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The Top Ten Things I Overheard While At Syracuse - #4

I have a lot of funny, weird and disturbing memories from my time at Syracuse University ('96 - '00) that span many different places, events and situations. But all of them have one thing in common...someone uttered words before, during or after each of them. And so, I'd like to take this opportunity to remember my favorite utterances and what made them so memorable. At best, you'll find these explanations and stories as noteworthy as I do. At worst, you'll recognize a campus building that I reference in passing and think to yourself, "Hey, I too remember that building and I now feel as though I have some common ground with this fellow."

Previous entries include:

#10 -
"Can we just come inside and look around?"
#9 -
"Say your name, where you’re from and say your wrestling name."
#8 -
"Okay, all we need is your passport and you're all set."
#7 - "You know why."/"What high school did you go to?"
#6 -
#5 - "So horrifying, so macabre..."

This week...

#4 - "Someone broke in...everything's gone."

Ironically, on the day I was considering telling the story about the time my South Campus apartment was broken into I found a news alert in my inbox about a rash of recent South Campus apartment break-ins.
Three student apartments on South Campus' Small Road were broken into early Friday morning. These break-ins, in addition to two others last weekend, total five burglaries on Small Road in six days.
It's eerily reminiscent to what happened to my roommates and I in the Great South Campus Winter Break Robberies of '98.*

*Not actual name of the chain of events. In fact, I'm not entirely sure there was a "chain" to even necessitate a name.

Sophomore year, I'm living with two guys (no homo) on Lambreth Lane in the South Campus. We're on the bottom floor of one of those eight-apartment, doom and gloom, death camp-looking buildings. There's my roommate from Bermuda, whom we'll call Bermuda, my roommate Tom, whom we'll call Tom and myself. There's also a cat in there, but you weren't supposed to know that (and neither was SU housing...shhhh....the reach of their mighty arm is long and vengeful).

In the common area we had that generic dining room table in corner, two coaches in the other corner, a TV, a PlayStation, a Stereo and tons of CDs (remember those?). There was also a collection of themed, festive hats but that's neither here nor there. In Tom's and my room, a computer on our desks, which we used to type our papers and to log in to the Syracuse email system which was named for various Godzilla monsters. Ooh, look, I'm on the Gamera server today...yippie!


We head home for Winter Break, Bermuda goes back to Bermuda, Tom to his home in Syracuse and myself back to Jersey. We leave the aforementioned items as-is and assume that the crack Syracuse safety patrol will protect our goods.

Now, if you've ever lived in any of these apartments you know that there is no real security system in place (or at least there wasn't back then). The front doors have locks and the sliding glass door has a flimsy lock that can usually be dislodged with an appropriate jimmying. That's why you were instructed to use extra precautions when protecting your apartment while you were away. Thankfully, SU armed you with the most powerful tool in it's arsenal, a tool so mighty that it's mere sight alone would deter criminals in a heartbeat.

It was a stick of wood. And you put it in between the glass door and the wall. Good luck with that.

Of course, the mighty stick of justice is only as good as it's positioning. And of course, we were working under the assumption that the stick of justice would be just as powerful on the floor behind our couch as it would be jammed tightly into the window pane. We were sadly mistaken.
Only a few days into my vacation, Tom gave me the call. He had stopped by the apartment in order to check on a few things. His instincts seemed to serve him well as he opened the front door to find the back door ajar. And the TV missing. And the PlayStation missing. and the CDs missing. And his computer missing. And my computer missing.

"Somebody broke in...everything's gone."

I'd love to tell you that my initial reaction was "What about the festive hats?" but that would be a lie. I wasn't concerned with the festive hats at all. I was concerned with the work saved on my computer that was now gone. I was concerned with my CD collection which included all of my favorites and none of which I had backed up. I was concerned with the PlayStation and our copy of FIFA '96 which had taught me all about the magic of the Beautiful Game but would teach me no more.

But, and here's the funny thing, I would soon learn that this was the best thing that ever could have happened to me.

I have State Farm insurance. I've had it since I got my first car and I have it to this day. Whenever someone asks me if I want to get a quote from another insurance company, I always politely decline. And this is why... I told State Farm what had happened. They told me to itemize each of the items. What kind of computer was it, what were the programs on it, how old was it? What kind of PlayStations was it? What games did you have? And then there was the CD predicament...I figured I'd just give them a number or a dollar amount and that would be that. Nope, instead they asked me to list them. All my CDs. Exactly which ones I had. And there was no way for them to double-check. I could literally write down any 120 CDs I wanted and that's what they would send to me. And so I did. And so they did. I got the 120 CDs.

It's amazing how many Greatest Hits CDs I owned at the time (coughcough). I got a brand new version of my computer complete with some fancy new thing called a DVD player and a free subscription to this thing called Netflix (the first DVD I ever watched?
Lost in Space. Yikes. The second DVD I ever watch? Cube. Highly recommended.) Got a brand new TV, brand new PlayStation, brand new games. About the only thing I didn't get was brand new festive hats. But I didn't new brand new festive hats. I had my old festive hats. Which were just fine.

So is the moral of the story not to cry for those people who got their South Campus apartments broken into? Well, only if they have State Farm insurance, I guess. Otherwise, you should probably cry for them.
And buy them a festive hat. Everyone loves a festive hat.

Funny aside, about a year later Tom got a call one day from a family friend who had recently purchased a used computer from a Syracuse-area computer store. When they booted it up and checked the properties, they found that the computer had previously belonged to Tom. It was the one that had been stolen from him the year before.

His stolen computer was slowly but surely making its way back to him. How cute is that? Never underestimate the love of a Dell 3600, people. Sha-la-la-la.