I committed a theft last weekend. A flagrant, illegal theft. But first, Your Honor, before throwing myself on the mercy of the court, let me tell you the story behind the story.
Okay, here goes: I went to a movie the night before my crime and bought a $7.50 bag of popcorn (total actual value: 45 cents). I was able to finish only half the bag. I took the bag home with me intending to finish it, salty handful by salty handful, the following day, but never got around to it. The bag sat there, ignored, for the entire day.
And then that evening, I decided to attend another movie (I lead an exciting life) and a light bulb went off in my head! I stuffed the half bag of popcorn into my bulky winter jacket, bought my ticket, disappeared into the dark theater and pulled out the half bag of day-old popcorn, and consumed it. And enjoyed it thoroughly.
Clearly, Your Honor, I stole from the theater and I’m truly thankful that the 17-year-old ticket-taker didn’t yank me into a back room and work me over before calling the police.
But seriously, was that a crime? Okay, okay, yeah, it was, but was it really wrong? Okay, yeah, I was actually depriving a business of some of its income, but it was no big thing to the theater, was it?? A big business like that can certainly afford such a small, insignificant loss.
What’s that you say, Your Honor? We have rules that we must abide by, or all society breaks down? Well, yeah but…..Have I committed other violations, other illegal acts?? No, no, not at all! Well, yeah, kind of, but, you know, nothing big, nothing to worry about…What were they? What did I do?
Well, Jeeze, even though I haven’t sworn to tell the truth on a Bible, I’ll try to be forthright here and enumerate my crimes, my ethical failings and my indiscretions (in hopes that I’ll be provided some leniency):
1) I’ve occasionally driven with a blood-alcohol content over .08 (But I’ve been very, very careful and it’s only been for very short distances)
2) Sometimes I’ve parked in a spot where the meter had expired, and I didn’t put in a quarter. (Never been caught)
3) I’ve relieved myself in public parks when I was certain no one was watching. (Never been caught. Thank God!)
4) I’ve repeatedly walked my dog on a beach where a “No Dogs” sign was posted. (Hey, dogs belong on a beach if you clean up their messes)
5) A few nights ago, I failed to pick up my dog’s mess in a plastic bag because she did it in 3 feet of snow, and I would have gotten soaked if I had tried to retrieve it. (Heck, no one will find it until spring, anyway)
6) I’ve looked at porn on the Internet. Once. (Okay, more than once)
7) I stole large rocks from a construction site once. (Actually it was a “destruction” site, and I’m pretty sure the owners were glad to get rid of them)
8) I stole ferns from public land once. (They were never missed. There were tons of them)
So that about does it, Your Honor. No homicides, no assaults, just run-of-the-mill human failings. Just like everybody else out there, right? Right? Hello?
So what’s my sentence for this litany of crimes I’ve committed?….I see, uh huh, okay. I MUST ANSWER TO MY CONSCIENCE. That’s pretty heavy stuff, Your Honor, and I’ll certainly keep it in mind. Thank you, and I’ll check with the bailiff on the way out.
So anyway, like I was saying, I don’t think the theater really needed that extra $7.50 for popcorn…and those ferns, they really look great in my garden, and…….