and fancy-free down the sunny side of the street, jammin' to my iPod. I didn't take as much care as I should have when the tall one of your group saddled up next to me, constantly looking behind his shoulder. Normally I look back when that happens, but I never like to pre-judge, and yesterday I was feeling pretty mellow. I mean, let's be honest - I was listening to a damn good song.

Y'all must have known this - the white earphones kinda give it away - but you had the balls to corner me in broad daylight on the busiest street in St. Paul. Nice. I give that to you. The little punk who came up behind me, I wanted to give you a special shout-out: "Don't fucking move; I have a gun," you said under your breath. Now, if I was a betting man (and I am), I'd say it was just your finger pushed through your sweatshirt. Even if you DID have a gun, pulling it out and using it on such a public street is the definition of stupid.

Once the iPod was in your hands, your 'armed' cohort who took my wallet proved himself to be not-so-harsh. I know it must have freaked you out that this tiny white boy started walking with your trio, screaming (even with my obvious loss of voice due to a head cold) obscenities mixed with pleadings: "I don't fucking believe this," I kept repeating. But you, Mr. I-Have-A-Gun, you finally listened to my ranting and took out my wallet for a closer inspection. You saw that I only had a single dollar bill and the rest fell under the "meaningless to you, but important to me" category. You took the dollar bill and then threw the wallet back to me. For this, I thank you. You could have easily kept it, making the day that much worse for me. But, you didn't. (Of course, you DID take the dollar. If you used it like I had planned on, then I hope you enjoyed the sweet taste of a Mountain Dew on that hot summer's eve. Bastard.)

Now, of course, with the iPod safely in your possession, I have to say you didn't make the wisest decision. I back this statement up with three main points:

1. I'm a volunteer. I make $100/month. If you had robbed a rich person, maybe you could have kept that whole "Robin Hood" mentality going. But what you took, took me four months of wages to buy.

2. There are more than 8 days of music on that mother of a machine, and I'll bet it takes you twice that long just to find some that you would actually enjoy. I have a quirky musical ear; enjoy it, assholes.

3. You don't have any way to charge that baby up. So, after 8 hours of continuous play (or 4, if you watch that Coldplay video over and over again), you are SOL. Go ahead and buy an AC adapter - that's at least $40. Joke's on you!

Now, of course, I was hit with other implications once you three had taken off into the residential areas of Midtown. Am I ever going to get this back? Probably not.

The cops were after y'all for a while, bringing out the dogs to follow your trail of discarded clothing. They spent a while with me, driving around the area, looking for you. Would they have done that if I were black and you three were white? Unfortunately, I don't think that question is extremely off-base.

At least 4 other people in the neighborhood through which you ran after your successful deed called the cops and gave loose descriptions. I'll never be able to thank them; I just hope I could do the same if put in their situation.

It was, I kept thinking, "just an iPod." But, even so, was that enough to threaten me at "gunpoint"? (By the way, I still think that was an absolutely bogus claim. I did, however, hear about people being shot and killed for their iPods when I was in New York. So, I decided not to call your bluff.)

Now, it's at this point in the open letter that I give my take on the whole thing. I could be constrained by the normal liberal/conservative viewpoints. Or I could become that classic conservative who thinks that way because I was a "liberal who was mugged." But I will do neither. I'll just say this: I was extremely lucky yesterday. You could have beaten me up (remember telling me that if I came too near, you'd "fuck me up"? No shit, Sherlock. I'm 5'6'', 140 lbs. If you three COULDN'T take me, then maybe you need go back to the drawing board, and take candy from unsuspecting babies). You could have taken everything I had (my cellphone, my bag full of purchased DVDs, my check from my grandpa, my $10 bus pass). You could have dragged me into the alleyway and raped me. You could have killed me. But you barely touched me. I got off very lucky.

At the same time, I feel like a tool. Once you pulled off the heist, and I was walking behind you, you shrugged my rants off, laughing amongst yourselves. I felt like I was trying to get a book back from my annoying nephews. I also felt like I was the easiest target you've had in a while. So be it. Hindsight's 20-20. But, damn, I wish I had been more aware.

It felt very surreal, this whole thing. Was it the same for you?

Finally, I addressed this letter to you three, calling you "kids". It's not deragatory, it's simply fact. You're what, 17 or 18? I wanted to admonish you, and then immediately I felt like I was being condescending.

There's your funny moment for today: That guy you robbed yesterday had no idea how to respond, and will probably remember the moment - for all its emotional, economic, and socio-political impact - for a very long time.



At 2:53 PM , Anonymous Ben said...


I had no idea. I am glad you are alive.

At 12:13 PM , Blogger Meow said...

peace out, lake trout.

that sucks. Cole's balls.

At 10:26 PM , Blogger david said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:35 PM , Anonymous Matt Eichler said...

Glad you are still with us. I didn't know you were robbed. **big hugs**


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