When I was a kid – maybe ten years old or so – I was way into drawing. I’ve never been a great artist, mind you. I just loved it.
Every kid used crayons, but I remember seeing these colored pencils in our local supermarket one day. It was a Prang 48 pack.
But I was a broke kid in 1991. How the hell was I going to draw the next great comic book hero?
Like most of my decisions, I don’t remember much self-debate. I just knew I had to steal those colored pencils.
Side note: I’m fully aware of how dorky I was/am for starting my criminal career over art supplies. Way to live life on the edge, nerd.
In retrospect, I know I wasn’t slick at all because my master plan was to stick the pack of pencils down the front of my pants. This subsequently left me with a rectangular shaped crotch and a bow-legged gait. It took all of five minutes for a security guard to snatch me up and bring me to a back office. I cried like no tomorrow because that bastard security guard did the unforgivable.
He called my father.
Oh shit. Hellfire was going to rain in Paterson.
The ride home with my father was silent, though I swore I could hear his pulse emanating from the bulging vein on his right temple. I was trapped. I knew I was in for the ass whooping to end all ass whoopings.
All for art supplies.
Barely containing his fury, my father told me to get inside the house. My mind raced with possible exit strategies. Luckily, once we entered the house, my father immediately went to find my mother to inform her of my escapades.
Oh, you done slipped up, dad.
I took my mother’s house and car keys. I took a few magazines. I took a box of cereal and a box of Cheez-Its. I stashed the food and magazines in the backseat of my mom’s car and ran over to my friend Ahijah’s house.
I figured I’d flesh out the rest of this brilliant plan later. For now it was time to play. Ahijah and I played Nintendo, watched TV, and did a bunch of other random stuff my adult mind has long forgotten.
This was me living life on the run from the law.
Then my parents called Ahijah’s house.
Damn, the jig was up!
I rushed outside and ran back home. Ahijah’s mom said my father was on his way so I wanted to make sure I was nowhere in the vicinity. I may have had horrible plans, but I was amazingly elusive.
Darkwing Duck style.
It started raining as soon as I arrived back at my house. I dared not step inside; instead I opted to hop in the back of my mom’s Corolla and settle in for some post-Nintendo Cheez-Its and Highlights magazine.
I hid back there for what seemed like hours. Knowing my short attention span, it was probably 30 minutes tops. In any case, after a while I began contemplating my next move. Do I start a new life as a fugitive or fess up and take my punishment?
Starting a new life is tough. After all, no one’s just handing out free Cheez-Its to ten-year-olds. The world seemed too big for me to handle So I went back home, got my ass whooping, and went on to fight another day.
Here I am 23 years later. The situation is different, but the choices have remained consistent after all these years.
Do I start a new life or return to what’s familiar?
This time the world seems just big enough to handle.
Peace out, party people.