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Friday, August 5, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Steal


Fifty two years ago I committed a crime.  My mother and father were scrupulously honest, I was raised to be the same, and yet I committed a crime.  At thirteen years old, I shoplifted a 35 cent Duncan yoyo from JJ Newberry’s on the miracle mile in Manhasset, Long Island.
I don’t know why I stole the yoyo.  I had the 35 cents to buy it.  Money was not an issue.  I was not even a yoyo type of kid.  I think it was just a rite of passage kind of thing.

My friends all bragged about lifting stuff.  I guess even though I knew it was wrong I had to be part of the crowd.  So one day I loitered around the toy section, looked over my shoulder several times and when the coast was clear I stuffed the yoyo in my pocket.  I then walked slowly and not so calmly up to the main floor and out the door.
Except for once or twice, I never really even used the yoyo.  Its existence brought me nothing but shame and guilt.  I never even told anyone that I shoplifted; so much for being part of the crowd.  I never stole again.

JJ Newberry’s, the “Target” of the 1950’s, was purchased by McCrory’s in 1961 and eventually went out of business.  I know I am not at fault for its demise, but I do owe someone 35 cents, or with interest maybe $5.50.  It is beyond the statute of limitations for my crime, but if someone can tell me who is entitled to my $5.50 I am prepared to make restitution.

We are all induced to try so many things in our march to become a fully developed human being; drugs, alcohol, tobacco, unprotected sex, shoplifting, cheating in school, vandalism and worse.  Sometimes, before that part of the brain which factors in consequences to our actions is fully developed, we succumb to temptations.  

What did you get away with that could have altered your life.  What did you do that makes you feel guilty even today?  Come on, let it out.  I won’t tell anyone.    


  1. Joe, I am still going to add this to my Crowning Moments! post from last week or I can save it for next week. I love it. I love that you sum it up so perfectly and am also flattered that you would save it for me. So thoughtful!

    Let me know what you want to do. My idea, (because, really, who is going to go back to "Older Post" and read any of the links from an old hop?) is to add this one AND a new one next week when I post the new hop.

  2. I once stole a bottle of Liquid Paper or Tippex as we called it from the newsagent opposite my school. I felt so guilty that the next day, I went back to the shop and managed to smuggle it back on the the shelf! I think I too was abut 13, and obviously never going to be a master criminal!

  3. did any of you put a restaurant or movie theater out of business for stealing? i did, or so that is what my kids accused me of. now that they're older i'm not sure if they still believe that, but i'll always be the mother who set bad examples for her kids. sorry guys!! no one's perfect.


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