Monday, August 23, 2010

They Don't Care Where They Kick

This month marks the close of my eleventh year as a Memphian. To celebrate, someone kicked in my door and stole thousands of dollars worth of property from my home.

I thought it would be fun if that actually turned out to be my 11th criminal victimization since moving here, but turns out, it’s only about the 7th or 8th. But good effort, jackholes!

As you may have surmised, I’m in the anger phase right now. I know it seems superficial, but the stages of grief do seem somewhat appropriate here, for although it was only material possessions that were lost, they carried with them a lot of emotional value. Among the stolen items were my high school class ring, the earrings my parents gave me on my 16th birthday, and most of the jewelry I inherited from my grandmother. I know memories can exist without physical tokens (yes, I’ve watched my share of Hoarders), but those small pieces of my past served as happy reminders whenever I wore or even came across them. And now they’re gone.

Also stolen was my laptop, and I have to tell you, the idea of someone having that piece of hardware is more unsettling to me than the fact that they dug through every hiding place in the house looking for drugs and guns. It’s like having someone take your entire family’s birth certificates, Social Security cards, bank statements, and checkbook, plus all your home movies and photo albums. It’s an intensely personal chunk of plastic, and the unease of having it in the wrong hands is far more upsetting than the loss of the machine itself.

I also lost a lot of writing, and, in bad news, possibly my entire iTunes library.

But if there’s anything I’m known for, it’s making the best of a bad situation. Oh wait, no, that’s TV’s Kelly Ripa. Anyway, I’d still like to take this opportunity to help y’all (i.e. other Memphians) avoid this type of scenario by taking a few preventive steps:

  •  Back up your computer. Right now. NOW. And then keep doing it regularly, ideally through an off-site service like (which allowed the more disaster-prepared resident of my house to share his data rather than lose it all outright).
  • If you’re not a home-owner, invest in renter’s insurance. You’re gonna need it. Seriously.
  • Write down the serial numbers of all your electronics and keep them in a safe place. The police actually do send this info to pawn shops and I know of at least one iPod recovered this way.
  • Password-protect everything.
  • Consider laptop recovery software (laptop lo-jack) that can trace a stolen machine through GPS.
Oh, and:
  • Don’t like or attach sentimental value to anything you own, because sooner or later, some crackhead is going to take it away from you.


Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said...

OMFG -- I am SO sorry. That just sucks ass. My first thought, when I read it, was, "OH, their writing!!!!" I hope you get it all back, and that, someone (not you, so's you can remain good-karma-ed) accidentally punches the thieves in their cajones, assuming they've got any.

Sarah Jane said...

Goodness, woman. I am so sorry. Your life is starting to sound like the book of Job. Hope the upswing happens sooner than later.

Josh said...

"Just as long as they hurt you." One of my favorite songs, actually, but not very pleasant as applied here, is it? Lots of sympathy & wishing you much better luck in the future.

I never (yet) got around to iTunesing my music but I can imagine that being a HUGE pain to re-do once iTunes has become your main storage space.

And losing your writing, geez... :-( Phases of grief certainly seems appropriate to me. I've been lucky enough (knocking on wood) to have not had my home burgled, but I did get robbed on the street some years back, and that was plenty unpleasant enough for me. And in that case all I lost was some cash, which doesn't really hold any emotional resonance. (Well, I also lost some of my sense of safety for a while, of course.)

Thinking good thoughts for you.

Lauren said...

Same thing happened to us bout a week ago. Took all my jewelery including my wedding and engagement rings, my mother's bracelet, my college ring, and scores of memories in the form of bracelets, earrings, pins etc. They also took my daughter's jewelery box (it was bright blue with cupcakes on it- not where we keep the family jewels), and she is upset about the gold coins the tooth fairy left her and the bracelet from her best friend.

Thank God I ran in the house as we left to grab my laptop.

I Know this feeling- its violation and that word is an understatement. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you are in this tough time. I am happy you are all safe and not hurt, but it's still your stuff and someone else has it and I think that sucks. I feel your pain.