We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, May 5. 2007
I will not use this blog to confess every possibly wrong, evil, or criminal thing I have done. That would be vulgar showing off.
Instead, I want to use this post to claim my victimhood! Maybe I can get some special treatment or power or money for it! (Please wire funds to my Cayman account.)
It's an old saying that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. In my case, that shift was an intellectual awakening, but I have been mugged and robbed. Here's my tale of woe:
NYC: 1970s, Saturday, a few days before Christmas, around 8 pm, with snow: On way to an Upper West Side Christmas party, walking happily along Morningside Drive in the lovely NY snowy evening, when a scruffy guy of no racial idenity jumps out of the park and sticks a handgun in my stomach, and requests money. Having worked all day driving the horse and buggies in Central Park (my cool college job), I had about $1300 in a wad in my back pocket, but half it it (not including tips) belonged to the stable on W. 48th St. Emptied my front pockets (change, subway tokens, a few crumpled one-dollar bills) and handed it to him. I did not appear wealthy, for sure. Guy takes it, and runs back into the snowy Morningside Park. My body shakes for an hour, until I have had a few drinks and tell the story at the party. In those times, a waste of time to call the cops.
NYC: 1970s, May, Saturday, 11 am. Packing girlfriend's powder-blue Volkswagen convertible for a picnic out at Jones' Beach. Run inside to get blankets for our picnic. Run back out - car gone. Call cops. They say "Fuggedaboutit. Unless you really want to file a complaint. If you really want to bother, you can come down to the precinct and fill out the forms. We will need the VID and the registration, but you're better off just calling your insurance." During the Koch and Dinkins years, there was anarchy. All credit goes to Rudy for the NYC of today.
Boston, 1980s: Sunday night, 11 pm. Three young guys of no racial identity begin following me to my car. I walk faster; they walk faster. I run; they hustle. They are overweight, and one waves what looks like a handgun. I have my keys out, jump into my car, lock the doors and turn on the engine and start off. They kick the bumper as I depart, leaving them in the dust.
NYC: 1980s, Saturday, 5 pm. Return to Upper West Side apartment with friend after buying mountain-climbing equipment. Mainly crampons and ice axes. Find door open. Hear water running, and open bathroom door. Find young person of no racial identity dressed in my roomates' clothes in bathroom. Then find suitcases full of our stuff in the living room. Threatened guy with ice axes, told him to remove clothes and get the f- out before we killed him. Guy says "Don't be gettin no attitude" but makes hasty retreat with only his dirty jeans - no shoes or shirt. Yells from bottom of stairwell "I'll be back, M-f-." He never did come back. I think we seemed crazier than he was.
Eventually, moved back to New England. All that has happened to me since has been one late-night emptying of the garage - all bikes and fishing gear gone in the morning. Fear-free, but dismaying. But never try to tell me that thieving and white-collar crime are equivalent to ugly crime. They are not equivalent in the degree of personal violation.
Image: 1883, Murder in a railroad car
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right you are: ugly crime is on a different level. Have had the shotgun pointed at the car windowin NOLA,and the scalpel weilding pick pocket in nyc telling me "i'll cut your face" so I think the day they stole the car in front of my eyes from the driveway was not so bad afterall. FYI can't believe the one about the guy in the bathroom--only in NY.
NYC 1970's, Getting on ramp to GW bridge. Accident ahead and cops redirecting traffic around it. Going slow in my lime love Bug when the guy behind me keeps running into my fender. I get out to tell cops and show the dents. I should add that hes driving a new Caddy. He denies hitting me. I kind of feel sorry for him because of age and feebleness and I think he really believes he hasn't hit me. Cops pull me aside and say, " Do you know who that guy is?" Apparently he was something similar to an Uncle Junior from the Sopranos. The cops said that I should see if I could get some cash from him and then just let it die. They didn't seem too eager to pursue it. I asked the old gumba for some cash. He didn't have any ( yea right), but we exchanged addresses ( I wasn't too sure about giving him my address ) and he said that he would mail me some cash for fender repairs. He rolled down his window and I'm not sure but I think I heard him mumble " stunad " and then some laughter.
Needless to say I never heard from him.
That same love Bug was broken into in the Village and all my 8 tracks stolen.
Later that year Herbie was stolen from a street in front of my house in Yonkers. When I reported it stolen the cops they said that it was most likely in parts by now down in a Boston Post Rd junk yard. So the mob ended up getting my whole car.
The Yonkers cops said, " forgetabuotit.'
Doubtful the guy in your last story ever saw an ice ax before. Probably told his bros you guys were crazy.
About a year after Robert Pirsig's son was murdered by a mugger on the street in front of the Zen center in San Francisco, my just turned 16 year old daughter stepped off a bus. She cut across the street and started walking up toward our home (around the corner from Diane Feinstein). As she stepped onto the curb on the other side of the street two African/American men jumped her, pulled her jewelry off, and grabbed her purse. By this time one of them had pushed her down behind a bush next to the front door of an apartment building--the other took off running with her purse. The one who held my daughter down was the one with the .45. Fortunately,at that very moment three couples (heterosexual) came out of the apartment building and stumbled onto the guy with the gun, who had just begun to rip her clothes off.
Best of all, my daughter grew up street savy--but kind; watchful--but trusting. Not victimization here--just a little more alert to the real world. Love you daughter, and proud of you!!
So far, in many ways, I have led a somewhat charmed life. So luckily for me, my ' victim ' stories are pretty lame. Here are a couple.
One of my first jobs was in the toy department of a high end department store. It was, in many ways, a fun job. There was a very long hall behind a movable wall, with big display windows that had different scenes of Christmas from around the world and the windows were peopled by large animated puppets. I would go back there on my breaks and hit the switch and the whole place would light up, the music would start and the puppets would come to life. I also liked working around all of the expensive Madam Alexander dolls and Steiff animals and I actually enjoyed assembling the bikes and wagons out of boxes too. One day I was the only clerk on the floor when a cloche (I think that is the word) of shoplifters came in and wrecked havoc. There were about 7-10 boys aged 10-16 and a few caused a distracting scene while the rest helped themselves to the merchandise and cased the offices looking to empty out the staffs' purses. I chased them around some but there were too many of them and they soon ran off. When I left work that night, there they all were, standing on the sidewalk outside the front door. Being a bit of a mouthpiece, I walked right up to them and said "Don't you punks EVER come back to my department or I'll....!" At which point they all promptly started to spit on me. Ha! I sure told them.
Not long after that I got my first apartment. It was a sublet from a medical student who gave me a pretty good deal on one condition. I had to 'look after' his pet tarantula, Mordecai, who lived in a glass case on the mantle. Returning home from work one day I found the dead bolt jimmied away from the broken door frame. The apartment looked fine but after checking my 'secret' hiding spot found that the rent and grocery money I had saved was gone. I called the police and two detectives actually showed up and wrote up a report. One of them was standing right next to the mantle when he looked up and into the glass case and jumped a mile. "What the hell is that!" the cop shouted. I was afraid that having a tarantula might not be completely legal so I answered "It's a spider." The cops beat a hasty retreat and that was the end of it. Except I always figured the thief was someone I knew because he went right to where the money was. This still bothers me a bit because it made me realize that I am not always a very good judge of character and that is probably still somewhat true, even to this day. Present company here at Maggies excepted, of course.