On the surface, the very notion of revenge is indeed a seductive and delicious temptress. Righting the wrongs while punishing those guilty in the process seems like a win/win for everyone involved, doesn’t it? Don’t kid yourself, we’ve all been there before, and I’m pretty sure the burning desire to “get one over” on someone who has screwed us over seems to be a natural component to human nature itself.
A quick disclaimer: I’m by no stretch a literary mastermind, or even have a grasp of geopolitical knowledge above that of your average third grader. Despite my terrible credentials, it’s my personal opinion that it seems like the country as a whole is engulfed inside a constantly burning cycle of revenge thirst. If you are present on Twitter at all, there’s almost an hourly call to cancel a mouthy brand or some random dude who pointed out that a few of the newest batch of Pokemon are aggressively phallic. At almost all times, we have a constant stream of Old Testament mentality going on out there:
“Welp, they killed that Iran dude, so I guess it’s high time we bombed them”
“You are fucking up my Call Of Duty ratio, noob! The police are on their way!”
“But… her emails!”
Revenge has many faces, not unlike a He-Man villain. The call to revenge (and initial planning) is one of the first emotions we cycle through when processing unexpected loss. Acting upon these urges are usually the wrong answer, as it becomes nothing more than two opposite forces locked inside a battle of mutually assured destruction. We should always strive to be better (or just #BeBest) than acting on our initial anger and lust for revenge, because it’s just gonna end badly.
Now, with that proper introduction out of the way, here’s my own hilarious story about revenge:
Back when I lived in the Belmar area (long before it was “Belmar: Million Dollar Apartments Built Atop the Ashes of a Mall” ), I always kept a few vehicles on hand since everything I owned seemed to crap out on me on a constant basis. I was really busy back then, and I always needed a backup to make sure I could get to work and band practice. I had a sweet motorcycle and I was on my third poorly maintained Volkswagen Bug. Between these two vehicles, I managed to make it to my day job and rehearsals around 65% of the time. Neither of these two rides were glamorous (or comfortable) by any stretch, but it was nice that I lived in an apartment complex that had plenty of parking. Public parking lots have one caveat though: they are out in the open and available to predators, long before everybody carried a wiretap/vertical video only/social shaming camera on them at all times. Back then, we all just carried pagers, which were like, really useful for doing something important with pay phones.
On one cold and dark night, someone decided to break into my Volkswagen and relieve me of the wealth I was clearly flaunting. As the sun was rising, I walked out to my car and my heart sank as I noticed that the driver’s side door was left ajar. Some assclown broke into my car and stole my Blaupunkt CD player, a giagantic soft case of CD’s, and all of my tools. In case you were wondering, an old VW is the easiest car in the universe to break into. I’ve seen YouTube videos of four year olds that can hit the door in just the right spot, and POP! the door swings wide open. As this was my third Beetle, I was well versed in how shitty the locks on this car were, and I shouldn’t have been leaving anything in there as it was basically the same as throwing my possessions out on the lawn with a “FREE” sign pointed at them.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had someone nefarious break into your property, but I can personally confirm that it is indeed really shitty. It breaks your spirit and makes you seriously question your faith in humanity. Your heart races, your breathing becomes rushed, and you feel sick to your stomach. You ask yourself why this had to happen to you and what you ever did to deserve such a fate as this. The worst part about theft is the overwhelming feeling of being lost, scared and alone. It’s like a fountain of youth that sucks.
As I looked around my emptied car, I found a flashlight that got left behind and then realized I had actual physical evidence that could be used to convict someone! I’ve seen a few episodes of C.S.I. so I know the drill: You take a snapshot of a fingerprint, feed it into a giant computer that instantly cycles through holograms of thousands of suspects before finding your criminal and police are then dispatched to arrest the perpetrator and return all your Spin Doctors to you.
But in the real world, when you call the police you are put on hold for twenty minutes and then are eventually told to fuck right off. The only advice they give you is to total up the loss of property and then try to put a claim through with your insurance company, meaning you have to pay a deductible to get your own stuff back. No actual investigation is warranted, and not even a single patrol officer will be dispatched to the scene of the crime. It’s almost as if the police know how terrible your taste in music is already and refuse to investigate it any further. The final slap in the face to this whole situation? This fucker thief had enough time during his fearless caper to pull out CD’s he didn’t want to steal and left all my Smash Mouth albums on the passenger seat. This might sound like I’m bullshitting you, but the person that robbed me was an asshole, but he was an asshole that was very picky about their taste in music.
I lost around real 75 CD’s (this was before the CD-R ripping was a thing) and at the time I was a member of the Colombia House Music Club which means my $40 copy of Use Your Illusion I was definitely in there. I lost a ton of music, but I was really angry about not having that specific CD player anymore. Back in the day, Blaupunkt made a nearly bulletproof CD player that could handle the “handling and ride qualities” of a 35 year old economy car. It took a lot of trial and error to find a player that was hardy enough not to skip obnoxiously as I traveled in a straight line over pavement that had the occasional pebble on it. The tools that were also stolen were a hodgepodge mix of stuff I’d collected from working on my first Volkswagen I bought when I was 15 and were the least of my concerns, and I laughed thinking about that guy trying to get three dollars for the oiliest ratchet set imaginable.
As I hung up with the police, who were less than helpful and realizing that the Hamburglar had just taken all my stuff with absolutely no legal repercussion, is about the moment the Revenge Monster got a hold of me. I turned into a furnace of biting, fuming, erupting rage directed at some dickhead who was long gone and probably getting turned on to some really good progressive metal. I was going to get this guy back, or at the very least I was going to get the next fucker who made the mistake of fucking with me or my defenseless car that had the same level of security as a Playskool Mobile.
I would have my revenge!
I had heard stories of people in similar situations becoming proactive about securing their property, and they always push the importance of a good booby trap. This notion became more important to me than buying another CD deck with a detachable face or something. THAT ANSWER WAS TOO EASY, BECAUSE SOMEBODY MUST PAY! So I went with Plan A instead of taking the easier path of pacifism: I would buy a new deck and I would super glue razor blades around the entirety of the deck.
And it wasn’t just a few blades either, I completely covered that bastard, making it almost impossible to hold in my hands to show others how “I was gonna fuck a dumb bastard up”. I also wrote some rather profane things on the sides too, hoping that the next thief in line would sit there in the dark and decide to read the angrily scrawled messages on the side and realize “he was bleeding to death you stupid fuckstick” indeed. My new CD player was reborn as a repurposed weapon of death. It was a piece of electronics that would survive the apocalypse and rack up more kills than Aaron Hernandez.
In other words, respect the deck.
…and from this point on, my entire plan began to go south, very fast. It would turn out that the “trying to squeeze a barely large enough to fit into an opening that was too small for it already but now the object you are cramming in there is covered in razor sharp bullshit” plan was not very well thought out. As I struggled to fight getting the body of the deck into the dash my hand slipped across the fourth row of razor blades on the right side, sawing my middle finger down to the bone and taking down a few important arteries along the way. The new step to my plan was to then go to the emergency room to get stitches where my finger was almost removed. When the doctor asked me what I was doing when I got injured, I felt a little too embarrassed to explain that I had almost lost a finger to my own dumb booby trap, so I told him I was a shark trainer. The only licensed shark trainer in Denver, Colorado.
When I got home, I went back to my Beetle and started wiping up the bloody mess I had left behind and started to take off a few of the rows of blades to ease with installation as I now tried to get it into the dash while wearing ski gloves. Somehow, I managed to cram the CD player into the dash without further injury, and it ended up a little crooked in the slot but at that point I wasn’t gonna mess with it any further. I put my only CD left, Fush Yo Mang into the player and then blissfully rocked the fuck out knowing I had a fully baited trap ready to go and that vengeance would finally be mine!
…until about a week later, when all those razor blades pressed up against all the wires inside a vibrating car began to not get along with each other. The blades managed to cut through most of the main wiring harness and other components inside the dash. Everything died, all the fucking fuses blew, and there was no more electrical power to anything. I had to call a tow truck transport my Bug to the mechanic to replace and rebuild all of the wiring while tiptoeing around a blood-soaked pinata covered in razor blades.
Not only did I lose all my music, my good deck and my trust in people, but I followed up this loss with costs incurred from buying another deck, a hospital visit, a tow and finally, an extensive repair. It would seem that my vain attempt at “getting back” at the evil in this world was not one of my smarter ideas, and the cost of revenge ended up being far more expensive than the initial loss.
Since then, I’ve just pulled the face off the stereo when leaving my car. If I’m feeling lazy, sometimes I’ll just leave my Zune in the passenger seat as theft deterrent. Ain’t anybody breaking into the car of a Zune owner, as their life is clearly bad enough as it is.
It turns out it’s true what they say -“An eye for an eye makes the world a pirate meme”