Because this column appears in Mirror Moms, I sometimes feel compelled to teach a life lesson, as well as amuse the readers. So get out your pen and paper because you're not only going to want to learn something here, but you might want to use it for future blackmail opportunities.
What is stealing? Do you have to take an actual material good to quantify it as stealing?
Recently, I was in line at a local grocery store, waiting my turn, waiting long enough that I was able to grab a cooking magazine off a shelf and read it. I saw a really good recipe that I wanted, but when looking at the price of the magazine, I didn't want to pay over $7 for just one recipe.
Because I had my shopping list on me, I saw no problem in taking out said list, turning it over to the blank side, and copying the recipe, word-for-word, from the magazine.
The lady behind me saw what I was doing and just kind of smiled. If she was judging me, she only did it mentally.
When I told my wife, Ann Marie, the story she questioned whether or not that was stealing. I didn't think it was. What if I had just read it over and over to the point of memorizing it -- which I did once with a wonderful cheesesteak casserole recipe -- would that be stealing?
It wasn't stealing ... but what I am about to reveal to you now is probably more stealing than the above story, but again, I think I can defend myself.
When I was in eighth grade, a friend of mine dared me to take a record out of the Hills department store. It was a 45. ... Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" I was an idiot at the time, but I actually made it to the parking lot before I realized what was at stake.
I was the son of an Altoona policeman and the most strict, Catholic-Italian woman this side of the Mediterranean Sea. I also attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel where a good portion of the nuns there trained under Chuck Norris.
Maybe it was the fact that my dad owned a gun, maybe it was the threat of my mom's backhand, or a forearm to the throat by any of the nuns at Mount Carmel, but I took the 45 back. And let's be honest, if you're going to steal a Rod Stewart record, it should be "Hot Legs."
Was that stealing? I took it back, without getting caught, and put it back on the shelf. The material good was never taken out of circulation without payment. I think returning the item negates my immoral decision.
My wife -- who is so wholesome that she makes Laura Ingalls of "Little House on the Prairie" fame look like Lady Gaga -- believes they were both sins, both immoral actions. But how can I go by what she says when she doesn't have any experience doing the wrong thing at the wrong time?
So if you want to take any lesson from this story to maybe use for future reference for a child or a grandchild, please don't write it down. Try to memorize it. That way my wife won't have to question whether or not you did something wrong.