Shuffle On. To The Great Big Playlist in the Sky.

I'm really really good at dropping things. A discriminating expert, if you will. If an item incorporates any kind of delicate soldered wiring, wafer-thin circuit boards and liquid crystal displays, it will meet an untimely end involving acceleration at 9.8 m/s2. With few exceptions, every cell phone I have ever owned was upgraded by reason of kissing concrete.

The first time I opened the box to my iPod Classic back in 2006, I knew our relationship was doomed. What Apple designers may call slick, compact, modern design, I call "slippery heavy sucker." But amazingly we survived, against all odds. Through 3 jobs, commutes on the LA Metro, cross country flights and a gadget obsessed child.

Maybe I got comfortable, maybe I got complacent, or maybe that movie Final Destination also applies to consumer electronics. But it finally happened. Right before Christmas. I was walking to the car, iPod and Blackberry in one hand (first mistake). I spied a piece of Fury's toy helicopter on the walkway and decided that maybe he'd want it (second mistake). I bent over to pick it up (3 strikes, you're out). That mo-men-tary loss of muscular coordination sent the iPod and Blackberry on a irrecoverable slide. I hope I'm never faced with grasping onto 2 of my children over a cliff's edge with only the strength to rescue one of them, because now I know what that feels like. I caught the Blackberry.

They say the first stage of grief is denial. As the internal drive of my iPod clicked and sputtered in a futile attempt to finish its last Guns n Roses song, I placed it in the cradle next to the car stereo. I drove with that clicking iPod for a week. Like a dead hamster you leave in its cage in hopes that maybe tomorrow it'll wake up, I got in the car each morning and flicked the iPod a few times.

The second stage of grief is plunking down $224 for a replacement on Amazon.com. And donating the old one to science.

"Fury if you can fix this, it's yours."

"I think it needs a paperclip to join the wires, dad."

"Have at it, son."

At least he had fun.

Then the shiny new iPod arrived. And in the cradle it went. It didn't fit so well, or maybe it was all in my head. I put some new music on it, added some new playlists and forged the beginnings of a new partnership.

Until yesterday:

Look a little closer.

We hadn't even gotten to Guns n Roses yet.

The real crime here isn't that someone came onto our property, snooped around, smashed my window and stole something of mine. Because as violating as that feels, I'm sure it was just a couple of punkass kids who were at the right place at the right time.

The real crime here isn't that the timing was so bad. Had they done this just a week ago, they would have stolen a broken iPod and the joke would have been on them.

The real crime here isn't that I'm now out $224 for the iPod and $245 for the replacement window. It sucks, but at least my family is safe.

The real crime?

I now have to listen to L.A. radio.

They drew first blood.