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Dear Water Hose Thief,

I hope this letter finds you well and I trust you are making good use of the water hose you stole from me a couple of days ago.

You may find this interesting that the book I’m currently reading, The Daily Stoic, says I should put aside my frustration and anger and try to put myself into your mindset in an attempt to understand what you did and why you did it.

Try to look at life through the mind of the person who wronged you, the great philosophers taught.

Unfortunately, and I hope Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus can forgive me, I can’t work it out in my mind why of all the things you would steal it would be a water hose.

Perhaps you were in dire need of a mechanism in which to water your garden. Perhaps you needed it to fill the younglings' wading pool.

And forgive me for being highly judgmental, but perhaps there were more nefarious reasons you needed it — your growing operation? Water torture? I don’t know but it seems an odd thing to pilfer. Or perhaps you’re simply a clepto who has no regard for the property of others, no matter how trivial that item might be.

Perhaps you were just envious that I had a decent water hose. But envy, greed, and lust for things that don’t belong to you lead to the Dark Side and my belief is you are well upon your way to joining the Sith.

I had bought the water hose for my mom when she was still driving. It was an extra long hose that would reach to the carport and beyond so she could at least rinse off her car now and then — much longer than the one she currently has.

I would say in the world of water hoses it was a good hose — $45 or so worth of hose.

Well, since she no longer drives, I figured I could ask her if I could use it. She, of course, agreed and for the better part of a month it was in the trunk of my car.

That is until this past Sunday rolled along and I decided it was time to give my car a good handwashing.

I must say, dear Water Hose Thief, the hose you stole from me did its job as it was originally designed to do — something by now you probably realize.

Of course, the elbow grease I applied in its cleaning didn’t hurt and after getting the outside cleaned, a job that makes me believe I could enter the world of car detailing, I tackled the inside and I must say I was pleased with the results.

Before going to vacuum the car, I carefully rolled the hose around the hose holder that was already at my place.

I had slight reservations about doing this but then I thought, “No one steals water hoses.”

I thought no more that I would be the target of thievery, that is until I left for city council Tuesday and happened to notice it was gone.

Wow! Who steals a water hose?

I lightheartedly told the police chief about it. I told him something to the effect of selling a water hose would only get you a tiny rock of crack and he said it’s not usually something a drug dealer would take in trade.

It’s not like a catalytic converter which is full of precious metals.

So the mystery remains and, dear thief, I would gladly like to sit down and talk to you about why you decided my water hose was ripe for the taking. If your argument was compelling enough — you know, your garden needs watering and the garden was the only source of food for your family — I might even forgive you and tell you to keep it.

Unfortunately, the criminal minds at work in the Roanoke Valley would probably never have the moxie to admit the error of their ways and like my car stereo stolen in the 90s, it’s unlikely I will ever lay eyes on that water hose again.

So, dear Water Hose Thief, as I said earlier, I sincerely hope that you’re getting good use from my water hose and that you’re using it for meaningful purposes like a community garden or making sure the young’uns’ slip and slide is good and slick.

And I hope, dear thief, as you’re driving around town, eyes glued to your seemingly permanently attached cell phone, you might by chance see this letter and think better of what you did.

In the way of the great stoic philosophers, I will grant you forgiveness.


Lance L. Martin

PS - I will probably be getting a new hose soon and will be buying a reel for it, which will be kept inside from now on so don’t bother trying to steal it again.