Al Capone Got Off Easy

In April of 1986, Geraldo Rivera duped us into watching for hours as his crew carefully cracked open Al Capone’s long lost safe. None of which made Capone the least bit nervous, mostly because he had been dead for 39 years. I was not so lucky.

There are dangers lurking in your parents’ basement. Namely, long forgotten remnants of your childhood which have been inexplicably preserved. And so I was surprised last weekend to get a call from my young nephew wanting to know the combination to my childhood safe that he had found in Grandpa’s cellar. Surprised because I really couldn’t believe the thing still existed. Not so surprised that I no longer had any recollection of the combination. I did however, remember that these things were pretty easy to break into as I used to open my sister’s just to annoy the snot out of her. It’s what brothers do.

So I suppose it was only fair that she cracked mine open now. But I really had no idea what she would find. I couldn’t even recall when the last time was I used it or had even seen it. Was I 8 or 18? Not a clue. I couldn’t remember keeping anything embarrassing in there, but then I really couldn’t remember what I kept in there at all. This could be bad.

The drama was further drawn out when she emailed me early in the week to tell me she had gotten it open, but found the contents pathetic, and sealed it back up. She wasn’t going to tell me more. (It was easier when she used to just get even by whacking me with her stupid baton.)

It’s now a week later and I finally sit, somewhat nervously, with the safe before me. Picking it is as easy as I recall. But opening the door, I’m somewhat horrified to find sitting on the top shelf… a pocket protector, stuffed to capacity with all manner of pens and pencils. On the bottom shelf, an old Band-aid can containing spare pencil lead, pen refills, and additional writing implements. My spare clip, in case I needed to reload.

I’m apparently a significantly bigger dork than I realized. In retrospect, I’m kinda wishing it was stuffed with old centerfolds. It might have been less embarrassing.

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