My belief set is flexible. In general, I’m willing to change course when presented with compelling new information. But I have one credo that I live by no matter what: Don’t get the product insurance. Insurance is for houses, cars and your life, not for the nose-hair trimmer you just got at Best Buy. When I’m offered the product insurance or an extended warranty, I steel my gaze and curtly reply, “I’ll take my chances.” I’ve no doubt that many a cashier has gone home at night and recounted to friends and family the tale of the amazing badass who showed up that day at Bed Bath & Beyond.

So, let me tell you about my new iPhone 8 Plus. I decided it was time to upgrade, and I marched into my local Verizon store and sat down with a sales guy named Walter. Whenever I go in there, I try to deal with Walter because Walter is awesome. He’ll say things like, “I sailed around the Bahamas on a 44-foot Hatteras for a while after I broke up with my ex-wife… well, second ex-wife.” When I tell Walter I’m not getting the insurance, I’m kind of proud. Like, hey Walter, fellow rapscallion here, obviously.

My old phone had an exceedingly ugly black-and-white case that was covered in rubber ribs. It looked like a starving zebra with a skin condition but it was so grippy you never dropped it—it was a battle to even get it out of your pocket. I would’ve been happy to get the same one for my new $800 super-phone, but I couldn’t find anything like it. I ended up with a case that’s sleek and attractive, but kind of slippery. So, no insurance. Slippery new phone. Students of foreshadowing may note that this is some of that.

Our narrative now jumps to the Miami airport, where a car is dropping me off at the American Airlines terminal. It will then disgorge two other passengers at the Delta terminal, about a half-mile away. I get out, grab my bags and bid farewell. As the car is pulling away, I do my compulsory pocket check: Wallet is there. Phone… oh, no. Where’s my phone? My slippery-ass phone must’ve fallen out of my pocket. In the car. Which is still only about 100 feet away, waiting to pull into traffic. I sprint after it, flailing my arms and yelling, in the hopes that someone will glance in a rearview mirror, but nobody does. The car pulls away.

I do the sensible thing and go inside to the information desk, where I use their phone to call the people who’d dispatched the car, who then inform the driver to circle back with my phone. Just kidding. I start running. In traffic. While towing my bags.

And this isn’t your normal everyday airport running, the concerned half-jog that allows a person to retain some shred of dignity. No, this is the Hot Mess 5K, and I’m the only entrant. Earlier that day, I’d walked several miles in Sperry Top-Siders, sans socks, shredding the skin on my right Achilles tendon. No problem, though. I figured I’d put on socks and Nikes at the airport, but in the meantime I just squished down the back of the Sperry and wore it like a slipper. Which works OK when you’re walking, but is less than ideal for a sprint.

Because the Miami terminal road is shaped like a horseshoe, the shortest distance around is the far left lane. That’s where I am, huffing along with my shabby slipper-shoe flopping about as drivers honk and yell at me. Someone is probably calling the cops on the wild-eyed demented man running in traffic. I don’t care. Things can’t get any worse than they already are. But then, of course, they do. My shoe falls off.

I stop only long enough to pick it up. By now the road’s straightened out, so I cut back onto the sidewalk and continue my hell-sprint unencumbered by any remaining dignity. I’m faster without the bum shoe, my one bare foot slapping the sidewalk at a torrid pace. Fellow travelers stop to stare at famed sprinter Insane Dolt, closing in on a new world record in the uni-shoe 1,000-meter life-fail. But you know what? I catch the car at the Delta terminal. I get my phone. Then I nearly collapse and die because I’ve just sprinted a half-mile semi-barefoot while towing 35 pounds of luggage. Later, I will have the pleasure of completely changing my sweat-drenched clothes within the confines of an airport bathroom stall, which is equipped with an automatic toilet that just keeps flushing.

The upside here is that I confirmed two valuable life rules: First, always refuse the phone insurance because if you leave your phone in a car you can just chase it down like the bad Terminator. Second, and this is important: Always wear socks to the airport. 

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