Thanksgiving is 48 hours away. The big day of gratitude and gravy will soon be upon us … and in us. Meat, potatoes, vegetables and pie. Lots of pie.
Call it gluttony, but we’ll need that food for strength to get us through the long, cold, dark slide toward Christmas. Even while we’re still bleary from gorging, it’s time to shop.
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, when the annual holiday pillaging season kicks off. People storm the stores for holiday bargains, while crooks swarm the parking lots.
See, the criminal element is also excited about the holiday season. They know how easy it is to shop for bargains among unattended vehicles during this time.
Nothing is more ruinous to a merry Christmas than having your gifts boosted from your ride because you left them unattended and in plain sight.
Auto burglars are not shy. Just because you locked your car doesn’t guarantee that your valuables will be safe. If thieves can see the items inside the car, they don’t mind breaking a window to get them.
That can be embarrassing — not just because you were dumb enough to leave yourself wide open to temptation, but also because if you hope to get any of the stuff back (which is unlikely) it must be reported to the police.
If the stolen items are of the intimate or illegal sort, you might not want the cops getting involved. If you bought a “My First Meth Lab” for your kid’s Christmas present, chances are you don’t want the police helping you get it back.
Not everyone is so shy. In November 1959, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, Mrs. Nancy Hall of Salt Lake City reported to police that someone had entered her automobile and removed the following items:
One portable radio ($30), two bed dolls ($4), two small stuffed dogs ($3) and a human head (value unknown).
You read that right. An actual human head.
The head was shrunken, but it nevertheless once belonged to someone else. Isn’t having someone else’s head on your dashboard illegal?
Turns out that nobody really knows. I called seven law enforcement agencies, including two that have previously told me never to call them again unless it was to confess something.
Here’s a sampling of the responses I received.
Me • “Suppose you pulled me over and discovered that I had a shrunken human head hanging from my rearview mirror.”
Officer No. 1 • “Is it obstructing your view of the road?”
Officer No. 2 • “Beats me. How fresh is the head?”
Officer No. 3 • “Depends on whose head it was.”
Officer No. 4 • “I might Taser you. Who would care?”
There you have it. Report someone stealing your drugs, and chances are the cops will take you to jail. But none seems to know the protocol for possession of a shrunken head.
Never mind. The point is that if you want to avoid disappointing people for Christmas, or end up spending twice as much on them as you originally planned, you’ll want to lock your items in the trunk or, at the very least, keep them out of sight.
Christmas is almost upon us. It’s a crazy time. Let’s all keep our heads.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.