This is not a political blog. I have no desire to rant and rattle on about my political views and why you should or should not vote for this one, that one, or the third one who really shouldn't even be running because he's just mucking up the chances of the second one. There are plenty of blogs exactly like that, though, so if that's the horse you want to ride, well, do a search and saddle up, cowboy.

This is not a blog about the short-comings of the American education system or the stupidity of the next ( or any) generation. If you think the school system failed you and you can still read this, then congratulations,Kilroy! You managed to rise above it. Kudos to you.

This is absolutely not an anti-American blog. I may have named it "Stupid America", but as corny as it sounds, I really do love this country. I will, however, admit I am often embarrassed by it. I just don't understand how a country that once gave us Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Sojourner Truth and Walt Whitman could now be serving up Real Housewives, teen vampires, info-mercials, Humvee limousines and all things Kardashian. Where, exactly, did we go off-script? This blog is my journal of musings on American culture and mores as I try to find some answers.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Failed Life Of Crime: Part One

     I am feeling uninspired these days. No fresh ideas, not a one. No energy and no will to work on any project I put before myself. Nothing gets done. When I am feeling particularly uninspired, I tend to gaze out my window for long periods of time. I watch the world pass me by. Today, just a little while ago, a UPS truck pulled up and parked directly in front of my door. I saw the driver wait for a car to pass and then walk across the street and down the block with packages in his hands.  Then I looked at the truck, sitting there in front of my house. It was open  (those drivers must get cold in the winter), with several packages sitting in full view, unguarded, directly by the driver's seat and therefore, by the large openings on each side of that. Someone with a car could just pull up right behind that truck and grab as many packages as they could handle, throw them in their vehicle, and then just drive away as quickly as possible with their ill-gotten gain.Hmm, I thought. If I were a less honest person, I could run out my door and down the steps and grab a few of those packages, then run back inside with them and no one would ever be the wiser.  Yeah, that's right, no one. I could grab at least three big packages and maybe a small one and then vamoose and no one would ever know. No one was walking by. No one who was driving by would even take the time to look. It would be so easy...
      I looked at the truck again. Four packages were resting directly to the right of the driver's seat. A medium sized box was on the floor and two small boxes sat on top of it. A long, rectangular package rested against the larger box at a jaunty angle. The driver was all the way at the end of the block with his packages, he wouldn't be back for a while yet. But what if there was a dashboard camera? Yeah, I know, that's a long shot, but what if? I mean, I wouldn't want to get caught. Well, I could put on my hoodie sweat shirt and tie the hood really tight so it hides everything but my eyes, kinda like Kenny in South Park. I could put a hat on over that to further distort my image. No one would be able to I.D. me  then! Hmm, sure. Then I could just open the front door and...booyah! I gots me four hot packages full of who knows what, that are now mine, free and clear. And no one gets hurt, either, I tell myself. UPS ( evil corporate empire that they are) is responsible for things that are not delivered, not the folks who order them. And UPS is insured against such mishaps, aren't they? So everybody wins in the end. When you think about it, I'd be doing everyone involved a favor! No, really, I would!
      OK. So I go and get those packages, run inside, then, when I catch my breath and calm down a bit, I look nervously through the blinds and see that no one has noticed. The driver may come casually back to the truck and drive off, or he may look at the space where the packages were and seem puzzled. Studies show that memory and recall are notoriously tricky things. Would he remember that there were packages there, or would he  think he already delivered them? Odds are he wouldn't think anything was out of the ordinary. There would still be packages on the truck, just a few would be missing. Or he might be puzzled, but let it pass and move on to his next destination.  Of course, he could be a diligent driver and realize something was missing, but even so, there would be no way to tell where it went. He might look around, he might ask if anyone had seen anything, but ultimately, there would be no proof or evidence of wrong doing. He would have to file a report, if he notices, or try to account for the loss at some later date when customers call and report that they have never gotten their package. So long, sucker! Those packages are now mine. MINE.  ( Insert evil laugh here).
      Four packages, all in brown paper, all stolen without consequence, and all now mine. Which should I open first!? Oh, the excitement. Like Christmas morning and sneaking into a haunted house and a  wild rollercoaster ride, all together. What to do, what to do...? Well, first the long, rectangular one. I tear into it like nobody's business! My ill-gotten booty! What could it be? What could it BE?? OK, it takes a little longer to open than I first thought. I get a box cutter and work at the tape and paper and finally, my efforts are rewarded with...a new part for an Electrolux vacuum cleaner. A shiny chrome pipe that probably fits onto the hose and is absolutely necessary to make the vacuum work but does nothing, NOTHING for me. Ah, well. But I still have three packages to open! What could be in them? Electronics, I hope. Or maybe a designer handbag or jewelry or books or...oh, why wait? I delve into one of the smaller boxes. Good things come in small packages, right? Well, not this time, I think, as I open the box to find a replacement battery for a cell phone. And no, it would not fit my cell phone. Strike two. I heave a sigh and set about opening the third package, the larger box that seems promising. It is not so heavy but also not so light.  Maybe it's a camera, or computer, even, wrapped in miles of protective packing...but when I finally tear it open, I find it isn't anything electronic. It's...SHOES!  But these are definitely not Jimmy Choo's. Two pairs of custom-made orthopedic old lady shoes. One pair in tombstone gray, the other in a color called,"bark",  which is definitely worse than any bite.  Three down, one to go.
      Surely fourth time's a charm? I rip open the last package to medicine. Special chicken flavored thyroid medical chews for someone's dog, whose name, by the way, is Spanky Eidlestein. The dog, not the person. The prescription is in the dog's name. Curses. Foiled again. But wait, there's more. Along with the chicken chews is a special antibiotic that apparently is necessary for Spanky's health and continued well-being, and directions that it must be administered three times a day.  My anger at not getting the camera and iPad I so richly do not deserve is replaced almost immediately by shame, sadness and panic. What have I done? How can I live with myself now that Spanky is in mortal peril? Somewhere in Forest Hills there is a person whose vacuum cleaner will not be running any time soon, and in Boerum Hill there's a lady waiting for those ugly shoes, who will not be able to walk correctly until she gets them. Not to mention Mr. Otmar  Okepi of Long Island City, whose phone battery is now lying among the detritus of my living room. Oh, how can I fix this?
      I know. I do. I have a plan. A brilliant plan to fix my evil wrongdoings! I go out to the store, buy brown paper and packing tape. I re-package all the open boxes, label them to the correct parties, and head out to the fifth nearest UPS venue.I am wearing my hoodie  with the hood up and dark sunglasses to boot, just as a precaution. I am a woman of mystery as I fill out the necessary paperwork, using a fake sender name and address, and I pay in cash. All except for Spanky's meds, which I then take, all re-packaged up, and hand deliver to the owner's address. The Eidelsteins live in Kew Gardens, Queens, and have a front porch, on which I leave the package, no questions asked, which is just what UPS would do.  Spanky needs his or her medicine. I will NOT be responsible for Spanky's condition getting worse. Finally, my atonement complete, I head home.  I may be in the red for the packing supplies and shipping costs, but I have beaten my way back to the path of honesty and virtue. Would I have done the same if the packages were full of jewelry and electronics? I'd like to think so, but if I had actually taken, no, STOLEN those things in the first place, I would have to wonder about that.
      I looked out the window in time to see the driver return to his truck and get back behind the wheel. The packages were all still where he left them, nothing out of place. As he drove away, I knew a few things for sure. First, I would be a lousy criminal, unless I were of the Robin Hood variety. I don't think I have the right (wrong) mindset to feel OK  about stealing other peoples' property, even if it seems incredibly easy. And second, and perhaps more importantly,  I don't think I'll ever send anything via UPS again.

In all seriousness, this is a shout-out to my friend  who actually DID have her pet's  meds, which were sent via UPS, most likely stolen. UPS makes a habit of leaving things without ringing a doorbell or waiting for a signature.  Who leaves a package unattended in the middle of New York City?So the package went missing and meanwhile, my friend's cat did not have necessary medicine. I am fairly sure my friend is not the only person who is missing something that was sent UPS. I am also fairly sure that a good number of people were severely inconvenienced because of this.  Perhaps it's time for a change in the UPS  corporate policy. 


  1. It looks like your imagination still works even though you may feel less than inspired.

    Before Chris moved to Cali, he mailed me a care package that contained mementos about his life as a New Yorker. It was delivered via Fed Ex but I never got it. It was stolen from my doorstep right here in Irvine...One of the FBI's top rated "safest cities." A town where people are, but care packages are not safe.

  2. Dang skippy. Too bad you didn't actually steal those shoes. Bark is your color.