The young blonde man with really long hair was destined to be fired. He’s one of the first people I met in the construction business, and back in 1992, there simply weren’t that many men working construction who had long hair. His name was Kim, no really, that used to be a common male name, years ago, but in this case, it made it even more surreal that he had long hair. But Kim stole things, and he had done time for stealing. One of the first things I was told was to lock my truck around Kim because he stole things. It turned out to be true, he came to work carrying a large cooler, for his lunch, Kim said, and at the end of the shift, they caught him trying to sneak an electric hand drill into the cooler.
I asked him one time, why he stole things, and he told me he didn’t understand why people didn’t steal from companies and businesses because they stole from people. In an odd way, that makes some sense, but at the same time, I’m not getting into shoplifting for social justice.
One of the weirdest people I knew was a great employee when he wasn’t trying to rip someone off, and sure enough, to do business with this guy in any form was to get shafted. He had a side job in the timber cutting business and when his employer died he stole three chainsaws out of the man’s truck before the body was cold.
Years ago, I dated a woman who stole over a thousand dollars from a store where she worked as a manager. The place had been hit by two guys wearing masks and carrying guns, but they just got what was in the two cash registers. Mary took some hundreds and twenties from under the cash tray and stuck them in her purse before the cops got there. She quit right after the robbery, citing fear of it happening again, and no one ever knew she took the money. I was shocked, really, because as far as I knew, she had never done anything like that before. I asked her what she did with the money, and she said she paid bills with it, bought her niece some clothes, and saved the rest. She felt bad but never offered to pay it back.
I’m not sure what drove what was a fairly ethical person to steal money, especially in light of the fact she had just experienced an armed robbery, but she told me the idea hit and was executed in a matter of seconds. They weren’t out of the parking lot before she was moving.
Trauma? Opportunity? Who knows?
There’s no way for those of us here, who have never served any real time, to figure out why people do the things they do when they do them, and if they’ll return to that sort of behavior, regardless of the costs. It’s a complicated issue as far as the why, I’m sure, but some of us have just never stolen anything to cause our lives to be complicated by theft.
Stick Man got arrested for stealing an ATV on the third of July. He’s been fired. His foreman told me he said, “Tell Mike I’m sorry.”
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
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