The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, November 21, 2003  

Face Facts

Whoa, flashback! A neighbor of Andrew Northrup of the Poor Man owns a Jeep Wrangler and the neighbor is angry because his Wrangler recently was -- get this -- “vandalized”! (Click through the link, if only to see the flyer.)

Now, as best I can recall, Northrup lives in Washington, D.C.,* a city I called home for 11 years, during five of which I also owned a Jeep Wrangler.

And now he, the neighbor, not Northrup, is distributing flyers. Threatening flyers.

“Vandalized” and you’re passing around flyers?


Please, that was the least of my problems.

Until I obtained, first, almost-uncuttable cables, and second, a hood lock, and third, an off-street, gated, and locked parking space monitored 24/7 by cameras and security guards, the battery from my Wrangler was stolen four times. Four times, that is, preceding all of the aforementioned precautions, before this idiot (that would be me) started lugging the battery back into his apartment each and every time he parked the Jeep on the street.

What else?

Well, the driver’s side of the Jeep was “keyed” no more than two weeks after I bought the damned thing.

The stereo was stolen, even though the face plate was securely stowed in my living room.

The ignition system was destroyed twice, presumably as a result of attempts to steal the vehicle.

The “windows” (which are made of plastic) were slashed three times, and the “roof” (which is made of nylon) was cut open twice.

The gas cap was stolen twice and gasoline pulled from the tank at least once before I got a lock for that.

The license plates were pried off twice, both the temporary tags and the first set of “permanent” tags.

And a used condom was found in the back seat one morning after I just said the hell with it and stopped locking the Jeep at night.

Look, the Wrangler is a really great vehicle. Tons of fun. I loved it. But if you live in a large city and you park your Wrangler on the street, or anywhere near the street, any street, well, you’re just asking for it. Trust me, I know.

And owning a gun, as Northrup’s neighbor brags he does, won’t help you one bit, no matter what the perpetually clueless say.

*[Post-publication addendum (November 24): I made a mistake. Northrup writes to tell me he is not based in Washington, D.C. He writes from Austin, Texas. That might explain the whole gun thing. Or not.]

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