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Tuesdays with Storied for December 14, 2021

True Storied. When I was in 7th grade and my susceptibility to peer pressure and friendship codependency was at an all-time high, I stole an eyeliner from an Ames Department store. In Burlington, Vermont in the early 1990’s, Ames was a pretty big deal in that it was one of the flagship stores at the mall. And you could take the bus to it.

While out with a group of friends who are also participating in this naughty behavior, one of my friends told me to steal something. At the time I would have rather broken the law than cross a friend. Another friend got caught and so I had to go home and tell my parents what I had done. Side note—I ended up breaking the eyeliner after I left the store and throwing it away because I felt so guilty.

My parents promptly drove me over to Ames so that I could get a proper tongue lashing from the mall security. While I sat with my white hot shame and my head down, the security guard laid into me for several minutes. Towards the end of her monologue, she pointed to framed pictures of her kids on the wall. Both of her kids were in military uniforms and she told me that if I kept up with this behavior I would never be able to be in any part of the Armed Forces and would not be able to serve our country. I saw my parents give each other a look as if to say, “I think the point had been taken” and they politely wrapped up the meeting. In the movie version of this dramedy, the mall cop would be played by Melissa McCarthy.

Recently, my son had to make amends for his behavior and I went full McCarthy on him. In the dramedy of his life, this is a scene neither of us will soon forget.

Parents, what better gift to give your kids this holiday season then a recorded version of all of your youthful indiscretions and the hard earned wisdom that has resulted?

Or kids, how about getting your parents a gift certificate to share all of the poor choices they made before their frontal lobes were fully developed?

Honestly yours,


P.S. I have reformed my ways and have never stolen again. Except for hearts of course. I can hear the eye rolls.

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