Highbrow Family Values

Wilco, Chopin, Kompressor and Benny Goodman

On Monday, Snowman’s iPod was stolen during a fire drill at Hippy Dippy High School. Laying aside how his mother felt about the fact that he left it unattended, stealing is not justified in such circumstances. I suppose there are times when it is, when there is incredible need in a crisis, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and when the needs being met are for basics such as water and diapers. But Monday afternoon at high school is not that place, and an iPod  (even a really sweet black  80 gb iPod Video) is not a necessity of life.

Or is it? I bought it to replace an iPod crushed in the driveway, using the argument that for a boy so attuned to music, the iPod was as important as glasses for his older brother, whose vision is 20/400. We might be irritated if #1 Son broke his glasses (and in fact have been in the dim past), but we would find a way to replace them. And so I did the same thing here. The iPod holds 5500 pieces of music, thus far, ranging from classical to jazz to alt rock to Big Band, and many other stops in between. It never occurred to me that Snowman wouldn’t guard it with his life, particularly after the destruction of the first iPod, something that may not have been entirely his fault.

This may be one of the reasons I was so upset about the loss on Monday, when we were not sure if this was a mislaying or a theft, and frustrated that it had been left in the backpack, either way.

Last night I finally had time to research ways to trace an iPod.  Apple is no help. They don’t care if someone else uses your iPod to buy their iTunes, as I mentioned the other day. But I did find a site that allows you to register the serial number of a "lost" iPod and discover when it logs onto the Internet, generating an IP address. Within a few minutes last night, we knew it was still in City By the Sea, and had been plugged into a computer twice on Monday and once on Tuesday.

Snowman went to the principal with this information, and he assisted Snowman in filing a police report. Although Snowman kept quiet about the police report, he told friends about the Internet search, that we new the Internet Service Provider in question and were attempting to trace it further.

School got out at 11 today for teacher training. At 12:17 I got an e-mail letting me know the iPod was online again. But by 1 p.m., it had appeared mysteriously on the principal’s desk.

We conclude that someone told someone, who told the thief sometime after school, and we conclude the thief must live close by the school, too, given the quick turn-around.

We picked it up this afternoon. Snowman was surprised and pleased that his own music was on the iPod still. It’s not the average music to which his classmates listen. "Maybe," he said, "someone heard my bragging about how much music I had and wanted to steal the music, not the iPod."

Given that the bragging took place in math class, shortly before the fire drill, in a room with only 15 other students, the field of investigation has narrowed. Hippy Dippy Principal is pursuing research into the IP address.

Snowman, relieved, discovered to his surprise that the last thing he played came up under "Now playing." Did the culprit not even listen to the iPod? This suggests a highbrow thief who really *did* want the classical music collection.

By the way, Snowman had been listening to Artie Shaw.

24 thoughts on “Wilco, Chopin, Kompressor and Benny Goodman”

  1. Phew – glad you got it back and good for you for taking the initiative to track it down.
    I am guessing the thief’s tummy doesn’t feel so good right now.

  2. I’m glad the thief reconsidered and returned the iPod. Maybe s/he will come clean before the principal tracks down the IP address.
    RE: becoming a private investigator, I vote you write mystery novels instead. 🙂

  3. You may give snowman my email address. My husband is the best/worst Artie Shaw fan ever. He has every single piece of vinyl ever made by Artie Shaw, many many CD’s and many remastered works. We also have a cool machine that can rip albums onto CD’s.
    We also have copies of the books that Artie Shaw wrote in his later years…he became an English teacher in his later life.
    I am soooo glad that the ipod was retrieved.

  4. My previous career: reference assistant in libraries ranging from legislative to health sciences to general undergraduate to children’s department. I’ve been searching for things since long before Google came into the picture.
    I do like to think of myself as a spiritual detective…

  5. Brilliant deduction my dear.
    The main thing is that it was returned and hopefully the culprit learnt his / her lesson.
    And your son too.
    The latter might be harder. TS lost his wallet while I was back at seminary in mid April. Hubby made him cancel his cards etc. The very next day someone handed it into the principal’s office intact (including all the money!) TS’ comment “I needn’t have bothered cancelling my cards!”
    Grrr – he has no understanding or appreciation just how incredibly lucky he was!
    He gets the new cards from the bank next Monday, because he forgot to apply for a replacement. “Apparently it’s not automatic Mum”

  6. Wow… that’s fascinating that you can track it like that. So glad it “showed up” on the principal’s desk and that his music is safe and sound.

  7. Hoooray for the return, and congratulations on the detective work. I’m also grateful to Snowman for validating my claim that it might be manageable to run an ipod if your main interest is classical music…this thought had been shouted down locally!

  8. My son recently left his iPod in the basement of his dorm at college, and–surprise!– it wasn’t there in the morning. He called, distraught. Never once did it occur to me that it could be traced as you have outlined.
    Here’s what I suggested he do. He knew that he was on the hook to replace it himself, since it was his carelessness that lost it. So I suggested he post flyers around his dorm offering a $100 reward for its return, no questions asked.
    He got it back, and at 1/3 the price it would have cost him to replace it.
    So yay for returned music.
    Pax, C.

  9. Awesome detective work. And always good to teach kids that – even if funds are available to replace the item – the effort to do the work to investigate is the right thing to do, and sometimes works!!

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