Saturday, November 6, 2010

First swipe and the fallout that follows

I was always kind of a nerd when I was in school, or at least presented as such. I was an honor student, I read classic literature for fun, I liked learning. I kept to myself more than other kids, I was a little bit of a suck up, and I was quiet most of the time. My "awkward phase" just ended like a year ago. I always got terribly upset when people were angry with me, and wanted to fix it immediately. I knew I wanted to go to college by the time I was like 4. Basically, I really wanted to project this kind of golden-child image. I wasn't really a golden-child, but I did try. At the same time there has always been this sort of weird dichotomy with me. This geeky, conformist presentation on the outside, with this sneaky, anarchist, middle-fingers-up hostile chick lurking around inside of me and popping her head out every once in awhile. It kept things ... eventful, to say the least. Until I addressed the problem and worked on merging the two. There are many examples of how this played itself out, but I was just thinking about one in particular.

When I was younger, I had a little bit of shoplifting problem. I hear stories from people all of the time about how when they were four years old they stole a candy bar from the drug store or a dollar slinky or something, and their mother saw it and marched them back and made them give it back and apologize and they were so mortified they never stole again because they were taught such an important life lesson about how stealing is wrong and one has to be accountable for one's actions bla bla yak yak. Not that I disagree with this approach, people shouldn't be running around stealing all willy-nilly. Especially if they're bad at it. Catch a kid in the act, correct them, and they learn what they did was wrong. Cool.

Well, this isn't exactly how it went for me. I wasn't with my mom the first time I stole, and no one corrected me. I was in a busted up Walgreens in a sketchy part of town, with a bunch of hooligan children that I was hanging around at the time. It was the majority of a family of six kids, some of the neighborhood brats, and me. I think I was the only one who had brushed my hair that week, and I was definitely the only one who didn't smoke a cigarette on the way there, and hadn't started smoking before I hit a double digit age. I think the youngest kid was eight, the oldest twelve, and I was ten or eleven. Yes, a gang of roving pre-teens. I can't remember precisely how this occurred, but these kids were always prompting me to do stupid things to see if I would go through with it, and I always did, because I thought I was a bad ass. Well, more like I knew I wasn't a bad ass (Yet. I clearly am now), and I didn't want anyone else to figure that out. So, somehow it was suggested that I steal a pack of gum.

"You've stolen before, right?"

"Of course!"   ...not.

"Well Julie wants some gum but, see, she forgot her money, so, why don't you get her some gum?"


So after a large mental debate and a lot of stuttering, I ripped off the pack of gum, probably looked like I was being marched to my execution exiting this store, and even though it was ghetto, that did have the giant (to a ten year old) security sensors I had to walk through. At this time I was under the impression that ANY bar code on anything could set these sensors off, so I had torn the bar code off of the gum. I became convinced that it was stuck to the bottom of my foot or something. It was the longest walk out of a store ever, and we probably looked like the most suspicious group of kids ever, on the face of the planet. You know how people look when they did something wrong, but they don't want you to know, and they're tense, but they're trying super hard to act natural? Yeah. A bunch of scruffy kids. Doing that in unison.

I fiiiiiinally made it outside. As soon as we got around the corner, they all started freaking out about how surprised they were that I actually did that, and that I didn't get caught; giving me high fives and smacking me on the back and shit.

The complete opposite of the scolding and march back to the store that teaches you not to steal again.

Looking back I'm guessing that most, if not all of those little punks had probably never shoplifted, and had just put me up on the chopping block to see what would happen. Bitches.

I don't remember how soon it was after that that I stole something again, I just know that taught me that I could steal and get away with it, and when I did, I liked the results. What I do know is that it didn't take long before I was stealing more expensive things; bigger and bigger things. Just because I could. I couldn't believe how easily it came to me. I was a natural shoplifter. That is not something I am proud of. It's fucked up. That takes sneakycreepyfink skills, and if they were returnable, I would give them back. (Not really, they're just survival skills.) I started doing it when people were with me, and they didn't notice. I couldn't believe it. I got extremely ballsy and did ridiculous things, like walking into a store, trying on a pair of sunglasses, putting them up on my head like I had worn them in, and then just acting like they were mine, talking to the check out person with them on and everything. I wore ratsy flip flops into shoe stores, tried on nice shoes, left the ratsy flops in the box, and wore the nice ones out. I filled my purse with cosmetics, earrings, and underwear, put my purse inside of a larger purse, and walked out. I didn't give a shit about where I was stealing from because I didn't steal from people- just from stores, I figured they were going to have shrinkage anyway, and that if their security was so bad that they couldn't detect my flagrant teenage antics they deserved to be stolen from. Of course I realize that this was the incredibly flawed thinking of a self centered, immature teenager now, but that was my attitude then.

At some point some of my friends found out about what was going on. They would notice at some point after we left a store that I had a bunch of shit I didn't have when we went in and be all, "Where the hell did that come from?" It became a big joke. A couple of people called me their 'little klepto.' People asked me to steal things For them. I did. Friends started giving me challenges, to see if I could get away with things that one wouldn't think you could normally steal. I never failed a challenge. Some sought items: Package of toilet paper, light bulbs, gallon of milk, ironing board, container of ice cream. Some of my own most ridiculous feats: self-cleaning litter box, big purses, bottles of wine, large bottles of liquor. When I think back on some of the things I've done, and believe me I have a lot more stories, all I can do is shake my head at the ridiculousness.

Sidenote: I am not condoning shoplifting. I'm not going to lie, I think the stupid things I've done are funny sometimes, but I don't think breaking the law is. Generally. Just so y'all know.

1 comment:

  1. :O There was no guy that stole the ironing board! It was yoooou!!!

    Well, don't I feel like a schmuck? :X