When the arrest warrant arrived, I experienced a “Jean Valjean moment” — something from my past was coming back to haunt me.
It also crossed my mind: How did they find me? And what is the statute of limitations for some poor judgment nearly 43 years ago?
C’mon, I thought, this was something that happened in 1970, when I was a dumb, thrill-seeking 19-year-old. Heck, my misguided action wasn’t even a felony crime.
It involved a $5 incense burner that for some reason seemed so “necessary” at the time I was willing to shoplift from a department store in a small town in east-central Illinois.
Is it really possible that bad decision was coming back at me four decades later and ... oh, wait a minute ... this “arrest warrant” had nothing to do with my past indiscretion. (See what a guilty conscience can make you think? And besides, aren’t warrants delivered in person?)
As it turned out, the “arrest warrant” in my email was actually a notice from the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Seems the MDA was acting on a “tip” from someone who knows me, and the “arrest warrant” was to announce I was one of the “desperadoes” summoned to appear for an MDA Lock-Up in Duncan.
At noon Thursday, March 14, I’ll be among a group of other “criminals” who must report to “The Big House,” which is also known as the Hampton Inn. According to the summons, once I get there “our judge will sentence you, take your mug shot, serve you ‘bread and water’ and make sure you do time.”
Oh, hang on a second, it said “and make sure you have a good time.”
Anyway, friends and neighbors, there’s one way I can avoid breakin’ rocks in the hot sun: My bail has been set at $800. If I can scrape up the cash through donations from folks wishing to help the MDA’s persistent search for cures for 43 neuromuscular diseases, I won’t end up becoming “The Birdman of the Hampton.”
The MDA uses donations to provide a variety of services, and my $800 bond is enough to send one child to a summer camp, where they can experience some of the joy the disease is trying to deny them.
This is the first time I’ve been approached to participate in an MDA Lock-Up, but I’m more than willing to spend some time in the slammer.
My mother died in July 2012 after a five-year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Although she’d had a full life before being diagnosed, it was gut-wrenching watching the ugly disease move through her. Parkinson’s was unrelenting; it took everything, including her mind.
Parkinson’s and MS are different conditions, but the symptoms of both occur because signals sent by the brain to the body are interrupted. With Parkinson’s, the neurotransmitter called dopamine is not present to carry the signals. With multiple sclerosis, there’s damage to the myelin that protects the nerves, inhibiting nerve impulses from traveling through the body correctly.
Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis also share a reality: There’s no universally recognized cure for either.
I want to see that changed, and I’m willing to spend some time “in the hoosegow,” hoping to make a small difference.
At the same time, I’m a little concerned about going “stir crazy.” So, here’s a chance to help me out, and more importantly, assist the MDA in its work to raise the quality of life for more than 400,000 MS victims and, hopefully, find a cure.
You can chip in on my $800 bail.
Contact me at 580-255-5354 or 580-228-2317, or email me at email@example.com. We’ll work out a way I can collect your tax deductible donation. It can be a check or cash donation, and I’ll give you a receipt. Or I can turn you on to a high-tech way to make an online donation.
And just in case you’re wondering, of every dollar the MDA raises, 77 percent goes directly to research, health care services and education.
So, decide how much you can give and let me hear from you no later than Tuesday, March 12. Victims of multiple sclerosis and the MDA will bless you.
And so will I, because I don’t look good in horizontal stripes.
580-255-5354, Ext. 172