A lot of people will assume that just because a person is quiet and unassuming, that they must be tame, and without degenerate tendencies. That’s not always the case… especially concerning myself. One particular period that comes to mind was my long, intense, shoplifting spree during my middle school years.
The group of closest friends I had at the time were probably the leading cause of my streak… but I surely didn’t have any objections either. We were like a well-organized thief squadron, we knew exactly what to do. We could walk into any place of business and within 10 seconds have mapped out mentally all the locations covered by cameras, where the employees traveled, locations of customer concentration, best entrances and exits, dark spots, you name it. Well rehearsed and professional in our continence, we decided what we wanted, and we took it, just like that. Usually we picked out things from one isle, brought them to a more secluded place, usually a less popular aisle or a bathroom, and stuffed them in one of our backpacks. We had pre-designated roles such as mules, lookouts, hands. Sometimes we’d buy something small at the same time, to make it look like we were legitimately patronizing the place. I was pretty timid, more so than the others, at least; this meant that I usually got placed in one of the less risky jobs, such as the lookout.
You may question how I could just do this without remorse… but you have to understand my background. I’ve always been a lower class kid, I lived a life of “doing without.” To suddenly be able to enjoy Lunchables, candy, cookies, and all those fancy drinks, sodas, Powerade, whenever my heart contented, it was an amazing feeling. Lunchables were probably our most common steal. Me and my buds would each pick our favorites, stuff them in a backpack, and then walk into the alley behind the local supermarket and tear them open. My choice was always pizza. Sitting back there eating that little processed meal, laughing with my friends about who almost saw us and our quick reaction times, it was really one of the most fun times in my life. It was like we were some heist team from the movies. I remember this one time clearly when I told a friend about these candy dreidels I learned to make, with pretzels, marshmallows, frosting, and Hershey kisses. Just like that he said, “great, lets go make some!” Just a few minutes, in and out of the store, and we were making what I’d described, on the playground of the local elementary school that we’d often hang out at on weekends.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to justify what I did or what I was like, all I’m saying is that it wasn’t out of malice.