THE PAPER THIEF
Some things remain a constant throughout your life. There are things from your childhood that still exist in adulthood. For me, it’s an odd memory of sorts. I have a strange and powerful fascination with office supplies. It’s not an obsession in the strictest sense of the word because I can survive a day without coming in contact with staplers or rolls of transparent tape. I just can’t lie when it comes to the utter joy I experience whenever I am in an office supply store. Thankfully, there has been an explosion of popularity for these types of stores, which means I am not alone in regards to my fetish.
It was not until recently that I was able to connect my youth to my current passion for paper clips and copyholders. I owe this revelation mostly to my insightful—not to mention understanding wife, who came up with his diagnosis after hearing yet another one of my juvenile delinquent tales from growing up on the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey.
The story that led to this startling realization involved breaking and entering my grade school late one night with a bunch of my neighborhood hoodlums. While they took evil delight in trashing classrooms, I was overwhelmed with glee with the prospect that I could possibly go home with all the reams of crisp white paper that I could ever desire! Not only that, I reveled with a devilish chuckle as I stuffed my pockets with brand new number two pencils, BIC pens, and Flair Felt tip markers! Wow! I thought as I realized that I had hit the mother lode! All the while, I shook my head in disbelief at the stupidity of my colleagues in crime. Naïve they were, getting their kicks from putting chalk inside erasers just to see the looks on the faces of teachers they hated the next morning when they would try to erase the blackboard only to make things worse. How lame I thought they were, all the while I continued to plunder the office supply cabinets.
My mind raced with wonder over all the things I would do with my newfound lute. Oh, all the compelling art I would draw—the opuses I would write! I justified my illegal activity by thinking of how funny it would be someday in the future once I became a rich and famous author, telling some interviewer about the time I was a paper thief. I actually believed it was all right for me to take those things because it was going to help me fulfill my destiny and make my dreams come true.
Such is the folly of youth. Yes, I did thoroughly enjoy my treasure trove of goodies. I did draw and write plenty, but I always knew it was wrong to steal. Still, every once in a while, when I am left alone in an Office Max, the thought does pop into my head as I look around and fight the temptation from my youth to pilfer something. That is why I don’t like to go to office supply stores alone.