Oh, yikes. Are we really going to go here? I already feel like the delinquent deb — Thank God, is all I can say, for Jennifer‘s at times equally risque adventures — but is it really time to come out and confess the crimes?
I’m going to skip through the drinking-related misdeeds, because who really needs to hear about how I got busted for underage drinking when I was 16 and wearing a poodle skirt over my head? (I’d been in a dance show earlier that night where my friend and I had performed synchronized moves to “Chantilly Lace.” True. All of it. I wish it weren’t.)
Ahem. Sorry. Skipping. Let’s move onto when I was in eighth grade and had taken on the habit of shoplifting sunglasses with my friend L. (who, it should be noted, is now a successful therapist). We had our routine so down that we truly fancied ourselves geniuses. Here’s how it would work: we’d enter a store, pretending to be self-involved, distracted teenagers (it wasn’t hard). Try on glasses. “Do you like these? What about these?” Push whichever pair we liked best — and had tried on last — to the top of the head. Then a glance at the watch. “Oh my God, we’re late to meet Maria!” Or some such. And a dash out of the store. With the type of clueless bravado that only a pair of delusional adolescents could possess, we assumed our plan was full-proof because we could always convincingly exclaim, “Glasses? On my head? Oh my God, you’re right. How silly of me! How much are they?”
Now here’s the dark part of the story and knowing that what I’ve said so far is light still won’t prepare you for what I’m about to reveal. Because it was at this point that we decided to involve my grandmother in our illicit activities. (If you thought that I wished the poodle skirt and Chantilly Lace wasn’t true, you can only imagine how I feel now.) We went to Palm Springs for a week to visit Grandma, where we went to a slew of those tacky tourist shops that only teenagers and the elderly seem to enjoy. Inside, we’d scope out the glasses selection and when we found a pair we really liked, we’d ask Grandma if she’d mind “holding onto” them. She never did and they slipped right into her big black purse. Who, we figured, would question a sweet older lady like her? All I can say about that now is that if I believed in hell, I’d be fully convinced I was going there, and the fact that I haven’t been struck down by lightning does seem like some sort of a karmic mistake.
The run L. and I were on came to a screeching halt the day that we took our act to Macy’s back at home and were caught on videotape ripping the tags off of the glasses. Once we’d been busted, I confessed everything while L. went the denial route. And, after they let us go with the truly embarrassing — and unenforceable, but I was too paranoid to understand that at the time — order that we never enter Macy’s again without an adult until we came of age, they released us and called our parents. Coming clean was apparently the way to go because the “cop” — that’s what he was to me, anyway — told my mom that it seemed like my friend had pressured me into the theft.
While my adventures in shoplifting ended that very day, the paranoia that accompanied them is with me still. Every single time I see a sign that says “We prosecute shoplifters,” I feel this strange urge to throw my hands into the air and confess my sins, despite the fact that my pockets are empty. Perhaps that’s just my soul’s way of torturing me for having involved an unwitting and slightly senile relative in my life of crime.