As a follow-up to my near-death experience chronicled in last week's column, I'm writing a letter to my car-jackers, providing them with an opportunity to succumb to the spirit of the holidays and do the right thing.
As for me fear soon turned to anger, and anger gave way to the all-powerful Christmas spirit. And, in line with the Christmas spirit, I want to offer Clayton County's newest folk music fans an opportunity to redeem themselves.
I'm not sure how well read the two guys are, but, as evidenced by how my press pass had been jacked around, they know who I am and know where I work.
I'm hoping that their curiosity prompts them to pick up a newspaper. If not, I'm hoping someone may know a neighbor or family member or someone who suddenly had a white Dodge Neon for a few days and may pass this note along to them.
Dear Mr. and Mr. Car-Jacker,
Life is a series of forks in the road, one after another after another. Let me be blunt and present a fork of my own.
Scavenging through my cluttered compact car, you managed to swipe many things, while leaving others. I thank you for leaving what you did.
I have a proposition, an opportunity, for you both. You can set the gun aside and choose the right path. You can do the right thing and never hear from me again.
Of the objects tossed aside and left in my car, you didn't steal my Oakley sunglasses. You did, however, steal my nieces itty bitty pink cardigan sweaters.
You know where I live. You know where I work. Just a few graphs below are ways to contact me in case you forgot.
Somehow drop off the pink sweaters, and I'll trade you the sunglasses.
I understand pink may be your color. My girlfriend has quite the obsession with pink. Still, I assure you that the sunglasses are much cooler and are worth much more than the pink sweaters.
On another note, let's talk about this whole gun thing.
I'm 5-foot-10 and 130 pounds. A high school freshman could take me in a fight, much less two guys of your size.
But, since a gun, similar to the one my grandmother used to have, empowers you and emboldens you to such incredible feats as pushing around a guy of my stature, let me issue another challenge in case you don't go for the trade.
Since you feel you can do anything, I challenge you to call my nieces and explain to them why Uncle Greg's presents won't be under the tree when they wake up Christmas morning.
Again, you know how to reach me. I'll give you their phone number, so you can call.
You can rip my life apart by thrusting a gun into my chest, but I bet you're not strong enough to answer either of my challenges.
In the end, you'll continue to check over your shoulder and wonder if the cops are on your tail. Each time you rock out to the Tejano beats of David Garza and modern folk stylings of Wes Cunningham you'll wonder if you're giving yourself away. And, when your bling bling loses its shine from the many-sizes-too-small pink sweaters, I'll still be here living in my house and driving my car.
I'll continue to be me. I'll continue to be the "nice guy." And the thought of me and my nieces will continue to haunt you.
Like the kid in the John Cusack flick "Better off Dead," bellowing throughout, "I want my $2," my voice will perpetually ring in your head, "I want my two pink sweaters."
That being said... Flash forward to the present.
First falling victim to car-jackers, I then fell victim to "the man." My good friends the car-jackers fell for the deceptive glamour of the scuffed up, dingy base model Dodge Neon, but days later abandoned the vehicle, taking a random assortment of my belongings.
With its recovery, things began looking up and nightmares began to subside, yet I was robbed once again.
Anxious to claim my car from the impound, I was again shaken and slapped back into reality, remembering that nothing is easy and nothing good comes cheap. I actually had to pay to get my stolen car back. The victimization continued and my drama crept on. Impounding isn't only for illegally parked cars. It's also for recovered stolen cars, and I had to pay to get my car out of impound. Explain that one to me.
As last week, I refuse to end on a downer.
Let me commend the street cops of the Clayton County Police Department. I would venture to say that two patrol cars were at my door within an incredible 90 seconds of my call. Their first concern? To make sure I wasn't shot or injured in some way. I commend and thank officers L.C. White and J.D. Ussery.
Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.