Yesterday I was, again, sorting through the keep, Goodwill, and trash. I came across something that took me back–way back–to the ‘70s.

Always trying to avoid problems, I had done what was suggested back then by all the reputable sources to avoid theft of electronic equipment. After my apartment was burglarized and my 8-track stereo was gone, I was happy to read about the following deterrent:

Etch you Social Security number into all stereo components.

Does anyone remember why this was considered safe? Did people need your actual card to do you harm? Of course there was no Internet except for the Gores, but was this really wise? I remember one off-the-cuff comment that maybe you should use your license number, but time and time again I read what had prompted me to scratch

***-**-****

into the speakers I got out of the storage house yesterday.

Before putting them with the trash, I took a Stanley knife and changed

***-**-****

to a line of particle board with jagged areas of peeling wood-like plastic pointing to a tribute to a simpler time.

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