Stealing some time to write a Saturday post

When I was in grade school, we had movie Fridays and sometimes they would bring in a popcorn machine and we could buy popcorn for $0.50. One Friday the teacher wouldn’t let us go down to the gym for the movie because someone had stolen someone else’s $0.50. She made us all sit back down at our desks until someone publicly confessed. How horrifying. I couldn’t even imagine the public shaming.

I don’t steal and I never have. And I’m not just saying that so you’ll let me hold your purse, I’m telling you that because public shaming gives me anxiety and I have an irrational fear of jail. All of it. The arrest, the handcuffs, the strip search, the very public toilet in the middle of the room. I might watch too many crime shows.

Oh, and stealing is wrong. But I also get it. I can see the other side. I worked in retail and a girl was stealing toilet paper because she couldn’t afford it. She got caught and fired when she started stealing toys for her boyfriend’s kids’ Christmas. I’ve been there, well, not there. But I’ve been where I was 19 and living in an apartment and could only afford bread, bologna, and mustard. It was a good week when we could also get cheese, and I still didn’t steal.

I worked at a bank-ish place once and a guy was stealing from unclaimed accounts so he could make his jeep payments. What a great idea, but how do you not get caught? Well, you don’t not get caught damn you, double negatives, for never not being confusing because he did get caught and arrested…AT WORK!! I would have been mortified.

I was telling my sister how awful I thought it was that he was stealing and she said, Yeah, but you’ve always had family to help, you don’t know what he’s going through. And then I felt bad for him and the fact that he felt like he was in a position where he had to steal to get through. I don’t know what he was going through. But then he may have just been a dbag looking for an easy way out, I don’t really know.

But I do feel bad for the girl at my first job who felt like she had no other resource than to steal toilet paper. I felt bad.

Those stories bring me to something that Tenderheart has had to go through. Last week someone was stealing wallets similar to Dirty Dancing. It’s really a sad day where you can’t leave your bag for a second without your wallet being gone. Tenderheart didn’t have hers stolen but had money missing. And listen, I had to use two Susan B Anthony coins to have her pay for something last week, so let’s just say if you’re going to target someone, it shouldn’t be her.

Then the person got caught and it wasn’t a cute old couple, it was a teenage girl. And Tenderheart knew her, had class with her, we’d just seen her at the bus stop riding the city bus home. And my heart swelled with the empathy Tenderheart had. While my kids don’t steal and never have, she felt so bad for the girl who did and why didn’t she know it was wrong? Was she never taught you don’t steal? Was she in a position where she felt like she had to?

I don’t know. What I do know is the girl was caught on camera, publicly shamed, and kicked out of school but I don’t know for how long. She made a huge mistake and the shame of that will haunt her for the rest of high school. I would never be able to show my face at that school again.

And where is/are her parent(s)? As a parent I would have also been mortified. My kids knew at an early age that if they ever took something that wasn’t theirs or from a store, for instance, I would march their butts back in there and make them give it back. We accidentally walked out with nail polish once and we all went back in, apologized, and paid. Were there times I wished I could take the easy way out, and smuggle a rump roast out of the grocery store? Of course, but not when I have three little girls looking up at me. I don’t want them publicly shamed or strip searched either.

As for the original popcorn story, I can’t remember how it ended but I doubt we ever made it to that movie and I can’t promise a strip search wasn’t involved. It was a different time.


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