Helpful Tips for the Next Time You Try to Steal My Phone

1. Cardio. It’s not only rule #1 for surviving the zombie apocalypse, it is probably the key element in being a successful street punk. I’m not saying that I’m slow, but if I, at almost twice your age, can keep pace with you while wearing cowboy boots then you really need to spend less time on the couch playing video games.

2. Take cover. Don’t flee in a straight line down the length of a 250-yard-long parking lot. I can see you. I can still see you. Try for a back alley, or go around the first corner you can find. Most importantly, seek the path with the most obstacles. There was a 50-50 shot that my vehicle might have been parked on that side of the restaurant, and though you lucked out, it would have been smarter to take a route that a full-size pickup can’t follow. Not that I would ever run you over, but it sure would have made it easy to chase you down.

3. Taking my phone off the table right in front of me, in broad daylight and with many witnesses, was bold. Normally, I would encourage boldness. However, “bravery” could most accurately be defined as “willfully putting oneself at risk”. The funny thing about cell phones: everybody has one. Quicker than you could say “911”, some random stranger was alerting the cops, watching your long flight across the parking lot the entire way. Another stranger with a camera in her phone (also remarkably common) had several photographs of you and your friends. Within about 60 seconds, two patrol cars were in the shopping center looking for you. Personally, I don’t think you (or my phone) are worth that much trouble, but that’s the sort of thing that tends to happen.

4. iPhones, and their direct competitors, are probably worth stealing, because they are rather expensive devices. Or so I hear. I wouldn’t know exactly, because I don’t own one. No, my phone is one of a large number of relatively cheap touch-screen devices that look like iPhones, but which often constitute the entry-level “free” cell phone you can get for signing up with a carrier. Learn to tell the difference.

5. I realize this was probably just a stupid prank intended to impress your two friends. Not that they seemed all that impressed, when random strangers were calling the cops on them and taking photos of them as supposed accomplices. Plus, since all three of you are about the same age, race, and build, and since you apparently all like to shop at the same “Ganstas-R-Us” clothing store, they will now be getting just as much unwanted attention from the police as you. However, I still don’t see why you would eventually leave the phone in the middle of the sidewalk, for me to retrieve. Seems like a lot of trouble for no possible gain. (Oh, and by the way: fingers leave fingerprints, if I really wanted to ruin your life—which I don’t.) But, the touch-screen was also unlocked when I picked it up. Long story short, for the way that particular phone works: that means you dropped it. On accident? You might have been trying to get rid of it, and me, but there is a real good chance you merely dropped it and couldn’t stop to pick it up. That’s just sad. Invest in pockets.

6. In this line of business, the chase might eventually end with a violent confrontation. Luckily, it did not, because it is so not worth it. However, though it didn’t even cross my mind at the time, I, like most people I know who grew up in very rural areas, habitually carry a pocket knife. It is not a weapon, but certainly could be used as one a pinch. So, choose your targets with a bit more care. In fact, as a general life rule, I would suggest you not try to rob anyone wearing cowboy boots and Wranglers. Chuck Norris fits that description, by the way. Jack Bauer, too, if you include lace-ups.

7. As I told one of your friends after he wisely abandoned you, I have no desire to see you arrested or punished. But, in case he does not pass along the message I gave to him for you, I’ll repeat it here: this path eventually leads to jail time, at best, and is something that will ruin your life. It will. You are, what, 15 years old? You have time. You can choose a different path. Please do so, because no phone in the world—no object in the world—is worth it.

If you have any questions about any of this advice, or would like to discuss it further, feel free to give me a call.

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