Thursday, October 4, 2012


I’ve told you about my harrowing experience regarding the theft of my iPhone in April, 2010. To recap: I was riding Light Rail, a Young Fool decided he would rather be in possession of an iPhone instead of me. He made off with mine, and I ended up in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. But that was only half of the story. To tell the rest of the story, I’ve invited my long lost friend, the iPhone, to fill you in.

I’m an iPhone. You’ve probably seen many of me around. I’m pretty popular. People have been known to line up for days to get me. I pretty much defined a whole new class of portable computing and entertainment devices. I’m old and retired now, but shortly before I decided to take that long-deserved rest, I had quite an adventure.

But let’s step back about a year and a half earlier. My siblings and I were part of what was known as the second generation. My older brothers and sisters from the previous year were getting a little long in the tooth, and there was that whole newer, faster telephone network to take advantage of. 3G. Third generation network on a second generation iPhone. I’m getting confused. Am I my own grandfather?

Hmm, well it appears that my friend iPhone is not really up to the task of telling his story, so I’ll have to step in here. When the original iPhone came out, just like many, I wanted one. Unfortunately, I was on a contract with my old-fashioned flip cell phone, and couldn’t take advantage of the initial iPhone offering. But a year later, I was ready, and I jumped at the chance to buy the next generation. Unfortunately, so did everybody else, and it became a difficult task to find a stock of iPhones unless you were willing to get up early, stand in line for hours and risk being told “Sorry, sold out!” just as you reached the head of the line.

I carefully watched the Apple Store web site and finally decided that a Sunday morning visit to the Arden Fair Apple Store was going to be my best bet at acquiring the treasured device. When I arrived the line was only about twenty deep, so it looked like luck was on my side. After about an hour wait for the store to open, and watching the line behind me grow, my prospects began to brighten. An Apple Store employee handed each of us early arrivals a ticket, essentially guaranteeing that we would get one of the elusive gadgets.

As I walked out of the store with my new phone activated, I couldn’t wait to try out all the features that I had been reading about. We hopped in the car, and took a drive up to Williams, to breakfast at Granzella’s Restaurant. The iPhone Maps application showed me exactly where we were, and for sake of adventure, we took the less-traveled route back home, just to see if it could keep up with us. It did not fail us.

Upon returning home, I began loading some of my vast music library onto it, and it soon became my constant companion, especially on my hour long commute to work via bus and train. Music, web, e-mail, books, video, games and other apps. It could do it all; the perfect distraction to whatever else was going on. Ah, my downfall. But you heard that, already. What you didn’t hear about was the iPhone’s continuing adventure, once it left my possession.

I’ll let iPhone tell you about it (dial tone). Hmm, it appears he’s worn out and apparently has gone to sleep. I don’t think he’ll mind if I continued.

I imagine he probably saw me through his camera lens as I fell, and he watched as the doors of the train closed and pulled away. He was on his way to parts unknown at a rapid pace.

His new master treated him roughly, punching at the screen, trying to get in some free long-distance calls. It was obvious he didn’t know his way around, and iPhone wasn’t talking.

But wait, now he was back on the Light Rail. Returning to the scene of the crime? How is that a good idea?

And now the Young Fool was back to his old tricks, harassing other passengers and generally making more trouble. iPhone had had enough, and decided to try psychic means of communication. Apparently, reaching me as I was suffering in the ER, he gave me the idea to have the phone service shut off. I asked my wife to call AT&T, she explained the loss, and they immediately cut off the phone service. My iPhone was gone, but at least I wouldn’t be accruing additional insult on top of injury.

iPhone’s psychic abilities only increased more once the distraction of listening for incoming calls went away, and he convinced Young Fool to get into a face-off with Big Burly, another passenger on the train. The two argued and exited the train, Big Burly pulled a gun on Young Fool, and shot him in the leg. Big Burly ran off into the neighborhood, and Young Fool waited for law enforcement to arrive. He was now the victim. Taking out iPhone, he stripped down his pants, and took two photos of his injuries on the back of his thigh.

When the police arrived, they noticed that some things didn’t quite add up. Young Fool was injured, but all he could talk about was “Where’s my iPhone. Where’s my iPhone?” The officer on duty recalled an earlier report about a Light Rail iPhone theft, and began putting two and two together, and discovered that the iPhone in Young Fool’s possession was not his own. Young Fool was arrested, and the iPhone was confiscated.

By this time, my wife and I were on our way home, when her cell phone rang. I answered it, and it was the Sacramento County Sheriff who recovered the phone. “I think we have your iPhone,” he told me. I was in shock. How was this even possible? He arranged to meet us at our home later that afternoon.

I called our son at home, to tell him the good news about the recovered phone. He had just seen a news report about a light rail incident in which a passenger had been shot by another. The report focused on the fact that the poor fellow was another victim of undeserved violence.

Meanwhile, iPhone was still trying to see justice served. He remembered the women from the train earlier in the day, and put it in her mind to contact the TV station and let them know there was more to the story than met the eye. Soon after iPhone reunited with me, a TV crew was at my house to hear the story of a theft, injury and recovery, and I, once a victim, was now the victor.


As I lay on the hospital bed in my first-ever visit to the Emergency Room, suffering from the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life, my distracted mind tried to piece together the events of the past two hours.

The late-April day started out just like any other, a pre-dawn bus ride to the Light Rail station, a short wait for the train, a seemingly innocent inquiry from another waiting passenger about my iPhone. A trip I’d taken literally thousands of times, with nothing worse than a few annoying loud talkers, minor delays, sometimes pleasant conversation, but often with me buried in a book, listening to music, generally ignoring the hubbub around me until I arrived safely at work.

Events that day began to take a turn when the young man who had earlier inquired about my iPhone began walking up and down the aisle of the Light Rail car, his long black trench coat flapping behind him, generally being annoying, and making loud references to his desire to make trouble. My response: push the earphones in deeper to block the distracting noise, then focus more intently on the web page I was perusing.

It was obvious that this was affecting the other passengers as well. The train operator made an announcement to the ride disruptor to cease or exit the train. Fortunately, he chose to exit at the next station, much to the relief of all. But, suddenly, he turned back to me, reached out his arm, and grabbed my iPhone. “I’ll take that,” were his words as he turned and began to exit. I sat in stunned silence for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality, could only have been one or two seconds. I decided to take action. I jumped out of my seat, grabbed for the phone, brushing the thief's arm, but failed to retrieve the stolen goods.

He succeeded in exiting the train, and I succeeded in falling to the floor, hard. After another seeming eternity, I picked myself up, fully embarrassed, and plopped back down into my seat, a partial set of destroyed earphones the only remaining evidence of being the former owner of an iPhone.

The train operator checked on my condition, and informed me that RT security had been contacted. Given the chance to stay there or move on, I elected to meet them at my destination.

My thoughts turned to my inability to communicate as I’d been accustomed. How was I to inform my wife of the incident? How was I going to replace my phone? Many thoughts ran through my head, all the while blocking out the fact that my left arm was hanging uselessly at my side.

The woman sitting across from me indicated that she was able to get a good description of the perpetrator. I thanked her, and in turn, explained to her that I thought my arm was broken, as I could not lift it on its own. Other passengers also inquired about my well-being, and I painfully endured the remainder of the ride to work.

Upon arriving at my destination, I was met by a Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy. He asked if I needed an ambulance, but I declined the offer, indicating I would contact my wife for assistance. He took my statement, as well as the statement of the witness, and in a few minutes I was safely into the building and at my desk.

My first call was to my wife, alarmed and annoyed to be hearing from me at 6:30 AM, as she was preparing herself to go to work. “My iPhone was stolen on the train, and I think I’ve broken my arm. I need you to pick me up and go to the hospital.” After the shock of my statement wore off, she began the preparations to meet me downtown. In the meantime, more time for me to reflect and suffer.

Luckily, only a few minutes later, a co-worker arrived. I explained the incident to him, and he immediately offered to drive me to the hospital himself. A quick call to my wife to advise her of the change of plans and we were on our way.

My co-worker dropped me off at the ER desk, ensured that I was going to receive the proper care, and returned downtown. I was rushed into a room and painkillers were administered but they had no effect. The doctor reviewed the X-rays and discovered that I had dislocated my shoulder, torn some tendons and experienced a small fracture as well.

By this time, my wife had arrived and was admitted to the room to be by my side. We were advised of the procedure that was necessary to repair my injury. I would be given anaesthesia, the same one administered to Michael Jackson that ultimately led to his death, a not quite comforting thought. However, when used properly, it had no side effects and was otherwise very effective. Then the doctor, a small, slight woman,  would pull my arm back into place while I was out.

My wife was asked to leave, I was knocked out, but came out of it almost immediately. I saw my wife, still in the room, and told her she was supposed to leave. She informed me that the procedure had already been completed, and the evidence was the immobilizing sling on my arm. I remembered nothing but the pain was gone.

I lay there, now on the road to recovery, still without my beloved iPhone, but thankful that my injuries were fixable. I was facing a few days off from work and a few weeks of physical therapy, but little did I know that my iPhone was having an adventure of its own.

But that’s another story.