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Theft, Canada and me

Consider yourself divinely touched. See, this column could have gone lots of ways. Over the summer I wondered about how I’d word it and about how it’d look and about the hot topic I’d write it on. But that all changed. Quickly.

I took a trip to Canada with some of my friends from high school and got home to find my laptop missing. Most likely lifted, pilfered or plucked from a shelf in my house by any number of the workmen who’ve been finishing the place for the past few months.

Which raises a lot of issues. Like the ethics of stealing. I was talking to my boss from this summer about the difference between theft and vandalism. More, she was talking. She had her wallet stolen out of her desk by someone who’d known exactly where she put it. An inside job—kind of like mine. Thing is, she had a picture of her father who’d died a few years back in it. Boom. Gone. Just like that. The thief did drop some of her identification cards in a mailbox. But no picture. And that’s vandalism. If you need the money, take it. Just give back the picture of dad.

We live in a pretty stratified society, so really, can you fault someone for taking from the rich (or, in this case, ‘upper middle class’) and giving to themselves?

“But I had my writing on there, my info, my programs, my settings, my ahem stolen music! It’s not dad, I know, but still, what am I going to do without it?”

We’ll come back to that.

So they don’t really lock their doors in Canada. Maybe it’s because they’ve got a bigger landmass than us and only 10 percent of the people. Theft, among other things there, isn’t really a concern. Sure, they’ve got some political battles going on, but nothing like our Red/Blue split. They’ve got race problems, too, which are mostly between the indigenous people (they let some live!) and the Europeans. Again, no Bull Conner or sit-ins, no Black/White. Drugs aren’t legal there, but they’re not exactly illegal. A little different than Drug/Anti-Drug. Oh yeah, and that wealth thing. The gun one, too. Environmental Issues. It’s all kind of gravy up there.

Which brings me back to where I started my very first column, on my very first laptop back when it was very mine. Thomas Wolfe saying “You can’t go home again.” I don’t know why I was going to start the column like that, I’ve never read any of his stuff and the quote wasn’t pertinent to what I was saying. Still, let’s pretend:

“You can’t go home again.”

But you can. And you do. We came back from Canada sure we’d move there, especially if the current administration chooses to, you know, reinstate the draft. There weren’t really any problems we could see. I mean, taxes are higher, it’s cold for ten months of the year and you have to wait like six months to see a doc (but it is ‘free’). And yet life is good. Fourth best in the world, in fact.

Though, after getting back to my hometown of Sumter, S.C., finding my stuff gone, and watching a couple episodes of the Daily Show, I knew I’d be staying here for a while. I mean, things suck a lot in this country. But it’s still my country. I know I have to drive everywhere, and I know I’m bombarded with crap TV and Wal-Mart and fat, fat, fat. My radio speaks in idiotic loudmouth voices spewing worthless political rhetoric back and forth. There are racists, sexists and a perverted dream of wealth above all. But it’s still my people.

I got upset for a little while when the machine that had come to mean a lot to me went AWOL. It proves that even I value material, technologically advanced things. They’re important to me. And that tells me that for as much junk as I talk about this land, I’m a part of it too, like it or not.

Now we all return to our other home, Duke, for the year, full as it is of stealing, dissent, apathy, and dating woes. Drawn together by some strange and unknown hand, we are, like this column, undeniably found.

Perhaps the laptop will be next.


Aaron Kirschenfeld is a Trinity sophomore.


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