Lynn's Comments: I stole a small purse once. I took it from Orek's department store in North Vancouver. I wanted it, I didn't have the money and I took it when no one was looking. When I got it home, I hid it in my closet so nobody would find it and ask where I got it from. I knew better. I had been given all the lectures. I was in the church choir and Brownies and I certainly knew the commandment "Thou shalt not steal"...but, I did it anyway. I never returned it. I was too embarrassed to do so. I kept it without ever using it, as a reminder of something I'd done for the fun of it, but had never enjoyed. I had it until I left home, and the guilt still lingers.
Lynn's Comments: I have been tempted to take something from a store and on two occasions I admit to having done so! It's such an easy thing to do, sometimes: no supervision, no cameras, nothing to stop you but your conscience. My conscience has stopped me from doing a lot of things. I'm grateful to have one - and whether it's a quality that's learned or a gift from birth, everyone must have one. I tried to make sure that my kids knew the difference between right and wrong but even with the most rigorous explanations, they still had to find out for themselves what it was like to deal with guilt and retribution.
Lynn's Comments: When I was about six, I took a small purse from a local variety store. I also confess: when I was about 35, I stole a skipping rope from Ikea. I don't know why I did it. I had the opportunity and I thought my daughter would play with it. I ran to the car, hiding it in my other packages and drove away like a thief with a prize. It was exciting, actually. I didn't need or want this thing, but I got away with an illegal act and it was fun. At least until I got home.
By then, the thrill had been replaced by a litany that played over and over in my head; "What did you do that for, you idiot?!" I mailed the skipping rope back to the store with a note to say that I had taken it by mistake; that I'd forgotten to pay for it. I never heard from Ikea- but I didn't want their thanks. The sense of relief was all that I needed!
Lynn's Comments: I enjoyed spinning this story along for a while. December is always a difficult month when it comes to money- and the temptation to take things to give as gifts to others is very strong. I hoped that by showing how hard it was for Michael to live with his conscience I might deter another young person from doing some "Christmas shoplifting". This story was based on a true incident. Aaron had taken a toy from the Hudson's Bay store and confessed when I asked him where the money had come from to buy it.
Lynn's Comments: The woman took the toy, laughed, put it back on the shelf and in front of Aaron said "No problem. Kids take stuff all the time!" I was livid. Here was an opportunity to teach a child about honesty and she passed it off as if it was nothing.
Lynn's Comments: When a child - or anyone - rights a wrong, they need recognition. To have Michael return the scarf without some praise for his honesty would have been wrong. For every manager who would punish a gesture like this, there are many more who will acknowledge the courage required when a thief returns what was taken and is ready to face the music! In this case, Michael faced both his mother and the store manager proving he had "strength of character"!
Lynn's Comments: The thing about writing a sit-com style of strip is that secondary characters have to be there on hand to deliver "straight lines" These comments they would likely NOT say in real life, but do so here, in order to make the dialogue interesting. Quotes like Lawrence's here are added so the reader can weigh the outcome: Since I got away with it, would I have taken the stolen article back or would I have been nuts to do so?
Lynn's Comments: In retaliation for the store manager's off-handed response, I did this short storyline about theft, guilt and honesty and sent it in. As Farley Mowat said (when I asked him if everything he wrote in his books was true), "If it didn't happen, it SHOULD have!" My thoughts exactly!