Posted by: Botolff | August 7, 2009

Someone hit the telephone pole…and then the bank?

I went in to work on Tuesday.  Well, I tried to go into work on Tuesday.  As I was approaching the building my office is located in, everything for a couple blocks was cordoned off by bright yellow police ribbon and officers on every corner.  I don’t know about you, but the minute I see yellow police ribbon, my anxiety…and curiosity…goes up just a bit. 

I was directed by an officer to continue past the street I usually turn on to get to the parking lot.  The officer said there may be parking up the street a ways, and pointed to my left up the hill.  I moved ahead and turned left at the next corner.  I drove up the block and stopped at a stop sign.  It was there, to my left, that I saw a full sized telephone pole laying across both lanes of the road.  I immediately wondered what brought it down.  Was it the wind, rotting wood, a vehicle out of control?  I didn’t know, and didn’t have time to find out.  Had to get to my office.

I parked my Jeep and walked in from a couple blocks away.  Upon walking into my office building, it was immediately apparent that there were no lights on in the building.  No…there was nothing “on” in the building.  I quickly deduced that our power had something to do with that telephone pole.  After a brief time of scrambling and rearranging some of my afternoon, I found someone in our building who had heard what happened.

Apparently someone had planned to rob the bank and figured knocking over the telephone pole first was a great way to shut down the electricity in the bank.  Thus making it easier to make off with the money and be less identifiable in the process.

When I first heard that story, all I could think of was “This is a small town.  No one robs banks like that in small towns like these.  That’s one gutsy thief.”  Not to mention, who would ever think of knocking down a telephone pole to shut down the power in the bank first, and be able to do it without leaving a vehicle behind wrapped around the telephone pole?  As I carried the story with me for about 15 minutes, I was intrigued, curious, concerned for people…and even a little excited.  Nothing like some small town drama, and a good story to suck me in.  I wonder if you, the reader of this story, may even be a little sucked in at this point too.  Well, the story changes….

Then as I was walking back towards my Jeep, a couple hours after the hiest had taken place, I ran into a police officer standing on one of the corners putting some suntan lotion on.  “Hmm…guess he’s planning on being here for a while” I thought to myself.  I got his attention, and then I told him I just heard the bank got hit.  He said, “Huh?”  I proceeded to tell him that I heard from someone who had heard from someone that the bank got robbed on the corner and the thieves knocked the pole down before they hit the bank in order to cut the power.  He laughed out loud.  That’s when I knew I’d been duped.

He proceeded to tell me that the pole was brittle, was beginning to lean, and was only being held up by one small support cable.  So the police cordoned off the block BEFORE anything happened, and then the electrical company cut the last cable.  The pole came crashing down, and the block went dark.  No robbers, no attacks on a telephone pole, nothing to do with the bank…just the electrical company and police force in the midst of necessary adjustments to the landscape of the city.

Isn’t it amazing how emotionally wrapped up we can get in stories that are fabricated?  Lies that are told?  A little extra drama that sucks us in?  All the while, never confirming any of it with the people who are actually involved in the unfolding of the events that we experience the consequences of.  Oh, we may ask one or two people.  But we usually stop when we are satisfied with the story that’s easiest, or the most exhilarating, for us to hear.  Sometimes we quit asking because we’re afraid of the shame we will feel for being duped by someone that we trusted.  That often helps to keep us just on the edge of the emotion…and a long ways from the truth.



  1. Jamie,

    Great illustration of how we can get sucked in by the lies and the falsehoods.

    More truth. More vigilance.

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