Monday, May 20, 2013
POLICE: 911, what is your emergency?
VICTIM: My car! Someone just stole my car! I had my wife and kids in the car, and some guy just ran up with a gun and forced us all out and stole my car!
POLICE: All right, calm down.
VICTIM: But he's got my car! I can see him driving away!
POLICE: It's okay. We see this a lot these days. Frankly, you shouldn't have been driving around in public with your car. That's just asking for somebody to steal it. What you should do is keep your car in your garage so no one takes it.
VICTIM: But-but I need to drive my car around! That's why I have a car! Anyway, forget how it happened! The guy's turning the corner! I need someone out here! He's driving west on Elm Street--
POLICE: Okay, sir, please calm down. Here's what you need to do. I'm going to give you a website. It has a live feed of street cameras. What you need to do is watch those feeds until you spot your car. Then you can find out where the car thief is going, and tell whoever is at that location when he gets there not to let him park his car there. Then when he goes somewhere else, do the same thing--
VICTIM: What? Wait a minute, you mean I have to find this guy? Why can't you do it? You're the police.
POLICE: Securing your car is your responsibility, sir, not mine. We don't have the manpower to track down every stolen car.
VICTIM: But I can't spend the rest of my life watching a computer for my car!
POLICE: Well, there are many companies that will monitor the streets and notify you when they spot your car. The point is, you'll need to find wherever the thief tries to park your car and get the parking lot to deny him access. That way, you won't get any tickets or parking fees that he might get you charged with.
VICTIM: But he'll still have my car!
POLICE: Well, I mean, the reality is that he has your car. There's not much we can do about that. You just need to minimize the damage. If you want your car back, here's what you need to do. Go find a flashlight and start going around, inspecting every car. When you find your car, let us know, and we'll arrest the driver. If we can get there in time. Good luck!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Now I have toddlers, and they watch shows like "Lunar Jim" and "Dora the Explorer," and are always asking, "Is that real?" "Is this real?" And I have to explain what is real (yes, porcupines are real), and what's not (no, people can't breathe on the Moon).
I realized that Mister Rogers knew that children struggled to understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and that TV shows could blur the line. That's why, on his show, he always made it clear what was make-believe and what was real.
Thank you, Mister Rogers.