stealing’s wrong

when i was in seventh grade i moved to iowa from georgia and made an entirely new group of friends. no one drank or smoked or anything of that sort (yet), so what did the ladies do to satisfy their rebellious urges? the good old five finger discount.

my junior high was literally across the street from the mall, and on top of that my closest friends all lived within walking distance to this ironic ‘neighborhood’. so, obviously, we spent a good deal of time there.

we would come home and my friends would literally pull heaps of treasures from all sorts of different – ahem – “hiding places”.  (i’m not going to get detailed here)  treasures like cheap nickel earrings, , stackable lip gloss, phallic gummies and thumb-rings that were dual layered so that the top layer would spin.

this might surprise some, but i was incredibly shy at the time.  i didn’t smile in pictures.  i was terrified of boys and getting in trouble.  i was always mortified when i figured out a friend was taking something.  not because it was ‘wrong’, but because i was sure they were going to get caught.  of course they never did – they were actually quite skilled in this cleptomanic artform.  despite much pestering from friends to do some of my own nabbing i refrained from learning this masterful trade.  i knew i wore every truth and lie like a banner across my forehead.  some things never change.

and then.  it was erica’s birthday.  sigh…  we were planning a party with all the gals at my family’s lakehouse an hour away.  everyone was super excited.  it was friday and we were leaving in a few hours,  but i still didn’t have a gift for her!  me and another girlfriend popped over to the mall after school to look around.

i guess the lack of a crowd and the excitement of having everyone down to my cabin instilled a certain confidence in my capabilities.  of course i had to try.

i found the perfect gift: a molded plastic picture frame that said, in pink bubble letters, “BEST BUDDIES.”  the little turtle at the bottom left hand corner just looked so friendly!  i quickly slipped it into my black pleather rainbow purse.

and then i got bold.

that thumb ring i’d been wanting?  the one that was really about 25 thin rings all linked together to form one giant ring?  yeah.  that one.  i slipped it off its card and onto my hand.  after all, how were they going to prove i didn’t come into the store with it??  brilliantly, i figured i should buy something just so as not to look suspicious.  i thought i was being so clever.  i bought erica a necklace to go along with her lovely picture frame and then walked out into the mall.

and then it happened:  the shoplady (who was probably younger than i am now) followed me out into the massive corridor.  “excuse me!  were you planning on paying for the rest of those items?”  stunned (figuratively and literally) i turned and probably mumbled something like, “what? what items?”  before i could even get my thoughts together i had followed her back into the store on the promise that if i gave them back she wouldn’t call security.  well, she lied.  and the cops came to escort me – bawling my eyes out – through the corridors and to their waiting squad car.  the total damage?  $11.73

i had two twenties in my purse.

we obviously had to cancel the party and i was grounded for at least 7 years, but fortunately i was under 16 and the class i had to take wiped everything off my record.

i’m finding out lately, however, that the wonderfully informative shoplifting course didn’t rid me entirely of this needandgreed.

the other day i took a friend’s car for what was supposed to be a 20 minute smog check.  an hour and a half later (after the man was incredibly rude to me) i stood at the door to the show watching and waiting for my car to be finished.  it was then that i saw them…these shiny, interesting little treasures tucked under clods of dirt and dust, shreds of paper and other obviously discarded/forgotten items.  he was rude and took too long!  i deserved them!  right?  (cervetti syndrome at its finest)

before i knew it they were in my purse.  not sure how they got there.

please don’t call the cops.


[no, i’m not entirely sure what all of them are.  and yes, they may look like junk…but one man’s junk’s another woman’s treasures.  plus, i know at least one other person who would understand their value.]


1 Response to “stealing’s wrong”

  1. 1 MommaDeb September 5, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    You have to work out your own salvation per the scriptures. Stealing is and was and always will be wrong. I’m not sure what to say about you getting caught shop lifting but, I’m very glad you did.

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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