May 31

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Instructions, Cautions, and Reality

Remember when anthrax and mail terrorism were things?

The news said, "If you receive mail written in blocky text with no return address, don't open it. Call local authorities."

So, in 2011, guess who received a letter written in blocky text with no return address?

That's right. Yours truly.

And it felt like a small, rectangular object inside. Is it a bomb? Is it some kind of anthrax release mechanism?

So, I followed the instructions and the cautions. I called the police.

When they showed up, I showed them the letter. They looked at me incredulously. I told them what I'd seen on the news, and that I was doing as I was told.

One officer looked at the other and said, "Okay, let's see."

He opened the envelope without a blink. I took a few steps back. What if it were a bomb? At least maybe there would be time to jump for cover.

To my embarrassment, out came an Apple remote I'd forgotten I ordered.

I thanked the cops. They laughed and drove off into the sunset.

But I still wonder, sometimes...what if it were something dangerous? Did the news direct me properly? Are police actually trained to handle packages with terrorist-like handwriting?

Sometimes instructions, teaching, and reality don't line up. When in doubt, just be sure to take a few steps back.

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About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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