Saturday, July 05, 2008

Spectacular stolen items of interest

I read in a religion news blog that The Holy Bible is the most shoplifted book. Heavens to Murgatroid! -what’s up with that? Does this statistic include Gideon providers? Do thieves who steal Bibles consider this hook or crook act to be above the Ten Commandments? Whose lead are they following for this unseemly act to be manifesting itself in our country? Are they romanticizing that if they are caught pocketing hallowed verses, the original author will instantaneously absolve them? Has anybody ever gone to jail for copping a Bible? Apparently so. In addition, the Dead Sea scrolls were reportedly stolen at some point from a Jewish Synagogue. I wonder if this statistic somehow stacks up differently for blessed books of the Koran.

After speculating over these underlying pilfering causes, Slate published an article proclaiming that meat is the most purloined supermarket item in America. This drove me to get to the beef of the matter. I pursued a line of questioning, asking, what other items of interest have been stolen over the ages? First, there was Mary’s Little Lamb. That’s right; in 1990, somebody under the cover of darkness fleeced a Sterling, Massachusetts statue of Mary’s lamb, which commemorated Sarah J. Hale’s nursery rhyme. After seeing news reports of kids bawling over the incident, the bandits rediscovered their own hearts and tiptoed back into the town manger to return poor Mary’s innocent lamb.

Our first and last Presidents have both been involved in petty larcenies. In 1990, somebody pinched George Washington’s old wallet from an unlocked cabinet in Trenton New Jersey’s Old Barracks Museum. This too was later returned. The police once detained our current Commandeer for stealing a Christmas wreath, while he led a boisterous Yale frat house. The next year, rambunctious George embarked on a (unaccomplished) mission to steal a crossbar from rival Princeton after a football game.

Another popular harmless prank involves the mysterious “borrowing” of somebody’s precious trinket or doll and then taking it for a trip around the world on adventures it would never otherwise had, glumly festering in an unused toy box. This has happened several times. The practical-joke protocol is for the traveler to take as many photographs as possible from faraway exotic lands with the doll placed in front of recognizable landmarks. After a spell, the doll is returned in the wee hours, holding a satchel stuffed abundantly full of photographs, which show off its masterful adventures.

Then the perpetrator fesses up after forty years or so.

Huck Finn’s pap once said it was okay to borrow a watermelon –as long you intended to pay it back. Onliest thing is that Huck ‘disremembers’ ever recompensating any of the farmers. I suppose we are all borrowing these days with technology stolen from the Mythos, with the miracle of Google, instant messaging from Hermes, laser beams to heal or destroy, MRI’s and nanotechnology, ships of the sky and magic sticks which thrust open doors with our simple commands.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I am not advocating that anybody actually steal anything. Far from it. In fact, a friend recently had his entire CD music collection swiped from his house. Most of the tunes were from twenty-five years ago; an era when songs were written about peace, love and understanding, before the popularity of cop-killer and gangbanger songs, stole away some of our peace. I sometimes wonder if the person, who stole my friend’s collection, enjoys listening to Carol King, Steve Miller and Arlo Guthrie, while knowing that each rocking rhythm was robbed. I pray that one of those pilfered bibles out there freely circulating will serendipitously appear in the crook’s cache to reveal a new dimension of thievery, so that the burglar might rediscover his misplaced heart, then tiptoe back to my friend’s porch to return his peacenik C.D.s.

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Review of hyperlinks used: Thieves go for Bible, but ignore Ten Commandments

Why Americans love to shoplift meat. - By Brendan I. Koerner - Slate Magazine

AlterNet: How Bush Breaks the Ten Commandments

George W. Bush's Journey: Ally of an Older Generation amid the Tumult of the 60's

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