Leila at Bookshelves of Doom linked to this piece on The Awl about YA authors' experiences with shoplifting. I do remember at some point as a child getting the feeling that Your First Shoplifting was some kind of weird rite of passage, but one that I was definitely too chicken to do. I was a Rule Follower to a nutty and inconvenient extent--when my kindergarten bus driver tried to give me a candy bar, I refused to take it because he was A Stranger; weirdly, he shoved it into a pocket of my backpack on my way out of the bus. I brought it home and sobbed hysterically while my father ate it, convinced that it was poison. When the same bus driver (quite the stand-up guy, who used to leave us on the bus while he parked outside convenience stores to buy packs of cigarettes) dropped me off across the street from my house and my dad wasn't there to meet me (again, KINDERGARTEN) I refused to cross the street or to talk to the nice neighbor lady who came out to help me (STRANGER), so she had to go up and down the block ringing doorbells to find out where I belonged.
Anyway, I clearly never shoplifted. But I do vividly remember two incidents that are in the general neighborhood of shoplifting:
1) I am four years old. I have a forbidden piggy bank stuffed with money from birthdays and Christmases and relative visits. I also have a vague, dawning sense that said money can be exchanged for goods, namely candy or ponies, in the store. I take out a five-dollar bill. When questioned, I claim that it was on the ground, behind the toilet, and I found it there SO IT'S MINE, ALL MINE.
Outcome: Tears, a Long Talk About Honesty, and a savings account that I can't break into with my grubby little hands.
2) I am nine years old. I have to go to church on Sunday but frankly, after spending all week in Catholic school, it seems a little redundant. I spend most of mass doodling on the church bulletin with the golf pencils placed in the pews for some kind of churchy pledge drive. In order to have a solid writing surface, I pull a hardback hymnal onto my lap. At the end of mass, I collect my things, including my doodled-upon bulletin still wrapped around the hymnal. Accustomed to having a book under my arm at all times, I do not notice that I have Stolen From God Himself until we pull into the parking lot of my dad's apartment complex.
Outcome: Hysteria (because I am Going to Hell, obviously), a lot of poorly-masked parental laughter, a quick trip back to church.
What about you? Were you like the Cool Kids on TV, or were you a rule-following nerd like me, Libba Bray, and John Green? (Nerds FTW!)