burglar fantasies.

I used to work with a guy who would brag that if a burglar broke into his house, he wouldn't know what to steal first. The point was that the guy had many valuable and hockable things, from fancy guns to media equipment. My coworker had an elaborate fantasy of a robber, dressed in all black with a hockey mask, entering each room in a state of building excitement, like Aladdin in the Cave of Wonders. He rubs his hands together as he tries to decide which thing to pilfer first.

I think we can all agree that this is an obnoxious thing to say in public.

I started thinking about someone breaking into my house, and I also concluded that any would-be burglar would find himself at a loss as to where to focus his efforts. In my fantasy, he comes into the living room and then just stops, not excited but confused. He looks first to the obvious grabs, but the TV and stereo are so ancient, the thrift store wouldn't accept them. Then he starts looking around at everything else. He slowly rotates in place, his eyes scanning the room for something to go into his special burgling sack (with his name embroidered on it).

Gumball machine (with gumballs)
piggy bank made from old post office box
mid-90s TV
Antique scientific scale

Though his burgling eye is trained to quickly pick out the valuables among the clutter, he's frankly not quite sure what each of the things even are.

WW II dummy cartridge
1934 encyclopedia set
half-size scuba helmet reproduction
GE Custom Decorator
mid-80s stereo receiver with turntable
Huge three-armed lamp
Giant schoolroom map of South America

And even when he can figure out what an item is, he's not entirely sure whether it's valuable. He can tell from a glance at a video game console how much he can get at Crazy Larry's pawn shop, where they don't ask questions. But what would a gumball machine be worth? He is not sure that even Larry is that crazy.

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Giant beaker
Globe of moon
Standing globe of Earth
Lamp made from a fire extinguisher

Even the things he think might be worth something are so oddly-shaped that it's probably not worth it at all. But he's not sure, because he's never had to price a sarcophagus before. Is it real? Is it haunted? Does that make it worth more?

And the answer is that none of it is worth anything at all. His best bet would be to sell the fire extinguisher lamp for the copper. But he'd have to haul it out of there, and it's heavy and has a lamp on it. Our collection combined is probably worth less than one of my coworker's fanciest guns. He was proud because he could make a criminal salivate. I'm proud to just confuse the heck out of him, to make him stop short and wonder what was the matter with these people.

I am being just as obnoxious as my coworker was. My identity is wrapped up in having weird things, rather than expensive ones. We both think that our stuff says something positive about us. It does, but the stuff probably doesn't say as much as our pride in it does. The best thing is probably just to keep our burglar fantasies to ourselves.

Besides, before the thief would even get to the sarcophagus, the pitbull would find him. He probably knows what to do when he sees one of those.

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