Two weeks ago, I lost a bottle of prescription medication. I didn’t really lose it. Someone stole it from my unlocked car.
That’s right. I said “unlocked.” I forgot, OK?
I could argue that it wasn’t my fault; that it was entirely the fault of the person who took it. But I still share in the blame. Granted, I didn’t deserve to have my meds stolen, but there’s a price to pay for not paying attention.
Here’s what I figure happened. I picked up the meds from my favorite drug pushers — the staff at the Herriman Smith’s pharmacy. I went back to my car, tossed the bag on the passenger seat and ran some more errands.
At some point the following day, I remembered leaving the bag in the car. I went out and — shazam — they were gone.
Was I shocked? Not really. My guess is that someone had walked past my car, saw the pharmacy bag, and thinking that it might be something yummy, opened the door and took it.
I consider myself both lucky and unlucky. I got off lightly because there are ratbags who, had the door been locked, would have smashed my window to grab a sack that looked like it might have something fun in it.
I’m unlucky because my insurance won’t cover the cost of replacing the drugs. After all, it wasn’t the company’s fault that I didn’t take better care of it.
There also is the slight amusement I feel when imagining the thief’s face when he or she tore open the bag, and found it was an unmagical bottle of mood meds.
Still, most of the blame is on me. I should know better. I spent years telling people that the world is full of monsters who don’t give a damn about what we consider fair. Our forgetfulness, incompetency and downright stupidity is, for them, opportunity.
When I was a cop, getting blamed for people’s misfortunes was part of the job. Like the time I took a theft report from a guy who left his lawn mower on his driveway overnight and — to his utter astonishment — discovered that it wasn’t there the next morning.
Hey, it wasn’t his fault that somebody stole it. It was a bad person’s fault. It was even — and here’s the hilarious part — partly my fault.
Him • “You’re supposed to patrol this neighborhood. What I’d like to know is where were you last night when my mower was being stolen?”
Me • “I was across town taking a theft report from some other idiot who couldn’t be bothered to lock up his stuff either.”
There was no explaining to the victim that he couldn’t afford the taxes it would require to guarantee complete protection from every stupid move he made. At some point, he would have to assume some responsibility for his own cluelessness.
The same is true of all of us. Whether it’s our money, our possessions, our bodies, our children, or even our lives, there’s no guarantee that these things are free from the risk of loss. To guard against that terrible possibility requires us to be on guard at all times.
We like to tell ourselves that no one deserves to be eaten by a monster, but make no mistake about it: There are monsters, and they don’t think that way. The deeper you venture into the woods, the more likely it is that one will find you.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.