So… I have a confession to make. I successfully stole a kid’s Game Boy in Grade 4, but was not successful in keeping it. Let’s call the kid Logan for now.
On the park I used to watch a boy in Grade 3 play Pokemon. He was in the Safari Zone and captured a Tauros. Now. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. I did have a Playstation my uncle gave me, but of course when you’re a kid you don’t want to seem out of the loop. I lied to this kid and said, “Oh I caught Tauros yesterday.”
Now, since he had Pokemon Red, and I lied and said I had Pokemon Blue, he insisted that I bring my Game Boy to school to trade. I insisted my mom wouldn’t let me bring my game, so naturally my legitimacy was brought into question, “Do you even have a Game Boy? Or are you lying?” So to divert the lying label I so rightly deserved, I said I would bring it to school the next day.
Next day came, I had no Game Boy to show for it. He shook his head and walked away from me first block recess. However, Logan, in my class had one. He put his Game Boy and all his games in a Crown Royal bag, and slung it behind the chair. I concocted a plan to steal it before third block recess.
*Now as a preface. If you don’t really know me, or didn’t know me. This behaviour would be considered EXTREMELY uncharacteristic. I didn’t get into trouble EVER. In fact I was told to sit outside the classroom once for stomping my feet when I lost Seven Up. Teachers would often say, “I wish everyone behaved like Amy, she’s great.” I never reached teacher’s pet status, but I was certainly a well-behaved, friendly, seemingly-happy child.
Problem 1: What would mom say seeing this Game Boy? Well… our school had a policy for lost and found items that after a month it was yours. I knew she would buy it because I had this reputation for being friendly and altruistic.
Problem 2: What would happen when he’d notice it was missing and everyone tried to look for it? Well… I would try to help find it, be very sympathetic, and play the role I always did. The sweet altruistic Amy.
Problem 3: What could I do to make it look like a different Game Boy so I could bring it to school? I had Oilers stickers and Blue Jays stickers, I would cover it up completely to ensure I wasn’t accused of stealing the yellow Game Boy colour.
So how did I do it you ask?
Before 3rd break recess, our class had library time. At about 15 minutes to recess, I asked our teacher if I could use the bathroom. I remember him glaring as he scoffed, “You can’t wait 15 minutes?” “No I really can’t.” I did my best pee dance, and he rolled his eyes and said, “Be quick.”
And I was. I power-walked upstairs to our opened classroom, grabbed the Crown Royal bag, briskly walked to my locker, and stashed it in the depths of my backpack, ensuring papers, books, and my lunch bag completely covered it. I felt empowered. I felt on top of the world.
I remember being on the swings, laughing to myself with the thrill of the steal. I imagined the conversation my mom and I would have later that night regarding the lost and found policy.
However, as you can guess, it did not go according to plan. As soon as I walked in the classroom, a very panicked friend of mine asked, “Have you seen Logan’s Game Boy?!?!” Logan looked incredibly upset tearing his desk apart to find his bag.
Calmly I said, “No I haven’t.” Feeling a pang of guilt and anxiety. I wasn’t quite expecting this reaction as the whole class, including our teacher, banded together to find this Game Boy. I assumed our teacher, who was quite old school, would say, “You shouldn’t leave your stuff out in the open.” But he appeared quite concerned and ready to figure out who the culprit was.
We were instructed to sit down, and our teacher asked the class questions about suspicious people etc. However, like an IDIOT I told a friend that I found an OLD Game Boy in a plastic bag at recess. I figured that OLD GAME BOY, and PLASTIC BAG would be a big enough distractor from YELLOW GAME BOY COLOUR in a CROWN ROYAL bag, but I forgot she had a huge crush on Logan.
I should have known not to trust her with this knowledge, but I was so excited about my snag. Her and I fought for a few minutes about the logistics of it being his Game Boy until the final nail in the coffin came:
“If you won’t tell, I will.” She defiantly put her hand up, glaring at me in a self-righteous way.
I told her to put her hand down, and what follows is one of the quickest, most unconvincing lies I’ve ever told. A lie that I’m sure my teacher DID NOT buy, but because of my reputation, Logan did.
“A kid with glasses, I think he was from Kindergarten, gave me a Game Boy at the park saying it was his. So I put it in my backpack.” I had the kid in my head, he was the brattiest, most rebellious little kid at school.
I don’t quite remember the rest of the conversation, but I somehow managed to divert the blame from me, to this Kindergarten kid. I don’t remember my teacher’s reaction because it’s clouded with hindsight bias. However, at one point he instructed us both to go to my locker, and I returned the Game Boy to Logan, who was very happy.
Later in the day the whole class was convinced it was the 5-year-old kindergartener, who somehow managed to escape his well-supervised classroom, and sneak up to our classroom to steal the Game Boy before recess. Instead of me who conveniently had it in my locker. Our teacher even mentioned keeping our things out of sight from thieves, and not to trust younger kids who may not have developed morals.
Though I’m sure from the corner of his eye, he was watching me. I even knew the lie was far too convenient, so in the future I knew I could never steal again.
Well… apart from Book Fairs. Those were always fair game. Look, if you’re going to host an event where all the wealthy kids can buy cool shit like gel pens, and duck erasers, while the poor kids look wistfully at all the shiny goodies, I feel like it’s ethically responsible to steal.
However, I never stole from people again. So my career in thievery ended in Grade 4. Also it’s really terrible to steal from others, but as a child you’re far too narcissistic, and in those days commercials did an excellent job in conditioning kids to want more stuff. So I convinced myself I was justified.
I’m glad my friend almost ratted me out, because I feel like it would have sparked a stronger kleptomania response, but I’ve always wondered… what if?