Monday, December 06, 2004

thieves like us

One of the hilarious topics of conversation over the weekend with the gang was of petty theft and personal misdeamenors, which included answering the question "When was the last time you shoplifted?".

Most of us owned up to having sticky fingers in our collective youth. Reasons ranged from responding to dares, stultifying ennui, acting because of outrage over the overpricing of certain books, and simple greed. All of which are wrong and unjustifiable, of course - but how crazy we were when we were younger!

What's striking is that what we took were books and comics, stuff to read; food for our growing minds lifted by hands greased by a paucity of funds. We learned to slip magazines and modules surreptitiously into the fronts and backs of our school uniforms, into our pants, astride our thighs, in-between our legs; slyly into school bags, casually into shopping bags, or brazenly into attache cases which made click-clack noises when it closed, an extra dash of danger definitely not for the faint of heart.

When I would flich stuff from that store at Shoppesville, it seemed like a victimless crime. Until, years later, I realized that the cost of missing inventory was docked from the pay of the store staff. And now that some of us own our own businesses, we've been victimized by pilferage too (a particularly brazen one at my pet store: a man ran away with a huge birdcage with lovebirds). The wheel turns, yes.

Most of us are reformed now, certainly. But what made everything funny for me last night was that it felt like a meeting of a aging rogue's gallery, reliving high times and old crimes, when we were young and irredeemable, and treasures of the imagination were irresistable.


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