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Ordinary possessions beautiful to beholder

H.G. Miller

H.G. MillerI would like to relate a personal story.

It involves a deeply moving experience that occurred to me during the summer. Feel free to weep openly.

As has happened to many others, a young group of Lawrence´s finest future felons visited my car in the early hours of the morning.

Notification of the crime came to me by telephone. An officer on the end of the line sounded about as happy to be working at four in the morning as I was at being up. Her message was simple and direct.

“We´re out in the parking lot, get your butt up and join us,” she said.

Apparently, the perpetrators were going car to car in my apartment parking lot and looking for valuables. My car seemed to offer what they wanted: an open window. Ahem.

My assistance to these crooks aside, I do not think one can describe how it feels to have your car ransacked by strangers. It leaves an acidic taste in your mouth and an empty hole in your stomach. You become wary and nervous. You feel violated and angry. Youn ... what do you mean they didn´t take anything?

Wait a minute! They must have been in a hurry. How could they possibly pass up a chance at the valuable merchandise in my car?

Sure, I can see how they overlooked the stuffed beaver my sister gave me for Christmas a couple years ago. It may be bleached pink now, giving it the air of being invaluable, but it´s still a beanie baby. Royalty collects those things.

Yes, the parking permit dangling from the rearview mirror may be a bit dated, but it is still a cool souvenir of your conquest. Besides, the thing is virtually untraceable, since about a thousand people who don´t even drive cars own one.

Who could pass up my original, factory-issued tape deck? It´s got fast forward, eject and everything else. And let me tell you, it sounds pretty good though those factory speakers. The crackling, hissing sound is what analog is all about, man.

Among the goodies passed up in my glove compartment was a deck of playing cards and a perfectly good Swisher Sweets cigar. Don´t kids smoke and gamble anymore?

The police told me that the thieves were probably just looking for money. Apparently, my collection of pennies, paper clips and lint didn´t interest them.

By the way, those are genuine-imitation-rayon seat covers with the “Starscapes” design on them.

A perfectly good road atlas and several back issues of the Kansan were left to bleach in the sun in my back seat. With them lies the roll of toilet paper my mom makes me keep in the car, along with a roadside repair kit containing grandpa´s old tools. A little rusty, but a broken ratchet is still a ratchet. I bet McGyver would have taken it.

More than anything, I would like to express my disappointment in the musical taste of my burglars. Who wouldn´t want a vintage copy of Warrant´s grand opus, “Cherry Pie?”

All three of my Billy Joel cassettes (I´m not ashamed) were just tossed onto the floor as if the man´s life work meant nothing. Although it´s true that most of my tapes are just poor, pirate copies of real CDs, that doesn´t mean they should suffer the indignity of being passed over by some young punks just out for some quick cash.

A person´s automobile stands as a monument to who they are. Everything from personalized floor mats to punk-rock bumper stickers says something about who drives that vehicle. Even a collection of straw wrappers from McDonald's, Burger King and Arby's should be valued as a sign of where the driver has been.

Jokes aside, seeing the contents of my car strewn across the floorboards not only made me thankful I avoided any real automotive damage, but it also made me aware of what I possessed and why it was valuable to me.

Miller is a Hutchinson senior majoring in English.


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