And the picky bandits left me with everything but my dignity. I never realized how little I own of street value until my house was broken into. And because my mind's messed up from the whole experience, I can't decide if that's a good thing or not. I was in Epping recently, on the cell phone with my wife, when she delivered the news. Flower was pulling into the driveway of our home in Manchester when she asked if I'd left the back door open when I came home for lunch. I didn't go home for lunch, I told her. “Hold on a sec,” she said. “The door probably just didn't close all the way.” Flower got out of the car and went into the house. Then she screamed her face off when she noticed a window was busted in. I about threw up in my hands when she started screaming. “Call 911! Call 911!” I kept shouting. I did about 85 in the rain up 101. I passed a state trooper in Candia and was ready to keep going. I was that scared. Foolish, but I was starting to black out. Twenty minutes later I was pulling into the drive and running into the house. I knew the thieves were gone, probably a long time ago, and as I mentioned, they went home disappointed. Still, it was jarring. An hour later, as I continued to wait for the Manchester police to arrive off the 911 call, I went across the street to inform my neighbor an intruder had ransacked our home. She asked what everyone asks: What did they take?My initial response was, “Oh, nothing of value. Thank God for that.”
Then I thought about it for a second and said, “Yeah, they took nothing. Not a single thing!”
“Really?” my neighbor said. “That's kind of insulting. Doncha think?”
The woman was onto something. They paid no mind to my 1996 Panasonic TV. The color's a bit off but it works for a game of early-'90s Nintendo.
They stayed away from the parlor, too, the three feet of book space I carved out in my living room for my literary conquests. Not one of the nine books I have in my collection even tempted the thieves. Imagine that, not to consider a Hemingway in the summertime is just filthy wrong.
They skipped upstairs to the bedroom and rummaged through the nightstand next to my bed. Brother, I don't even like to put my hands in that drawer. I apologize for the mess, gentlemen.
Mentally I was rocked. For the first 48 hours after being robbed I did nothing but envision doing bad, bad things to the prowler. I couldn't sleep, and when I did I was awakened by sweaty dreams of being bitten in the face by a massive, black panther (honest).
I told myself it was time to tighten down the compound. Hire a group of retired cops to case the estate once an hour. Put up a few surveillance cameras. Barb wire the picket fence.
Then again, Riley's Gun Shop is always an option.
Truth be told, the only thing the thieves really stole was a few hours off my life. I have my books, my TV, my woman and my humanity intact. And I'm done feeling emasculated. I took the high hard one and it hurt.
But I won't let thieves dictate my disposition. That's mine. Try and steal it.
This article appears in the December 2009 issue of New Hampshire Magazine