illustration by Bob AulI'm a recovering shoplifter, and this is my formal bid to join the ranks of Winona Ryder, Jennifer Capriati, Olga Korbut and Hedy Lamarr. I want to be famous for my exploits. My pedigree is impressive and starts this way: many years ago, I had just picked up one of my prescriptions at a Rexall drugstore. The cash register at the prescription counter was down for maintenance, so the pharmacist directed me to the cashier at the other end of the store. On the way across the store, I peeked at a couple of magazines and absent-mindedly stuck the prescriptions in my pocket. Still thinking about the magazines, I walked out of store without paying, and it wasn't until I got home that I discovered I had just launched my shoplifting career. What to do? I didn't want to embarrass myself by confessing, so I just kept my trap shut. But the thrill! I had beaten the system big-time! My next score was at a Market Basket supermarket. I craved table grapes, but somehow the ones they had out there didn't look very sweet. So I grabbed a small bunch and began to sample them for sweetness. I carried them around as I made my way down the aisles, popping the grapes one at a time, trying to decide whether they were sweet enough. Before I'd finished shopping, they were all gone, and I decided they weren't sweet enough anyway. So I chucked the denuded stems behind some packages of French Rolls, and I finished my shopping. The store never found out I'd ripped them off to the tune of . . . all those grapes! What a feeling of "power process" that gave me! My final blow to the system came when I decided to get myself a 25-cent package of Wrigley's chewing gum down at the newsstand. After I had gotten ahold of the gum, I noticed that the cashier line was really, really long, and purchasers were using credit cards for piddling little items. The line wasn't moving at all. So I just pocketed the Wrigley's gum and took off. That took real daring and élan. Do I qualify for the big time?
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