I packed up the dog and went down to Mr. Stapler's last night. I had a story assignment for the newspaper in his town this morning so it was all very convenient. Will write for money, that's me. I can use the money. That 85 bucks will buy almost half a tank of gas!
Mr. Stapler and I get along fine now that we don't live together. We are both much cuter in small doses.
Despite what I may have said in the past, he is really a lovely person. Let me tell you a story to prove it.
A couple years ago he bought a guitar off Ebay, a 12-string electric that belonged to a professional musician whom we will call Mr. X. Mr. X had a couple hits 20 years ago or so. Mr. Stapler likes his music and really liked the guitar.
Bob, a guy Mr. Stapler had played in garage bands with back in college called to say hi and mentioned that he was working as a road manager for some musicians. One of them was Mr. X.
"Wow," Mr. Stapler said. "I own one of his old guitars." And he described it to him.
Bob went and told Mr. X that a friend of his now owned his old 12-string.
"That guitar got stolen from me in the 80's at a gig in the Valley," said Mr. X.
Mr. Stapler had tried to do due diligence before he bought the guitar. He had tracked it back to a music store, but the store had changed hands and they couldn't tell him anything about it.
"What are you going to do?" I asked Mr. Stapler.
"I have got to give it back," he said without hesitation.
He didn't have to. He had friends - one of whom is a lawyer - who told him not to. But Mr. S. never faltered. He got in touch with Mr. X and drove down and gave him his guitar back.
Yeah, it was expensive. Yeah, he didn't get a reward or any money back. No, he can't afford to replace it. But that wasn't the point. The point was that he was doing the right thing, restoring a little justice to this battered and beaten-down world. So that is what he did.
I know he will never tell this story, but I think it deserves to be told. That Mr. Stapler, he's ok. Just not to live with.