Stupid Is As Stupid Does


mailbox vandal prepped

Dear Outsidah,

First I have to say (the note began), the Chronicle humiliated me. “The first call came in at 3:19 a.m. Friday,” they said, “and the last call, so far, came in at 1:30 p.m. Friday.”

I feel badly, and I don’t know who to talk to. (At this point, the Outsidah would have pointed out, it’s “whom,” not “who.” But it was a note, not a phone call, so I couldn’t talk back.) I did start the whole vandalism spree in Ipswich on Thursday evening (the note continued), and yes, I confess, I wasn’t able to finish up until — as the Ipswich Police Department reported to the Chronicle, making me feel like a TOTAL FOOL — after 1:30 p.m. on Friday (my bad); the reason was, and I want to make this clear, I got a text from my stepsister in Haverhill and I was just, like, Please, could you bother me at some more opportune time? I’m doing vandalism here. In Ipswich! It has to be thought through, you know what I mean? You can’t just do random violence in an almost-377-year-old town! It’s indecent!

I know I was stupid. The Chronicle exposed me. 3:19 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They had to tell the world. (I’m like, What? Can’t you keep anything secret? Have you no decency?) Yes, I know. I can do the math. I’m not so strung out on meth that I can’t tell you: That’s 9 hours and 11 minutes. To mess up nine vehicles and 13 mailboxes, plus the big window at Family Dollar. That’s an average of 24 minutes per crime. Not very good time. It just didn’t go as fast as I expected. Some places, I looked at the mailbox and I was like, Aw, that’s a nice-looking mailbox, let me find a different one, and then sometimes I just couldn’t decide. Plus, a lot of those car windows are made of that almost-never-breaks kind of glass. I was using my crowbar, from my historic Gloucester Man-of-the-Sea Masculinity Kit, with authentic tools from the era when we sent our men out onto the ocean to harpoon whales and hook barrels of rum from abandoned slave ships, and even my crowbar would bounce off the windshield of a 2012 Honda Accord like a paddleball. One time I accidentally konked myself in the forehead.

Anyway, I feel badly about it now. I know I inconvenienced a lot of people in Ipswich. I have a friend who had a friend who used to stay with one of their friends in an apartment above the May Flower on Depot Square when he got kicked out by his parents, and my friend was like, This is a nice town, it’s a historic town, and they do good things, so if you’re going to go vandalizing, and breaking windows, do it somewhere else. He was like, vandalize Danvers. Vandalize Peabody. But don’t vandalize Ipswich. I have people there.

But I was like, Sorry, I was just coming up from Essex on 133 and got to the Ipswich line there at Down River Ice Cream and the speed limit goes down for no reason at all and something just came over me, and I was like, I’m gonna do me some vandalizing in this lower-speed-limit town. Smash up some lower-speed-limit cars. Then it got complicated: The glass wouldn’t break, I switched to mailboxes, I wasn’t really prepared to do mailboxes, it was just hard. I didn’t go to school for any of this, you know.

I was thinking next time I might try spray-paint, except I have absolutely no artistic talent. Egg-throwing? Public urination? I’m undecided. I want to make my mark, you know, but I guess I still haven’t really found what I’m best at.


2 thoughts on “Stupid Is As Stupid Does

  1. Nice venting about a sad situation…as a writer you are lucky to be able to do so and be creative at the same time. As a photographer it’s trickier. Photographing a smashed mailbox or a boarded up window doesn’t do it for me… so I did a bit of macro photography of some daffodills…still, I’m mad.

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