Podcast No. 101: Dan’s laundry is stolen and the internet is out at his work while Paul faces a flood at his office

Topics of minor import addressed by the dynamic duo of a Des Moines middle school teacher and a Memphis accountant:

  1. Laundry stolen
  2. Work Internet outage
  3. Work flood
  4. Lisa Marie dead
  5. Jeff Beck dead
  6. NFL playoffs
  7. San Diego meerkats

112: Artificial intelligence is replacing humans and we're too dumb to notice it; Guess the Hallmark Valentine's Day movie; with guest host T-Square Talking Paragraphs

Ideas to be discussed by a haggard middle school teacher and a man a reader for the local Gannett Outlet Store once called "the mouthpiece of Big Ag:" 1. The singularity approaches. 2. Jimmy Kimmel is going to ruin my favorite Twitter account  3. Which sucks more: "That 90s Show" or "Velma?" 4. All drive-through fast food 5. Hallmark Valentine's Game — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/talkingparagraphs/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/talkingparagraphs/support
  1. 112: Artificial intelligence is replacing humans and we're too dumb to notice it; Guess the Hallmark Valentine's Day movie; with guest host T-Square
  2. 111: Laser-guided podcast
  3. 110: Dan's laundry is stolen and the internet is out at his work while Paul faces a flood at his office
  4. 109: NFL players are more important than you; Arsenal hates the color red; There's a movie called 'Plane'; and other musings
  5. 108: Old celebrities have died and people can't handle it; Big Ten crashes in burns in college football playoffs; and wouldn't be nice to be a guest on 'The Love Boat'

Finding grace from the stolen laundry bag

Update on the stolen laundry: It’s still stolen.

I spoke with a Des Moines police detective this morning. He was as polite as can be. He was also honest.

The chances of my bag being found are somewhere between impossible and miraculous.

He didn’t say that.

But I can read between the lines.

It’s OK.

I promise I won’t be going to work in my bathrobe like the Dude from “The Big Lebowski.”

I appreciate all the kindness people have shown me.

A classmate from East High School — a person I didn’t know all that well —bought me a pack of diabetic socks.

That was very kind.

To answer some frequently asked questions from my previous paragraph stack on this topic:

  1. No, unfortunately, there were no cameras in the area where the bag was taken.
  2. Yes, I have looked in the trash bins and around alleys in the area. No luck. My friend may a sweep of the area that morning while I was at work. I made another when I got home. The stuff is gone.
  3. Yes, I have renter’s insurance. However, this is an interesting case. They may pay me for the loss, but they may also say that I voluntarily left the items out in a public place, so tough luck. I’m filling out the paperwork and we’ll see what happens.
  4. Several of asked me for this, so here it is: You can find me on Venmo or PayPal through newsmanone@gmail.com. My home address is 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, IA 50311.
  5. New arrangements have been made with the laundry service to pick up my job on Saturdays when I’ll be home and delivered during the week when my property manager is in the office.

Thanks to everyone who showed so much kindness and concern. You are the reason I keep getting up in the morning.


Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: newsmanone@gmail.com.
Venmo@newsmanone.
PayPalpaypal.me/paragraphstacker.

The emperor — or at least this writer — has no clothes (well, fewer clothes) because somebody stole his laundry

Someone stole my laundry.

This seems amusing.

I think of the scene from “The Big Lebowski,” when Walter throws a bag full of his dirty underwear — the whites — to the supposed kidnappers of the Big Lebowski’s trophy wife.

What must my thief have thought when he yanked open the drawstring to find the wrinkled clothing of a big-and-tall man wadded up and awaiting prospering cleaning and folding?

I tore some cartilage in my left knee during the pandemic. Degenerative arthritis and morbid obesity combine to make walking and standing difficult for me.

So, I pay for a service to collect my laundry every two weeks.

The company washes and folds my clothes, hangs my shirts, and delivers them back to my sainted property manager, Pierce, who sets the clean clothes in my apartment.

I, or a friend, sets the bag out the night before the pickup. The bag is tucked in the corner of a brick wall inside the vestibule around the property manager’s door.

You wouldn’t come across the bag accidentally. You would have to be snooping around looking for something.

Why you would think a bag that weighs 50 pounds and says, “We Wash” on the outside would be worthy of thievery is beyond me.

Nonetheless, when the driver arrived Thursday to pick up my dirty clothes, the bag was gone.

I had hoped some well-meaning person had dragged the bag inside thinking it was an incoming package and not an outgoing one.

Alas, no.

Someone pilfered my laundry.

This discourages me on a couple fronts.

First, clothes for fat people cost more than clothes for other people.

A pair of basic khaki pants runs me $75. The special diabetic socks I wear cost $20 a piece and I had nearly two weeks’ worth of them in the bag.

One doesn’t buy their wardrobe all at once. You get it in pieces, over time, as you need something.

My wardrobe took a hit. I don’t know when I’ll make it whole.

Also, it’s hard to remember what was in the laundry and what wasn’t.

I’m sure I lost some Henley shirts. I’ve got a wardrobe full, so that’s no big deal.

A couple of comic book t-shirts are gone. Those are newish and easily replaced, not a rare back issue.

But the shirts I know were in there, the ones I’ll really miss, were three New York Yankees navy blue t-shirts.

The famous interlocking “NY” was screen printed over the heart in white.

They were size 6XL. I bought them all from a dealer on eBay. I haven’t been able to find them since.

Keep your comments about the size of my shirts to yourself. I know I’m fat. I know the health risks. I’m working on it.

I loved those Yankees shirts. They were by Majestic. They were a perfect weight, always cool enough or warm enough.

The cotton slid right over my head and shoulders and was perfectly soft from the first day out of the shopping bag.

Whenever I wore them, I had a brief flash of sitting by the pool with the sun on my legs, my cap pulled low, and the Yankees radio broadcast in my years.

It’s hard to find sports fan clothes for a man of my girth, especially for the Yankees.

New Yorkers are snobs for skinny people.

Anyway, those are gone now.

That brings me to my second frustration.

This routine of leaving the laundry outside went on for years without a problem.

Some people chided me about living in the Drake University neighborhood. They tell me how dangerous it is.

Those closer to my age remember the terrible murders at the Drake Diner some 30 years ago.

Others note crimes just blocks away from my apartment.

But I’ve lived here almost 25 of my 47 years and, until this incident, never had a problem.

This is my home.

I love my alma mater.

I love the students.

I love the vitality of this neighborhood, from the reopened Varsity theater to Habanero’s at 32nd Street and Forest Avenue.

People will tell me it was a foolish thing to leave my property outside, unguarded.

I will them that which I have told them for all the years I’ve lived here: Bad things happen everywhere. You can’t judge a place by one thing.

I trust my neighbors and my neighborhood.

My laundry may be gone, but I’m not going anywhere.

Besides, what would I wear?


Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: newsmanone@gmail.com.
Venmo@newsmanone.
PayPalpaypal.me/paragraphstacker.