An open letter to the lackluster moron who stole my daughter's bike:
I know: We've only ourselves to blame. The bike was chained to a pole on a boulevard, which is kinda-sorta public property. Sure, we have to mow it, but the city takes care of the trees. It's a gray area. The pole was public property, to be sure. It had a sign. In our defense I'll note that the sign did not say "Anything Attached to Me Is Yours if You Have a Bolt Cutter — Hey, What a Coincidence, You Do" but it's possible you thought this was one of those "It's near a curb, I can take it" situations.
After all, Curb Stuff is common property, right? I put out a sofa the other day. A big one, like a fainting couch for NBA athletes. It was gone in three hours. I'm surprised no one takes the garbage cans when we put them out. Hey, look at that! Free garbage cans! Score!
It's amazing that no one digs up the grass and rolls it up. Free sod! Because it's on the boulevard!
Yes, true, but technically it is the boulevard.
It's more likely you took the bike because that's what you do. You drive around at 3 a.m. looking for other people's property so you can steal it. There are two reasons why.
1. You are an impoverished man who was wrongfully imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, and your adopted child has a quiet, boundless kindness that gnaws at your soul — so mean the ration of joy the world has dealt her, so strong her spirit. You found her when she was selling matches — well, actually, batteries for vaping — barefoot, in December, and the two of you formed a bond. She waits in your tiny room, hoping you return with something to eat. But you have only a bicycle.
Oh, that is fine, Papa! she says. That's what she calls you, and it gives you a joy you never knew. A bike has lots of fine parts. We can boil the tires and pretend it's licorice! If we break down the frame and put it in a pot, we'll have Titanium Soup in no time! Oh, you're the best Papa ever. But what shall we do with the chain?
I will give it to Francois. He is building a printing press so he can expose the wrongs of society, and this will help him.
The seat goes to your dog, Cur, who will chew on it for a week. It was a good night after all, thanks to the person who put a bike out on the boulevard. There are still good people on this Earth. There are.
2. You're a miserable human being.
What sort of person steals from a child? I hope you go to Heck, which is not as bad as Hell, but is a place of eternal irritation and discomfort. Your underwear rides up, you have a toothache, and other Heck residents have horrible gas and no, the windows don't open. You constantly want a cigarette and there aren't any. The tornado sirens go off 24-7. Go to Heck.
That also goes for the person who bought the bike from you, no doubt thinking, "How strange that this fellow who never works always has a bike to sell for $40." You know it's stolen. To Heck with all of you.
If only this crime wasn't regarded as the equivalent of scooping the pennies out of the loose-change tray at the gas station. I'm not saying they should go to prison, but it makes you want to bring back the stocks.
Except if the stocks were near a curb, someone would steal them.