This week’s Dudes reveals that burglary, like so many other things, is a skill best left to the adults.
There is a famous old saying, one that we have just now invented, that goes, “The young are exactly like you and me, only better looking.”
We who have attained a certain age are left to accept that, in place of beauty, we have gained two things: 1.) a hard-won wisdom forged in the heat of battle as the hammer and tong of experience have pounded on life’s sharp-edged anvil upon a storm-tossed sea; and 2.) the confidence to pepper our empurpled prose with mix-and-mismatch clichés.
Dudes in the News reports have amply demonstrated that middle-aged wisdom does not always translate into middle-aged success for middle-aged criminals. And yet the young, while enviably smooth of skin and glistening with innocence, almost always prove to be especially inept lawbreakers.
By way of example, three men, none past the tender age of 21, recently allegedly robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts on West Main Street in Hyannis, Massachusetts (population 15,391), the Cape Cod Times reported June 10.
They absconded with a paper bag seized from an employee’s purse. The men thought the bag contained cash.
Alas, it did not. Inside, instead, were donuts.
We are sad to note that the three—the fleetly named Nicholas Mercurio, 19, the sensibly named Lukas Peterson, 21, and the fancifully named Charles Iliffe, 20—did not distribute their inadvertent booty to those less fortunate than they: for example, the sugar-deficient children of the Hyannis area.
Had they done so, they would have found themselves in the rarified company of a man hailing from Bangladesh (pop. 158,570,535) who is known there as the “benevolent burglar.”
For decades, Badiul Haq Nasir, 45, has been a folk hero of sorts for donating some of the fruits of his many crimes to village orphanages and mosques in southeastern Bangladesh, according to a June 9 post on the AFP newswire (“A World of News”).
A police chief with the chattily Oscar-winning name of Babul Akhter told the AFP that Haq Nasir, apprehended recently, “is probably the most efficient burglar in the country. He can break any lock [and] get into any vault or gold shop by using a screwdriver and wrench.”
Plainly, Mr. Haq Nasir developed his burglary-related talents during the long years it took him to arrive at maturity. By contrast, the young Hyannis men, notwithstanding their admirable creativity, appear to have no burglary-related talents a’tall.
In what sounds like a harebrained Halloween scheme gone malevolent, one Dunkin’ Donuts robber wielded a hatchet, the other two knives. All three wore masks, according to a local police sergeant with the alliteratively swoony name of Thomas Twomey.
One wishes the Cape Cod Times account had included details about the masks. But, you see, Cape Cod is the playground of the wealthy and powerful East Coast establishment, including the Kennedys, that seemingly ill-starred family of American “royalty.”
These are the sorts of people whom Gore Vidal, writing under the pseudonym Edgar Box in a recently re-released 1952 mystery novel titled Death Likes it Hot, archly described as, “if not the pillars, at least the larger nails of the national community.”
Cape Cod, then, is likely busy enough to fill the reportorial dance card of C.C. Times correspondent Patrick Cassidy (no relation to former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, one of the many scions of that regal family). Perhaps this is why Mr. Cassidy was unable or unwilling to describe the Dunkin’ Donuts burglars’ masks in his otherwise informative dispatch.
While we empathize with the plight of overburdened reporters, this omission is disappointing. Messrs. Mercurio, Peterson, and Iliffe were creative enough to allegedly wield horror-film-style weapons, so it stands to reason they would have crafted incredibly inventive facial disguises.
What might these have been? Hockey-style masks, a la Jason in Friday the 13th? Rubbery George W. Bush masks or, depending on the young men’s politics, Barack Obama ones? Handheld cat-eye disguises of the type particular to upper-crust masquerade balls—the kinds of parties no doubt familiar to Cape Cod’s young and old alike?
Or did each of the men simply hold a hand in front of his face and pretend, as might a child, that nobody in the whole wide world could see him?
That we shall never know saddens a heart already made heavy by life’s sorrows. There is gladness, however, in the thought that perhaps some public-spirited member of the police force will leak the store’s security-camera video to YouTube.
Then might we see what the youth of today, East Coast burglary division, consider de rigueur disguises for illicit undertakings.
On a side note, it is not altogether odd that the young people of Hyannis should absorb themselves in mask-related arts-and-crafts projects, even ones in support of criminal enterprises. Statistics indicate that the median age in Hyannis is 38.8 years old—37.4 for men, 40.4 for women.
It is natural, then, that some Hyannis youngsters, bored out of their skulls amidst the stuffy and the uncool, would choose to pass the time flourishing sharp weapons, wearing bitchin’-looking homemade masks and robbing chain vendors who push sugary snacks.
Still, a crook’s life is an unworthy one for the world’s young. To foil future youthful Cape Cod criminal activity, then, we suggest that the good people of Hyannis come together to create enjoyable leisure activities for the town’s jaded youths.
These hobbies need not be “square” and therefore unattractive to young people. They could include wholesome modern pursuits such as playing board games, taking part in nighttime beach sing-alongs and, on special occasions, participating in drug-fueled three-day orgies, areas of especial expertise for at least some among the gorgeous young.
In deference to the bashful, however, the sex parties, if not the board games and sing-alongs, would, of course, be masked.
Dave Ford is a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in Spin, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly, The Advocate, and a host of other periodicals. He writes the blog First of All, and is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at various venues in his home city.
Illustration by Bion Harrigan. Bion Harrigan keeps his head firmly planted in the clouds and has done so since the earliest days of a youth misspent idly daydreaming, reading Mad magazine, and drawing scary monsters and super creeps. He continues to spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming and drawing at his home in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Other dudes, who, previously, have been “in the news”: