Family Matters

The thoughts of a husband, father, brother and son

Archive for the tag “Crime and Punishment”

Being Mugged by the World’s Worst Mugger?

Things have been very quiet as far as the Very Precious Daughter (VPD) is concerned for the last couple of months.

As a parent, this is a Good Thing.  As a blogger, this is a Bad Thing.  I’ve written before about how I thought the VPD could be relied on supply me with endless potential material, but how she is letting me down.

This week, she has been like a complacent super-group coming out of semi-retirement to make an unexpectedly pleasing album.  There has been a return to form.

Last Saturday she “basically” got mugged.  “Basically” what happened was as follows:

  • she went on a big night out, and stayed over at an old school friend’s house;
  • the next morning, she got on the tube to go home;
  • this apparently sophisticated inhabitant of one of the world’s great cities managed (a) to get on the train going in the wrong direction, and (b) to fall fast asleep;
  • she woke at the end of the line to find that she had been relieved of her passport, bank cards, Oyster card, money and other things.

Now it may be my highly-refined sixth sense, but I suspect that the big night out did involve the dreaded Vodka, but didn’t involve much sleep.

The VPD is very lucky in that when things like this happen, she has access to a service called VOAM – Victims of Avoidable Misfortune.  This provides the following:

  • a 24 hour helpline;
  • her own dedicated case worker;
  • emergency funds;
  • consolation and advice.

The VOAM service was able to identify very helpfully that the most urgent thing on this occasion was not, as the VPD thought, to find something to replace her passport as a means of proving her age when trying to access London’s vast array of pubs, clubs and bars, but to make sure that her identity wasn’t stolen.  It also supplied some cash and some useful information.

The VOAM service also trades under the name of her dad.

Taking some consolation from the fact that for a couple of weeks at least, she would no longer have access to London’s vast array of pubs, clubs and bars, and wondering also why her phone hadn’t been stolen, I left her to it.

Then yesterday a miracle happened.  Everything turned up.

There are three possible explanations.

THEORY A

Like Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the thief became consumed by guilt.  His conscience – that thing which separates us from the animals and provides one of the strongest arguments for the existence of a god – gnawed away at him, causing sleeplessness, delusions and endless torment.  Eventually, after six days of living hell, he could take no more.  He presented himself to the authorities.  He not only asked for many other offences to be taken into consideration, but also promised that once he had served whatever punishment society thought fit, he would devote his life to visiting schools and dissuading errant youngsters from a life of crime.

THEORY B

Immediately on the crime being reported, a sophisticated police operation snapped into action.  Using psychological profiling, advanced data mining techniques and good old-fashioned instinct, the law enforcement agencies gradually closed in on the thief.  Following a dramatic boat-chase down the River Thames, the perpetrator was surrounded and arrested in front of the Houses of Parliament, that enduring symbol of an ordered and democratic society.

THEORY C

The VPD wasn’t mugged, either “basically” or at all. In her state of disarray she dropped all her stuff as she was getting on the train.  Some kindly stranger picked it up and handed it in.

I’ll leave you to work out the most likely explanation (but I wouldn’t spend too much of your weekend on Theory A or Theory B).

I, meanwhile, will be spending my weekend trying to get the emergency loan back from the VPD (to be fair to her, she has already offered repayment).

If you’ve not read Crime and Punishment, it does reward the effort.  I think it’s one of the very few books I’ve read twice.  I also think Raskolnikov is such a great name for a character.

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