Monday, May 28, 2012

What Defines Stealing?


I spent the summer of 1964 at Fort Jackson, SC. We trained for a possible transfer to Vietnam.

One payday, the line at the bank for our pay stretched out the door and fifty yards beyond. We all patiently inched closer to the teller waiting to fill our wallets with cash for the weekend. Finally I made it into the building and got to within two persons to get my pay.

The teller, a young officer, began a conversation with a friend behind the counter. The conversation went on and on while we waited. All us peons became increasingly more aggravated. The teller, laughed and carried on, and totally disregarded the line of men waiting to get paid.

Finally my turn came. I was angry, but knew better to keep my mouth shut. After I left the building I found the teller gave my one too many twenty dollar bills. I was mad enough to rejoice and kept the $20.

Did I steal twenty dollars from the government? Yes I did.

I became a Christian during the days when one had to lick a stamp to place it on an envelope to be mailed. Once in a while we received mail with its stamp uncanceled. I tore off the corner of the envelope to save the uncanceled stamp. When I had two or more together, I soaked them in water to remove the stamp from the envelope. After they dried, with a bit of glue-stick, they worked as good as the ones from the post office. One day it hit me hard. "This stamp was purchased to be used once to deliver a piece of mail. I had no right to use a stamp twice!"

Did I steal from the government? Yes I did. And I quit that practice.

Remember when bins full of grapes laid loose in the grocery store? Why do you think they are now displayed separated into bags? Well, I never did, but I have seen many folks snitch a grape or two as they walked by. Thousands of people a day snatching many pounds of grapes! It's plain old stealing!

Now I really want to get down to nitty-gritties.

Recently, the supposed fine, upstanding man that I claim to be, succumbed to a strawberry. While Carol looked for potted flowers at Walmart, I strolled by a row of potted strawberry plants. Lo-and-behold, one plant had a ripe strawberry hanging on the side of the pot, begging to be eaten. . . . So I did.

Did I steal that berry? Or did I just put it out of its misery?  Please let me know.

1 comment:

Mindy said...

well, is a white lie a lie? But being the upright man of the cloth that I am I won't tell anyone if you bring me a strawberry or two!!!! (JUST KIDDING) Love ya Franz