An Ounce of Prevention …

It was a Monday morning. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. The clock radio read 9:35. I did a little math, almost eight hours of sleep. Not bad. I reached for my smartphone and had a nice guided meditation with my man Deepak and his meditation app.
     As I brushed my teeth, I pondered the morning’s music selection: Brubeck? Nick Drake? NPR? I heard a faint tapping. Was that a knock? I decided not to answer. Whoever it was, at 10 a.m. on a Monday, was not getting my attention. Curiosity got the better of me, however, and I stepped out to the front room for 
a look.
     A silver SUV was parked in my driveway. The driver, passenger, and the knocker drove off as I peered through the lifted blind. Their car made no other stops on the street. I wondered if some touring band was dropping by, perhaps a campaign of some sort? Was my lawn to be ripped up for sewer maintenance?
     I opened the door to investigate. The Jehovah’s Witnesses had stopped by to inform me, via flyer, that I needed to study the Bible. “Since when do Jehovah’s Witnesses only visit one house?” I wondered. Was I a special case? Did my house give off the appearance of holding an overt heathen in need of saving? I felt my nerves begin to jangle. I thought of the recent 
break-ins nearby.
     I began to freak out. The Witnesses were going to drive back by to see if I had opened my door to the message of Jesus. If I hadn’t, they were going to kick it in and take my stuff! I had errands to run. Should I stay or should I go? I made a list: Kroger, bank . . . East Side Gun Shop? What would I do if someone kicked my door in? Brain them with the cast iron skillet? Go broadside to the head with the Les Paul bass? I felt myself spiraling from Chopra to O’Reilly. The phrase “cold dead hands” came to mind. Was there a militia I could join? Maybe I could be in charge of the manifesto? 
     I took a few deep breaths. I reckoned that if someone were to kick my front door in, I would quickly exit out the back. I decided I did not want a gun for the same reason that I do not want a motorcycle. I began my errands. 
     As I washed the sap from Frank Sinatra Junior’s exterior, I thought about calling the police. I sat in the car and dialed the nonemergency number. I was informed that due to higher than normal call volume, my hold time would be in excess of 10 minutes. Were the Jehovah’s Witnesses ripping and running through Inglewood? Were concerned citizens jamming the phone lines?
     When I returned to my little cottage, I knew what this column would be about. I thought about us, East Nashville. I thought about the recent muggings and the robberies. I got journalistic. I called the East Precinct and had a very informative and thought-provoking conversation with a police officer. I called my local councilperson. 
     I have astute observations: We live in an exploding neighborhood in a booming city. There is more money in East Nashville now than there has been since they started bottling the Lockeland Spring. Thieves see money, and they want to take it. There are criminals in the world. Should we live in fear? Should we allow hysteria and paranoia to govern our behavior? 
     The simple answer is absolutely not. Treat yourselves and your neighbors with respect. Keep an eye out. If you go out for a good time, don’t leave the bar alone and walk home at 3 in the morning. Inventory your valuables. Make a list of serial numbers so that you can identify your property in the event of theft. When walking to or from your car, scan your surroundings. Get your head out of the phone and pay attention. Thieves like surprise. Don’t give it to them. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
     See you around the neighborhood, East Nashville! I hope you have a happy, healthy, peaceful, and joyous holiday season. 
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