This, as stated above, is an open letter to the person who stole my jacket. While I don’t know who you are exactly, you know who you are (I hope), and if you are the person who stole my jacket and are reading this, this open letter is directed at you (or someone who knows you and will turn you in).
If you stole a jacket and aren’t sure if my jacket is the one you took, let me offer a description: It was a red “letterman-style” jacket with white leather sleeves. On the inside pocket, it had the insignia of the Atlanta Falcons.
If you stole an Atlanta Falcons letterman-style jacket and aren’t sure if you stole mine — first of all, you are a crook and should be ashamed of yourself. Secondly, it was lifted from the recess jacket pile at Kincaid Elementary School in Marietta, in September 1977. I’m not sure of the date.
Since this theft occurred 36 years ago, I guess you thought you got away with it. Wrong, buster. I remember, and have spent 36-plus years sulking because of your pilfering and the pain and mental anguish it caused.
For instance, because some scumbag (yes, you) stole my jacket on the first day I wore it, and my parents had warned me about taking my winter jacket to school when it was 90 degrees, I had to suffer the punishment and humiliation of not having a winter coat that year. I had to freeze in the harsh Georgia winter with nothing but a windbreaker. My lips also became very chapped on occasion, which I blamed on you as well.
Of course, being a gutless, callous thief, I know that probably doesn’t stir much guilt in your hollow heart (or, if it does, just return the jacket, no questions asked).
You probably just thought that you would stealthily take my brand-new jacket from the pile, hide it for 36 years to get the cops off your trail, the statute of limitations would run out, and I would forget about it. Not so fast, my sticky-fingered friend.
I guess when you plotted this devilish plot, you didn’t take into consideration that I would finish elementary school, then go on to middle school, then high school, then college, major in journalism, work my way through the ranks of the newspaper business, until one day, I had my own syndicated newspaper column read by dozens each week, just so I could reach this very moment and call you out publicly for your evil deed.
Huh? What’s that? You didn’t think of that logical scenario? I guess your calculated little heist didn’t turn out the way you planned, now did it? Maybe you should have stole the jacket of the kid who became an accountant.
While still seething from your actions three decades ago, I offer this as an act of Christian love. If you return the jacket before the end of this winer, I will no longer use my power of the press to call you out and humiliate you, whoever you are, for the heinous act you committed. I will let bygones be bygones — unless I have to go through another winter without my jacket. Then I will toast your name, whatever it is, at every opportunity. Let this serve as your warning, and your invitation to do the right thing.
Also, if I merely forgot where I left my jacket 36 years ago, and it wasn’t stolen at all, please disregard this open letter and go about your life as usual.
Len Robbins is editor and publisher of the Clinch County News in Homerville. His column appears weekly.