austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

A chance to pull a heist

Campus security sent an e-mail to all, offering tips to ``not let crime disrupt your festive joy''. This informative e-mail reports of two recent crimes. One was a person who lent her hand phone to a stranger who needed to make an urgent call, and who then ran off with the phone. This sort of simple crime can be prevented by never being nice to anyone, ever. The second is more serious; the person left his office, unlocked, to use the washroom, and returned to find the department laptop stolen. This is why they put the washrooms behind keycard-access locked doors, as it would be very embarrassing to have the hot-air hand dryer that doesn't dry hands stolen by staff.

What makes this perfectly scandalous is that these are the same incidents used for the ``don't let crime disrupt your festive joy'' e-mail last year. If you don't accept that strikingly similar criminals attack campus about the same time every year you might be lead to suspect they're just reusing the same couple incidents, that may or may not have actually happened, every time. And there's so little reason for that when you consider other shocking incidents of campus crime and the lesson we can draw from them, for example:

Case 1. Associate Professor A, fresh out of changing his name from Associate Professor B, returned to his apartment to find it completely empty, except for one lime-green Ikea sofa chair which he never owned. This could have been prevented if A, nee B, had ever bought furniture instead of relying on what his increasingly impatient friends left him.

Case 2. John S-, United States envoy to the United Kingdom, was lured into adultery and heavy drinking in Italy by the seductive Theda Bara, threatening his marriage and his position with the Department of State. There is little that could be done for John S-, as he is a rather determinedly foolish character in the 1915 William Fox movie A Fool There Was, based on the stage play based on the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name, but others can avoid the problem by recalling that Theda Bara died in 1955, and accordingly choosing to not consort with silent-movie actors who have been dead fifty or more years.

Case 3. L, a teaching assistant with the history department, began a recitation section to realize she could not recognize any of her students. More, they seemed unable to understand a word she said, and when she looked at the notes she had written on the whiteboard, they had turned into chemical engineering formulas. She began to panic as her advisor entered through the back door, but she was confused when her advisor was wearing a large bird costume. L is dreaming, and when she wakes should address her stress problems.

You see how much more effective this is when the warnings are chosen for relevance?

Trivia: The first recorded public-official recipient of a bribe in New Jersey was Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, royal governor of New Jersey (and New York) from 1703 to 1708. Source: Jerseyana, Marc Mappen.

Currently Reading: History of the Hour, Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum.


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