James Lileks
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Now, now. Let’s be generous here. Let’s think about all the Eagles fans who didn’t steal a seat from U.S. Bank Stadium.

You’ve heard the story, right? A guy removed a seat, walked out of the stadium, then was photographed at the airport with the pieces strapped to his carry-on. You can imagine his justification: “Well, I didn’t get to participate in the ritual destruction of property at home with all my townsfolk, but at least I wrecked something here that other people have to pay for.”

(Faced with photographic evidence, the thief agreed on Wednesday to fork over for replacing the seat.)

Who steals a seat in the first place? This seat thief, this kiester-cradle klepto, he’s the kind of guy who’d come over to your house, use the bathroom and unwrap the special soap in the dish to wash his hands. Then, he’d wipe his hands on the good towels instead of looking around for the towels you’re supposed to use.

If there’s one thing Minnesotans do better than anyone else, it’s quietly disapprove, and the entire population of Philadelphia is on notice: “Yes, you beat the Vikings. We have dealt with that in our own stoic, self-loathing fashion. But you come to our house and you steal a chair? Well, in our eyes, you are all that guy now.

“Not that we would say anything about it, but if you sense a certain coolness, that’s why, and perhaps in 30 years we’ll explain.”

Granted, when the Metrodome held its last game, some seats were taken — but that’s different. First of all, that was our place, our stuff. It’s kind of like taking Dad’s stamp collection after he goes in the home. Even though you know Sis will bring it up some Thanksgiving, it’s not like she’s into stamps or anything. And besides, she took Mom’s Hummels, and those go pretty good on eBay.

Second, if Minnesotans saw someone with a loose stadium seat, they’d say, “Hey, that looks dangerous. I can fix that for you.” And they’d refuse payment, too.

Third, and this is crucial: If the Minnesota fans had pried off every single chair in the Metrodome except one, and there was a guy who didn’t have a chair and wanted one, he wouldn’t have taken the last chair. He would have left it there because we all feel bad taking the last one of anything in case someone else comes along who wants one.

We may have lost to the Eagles, but at least we can say that we’re not a city of seat-stealers, and when you think about your long-term feelings, that’s better than winning some game.

In other words, Mr. Butt-Bucket Burglar: Thank you.

james.lileks@startribune.com