Here’s a little truth about me- I hate breaking the rules. Well, in my personal life, that is. Breaking the rules is what MiKandi is all about. There, I happily test boundaries.
I personally dislike breaking rules so much that I’m getting anxious right now just thinking about it. The best way to turn me into a non-functioning sweaty sack of nervousness is to suggest we try a sneaking into a second movie at the theater.
So, let me tell you the story of how I, a straight-laced, law abiding citizen, almost went to prison for the rest of my life.
It all began at the A&P in South Plainfield, New Jersey…
I couldn’t have been older than six, and like most six year olds, I fucking loved candy. On our weekly grocery store trips, I found ways to “lose” mom for a few minutes to wander over to the candy aisle and stare longingly at its wares. During each of these mini vacations, I’d try to work my courage up to reach in and grab a gummy bear or two. I never did of course, because in reality I was a pussy and not the bad ass candy thief of my dreams. Until one day…
It was the perfect set up, you see. The store was quiet, my parents were preoccupied, and the candy aisle was empty. For what seemed like an eternity, I nervously watched both ends of the aisle for an adult to wander by. Yet no one came. After a few more minutes hyping myself up, I began to believe that I really could get away with this. I’d just grab a couple sweets, just a pinch. And I’d be fast as lightning. I wouldn’t even chew. Just grab the candy, shove it in my mouth, and swallow it whole. The plan was brilliant! Fool-proof, even!
So I did it. Except before I could get to the “swallow it whole” part, I saw a movement in the corner of my eye.
There she was at the end of the aisle- my little sister. And she saw everything. An old Western movie duel scene is the best way to describe it. Except in this production, she doesn’t challenge me to a candy-crunching duel. Instead, she turns and runs, yelling, “MOOOOMMMMMMM!!”
Long story short, I got caught stealing candy. For a passive kid like I naturally was, that alone scarred me. The final nail in the coffin to my deliquent ways was how my parents chose to punish me.
Instead of a swift punishment of just grounding me, you know, like normal parents, my folks decided they needed to teach me a life lesson of accountability. UGH! On the car ride home, my father informed me of what happens to thieves (Prison. They go to PRISON.) and his hopes that the manager would be lenient. Between my wailing, he laid out our plan- bascially, beg for mercy. As soon as we got home, I was to grab my piggy bank, and come back to the car so we could return to the store to plead my case to the manager. I was scared shitless.
So we’re back at the store, and the manager is there waiting for us. He asks me if I have something to say to him. I don’t clearly remember what I said because this part of the memory is one huge emotion- utter despair. I’m sure I confessed to stealing four gummy bears, and begged him to not call the cops, assuring him that I was truly remorseful. He mulled it over, eventually agreed to not press charges on the condition that I 1.) reimburse him four pennies, and 2.) promise to never, ever steal again. Relieved that I just barely avoided a life in the penitentiary, I reached into my piggy bank and handed over the best spent four pennies of my life.
To this day, I’ve kept true to my promise.
Now, for many years, when I told this story, I added a little flourish that I had more gummy bears stuffed into my pocket and that after this brush with the law, I defiantly ate them on the car ride home. For the first time in my life, I’m laying it all out there. This last part is a total lie, one that I added because for the longest time, saying this story aloud made me cringe at how much a wimp I was. Somehow, my fucked up brain thought this embellishment made me more legit.
Can we just talk about that for a second though? A grown woman lying about being a bad-ass candy stealing six year old, giving the Man a big fuck-you by eating made up gummy bears after just narrowly evading the law? Really, Jen? Really.
Here’s another fact about me- I don’t like sweets all that much. Coincidence? I think not.