‘You’ve got to pick a pocket or two dear …

I’ve stolen things.

Many things.

Little things and mostly meaningless curios.

As a kid, it was shoplifting gum, candy bars and curiously, golf balls. I’d say, anything I could lay my hands on.

As I grew from ‘tween’ to teen, it was books, records, and porn magazines – lots of those. Pretty sure I was single-handedly responsible for Penthouse eclipsing Playboy in popularity.

And as a young adult, I lifted stuff from nearly every workplace I’ve been in.

And sometimes it was germs of stories, hosts of accents and beliefs that I’d let seep into my stories. I’d steal something from each new set of people I was forced to become part of for a specific number of hours each day.

I never got caught.

But why would I risk losing jobs for meaningless trinkets?

An adoptee has to adapt or die. An adoptee is a cipher, changing and blending into most environments, a ghost that’s not really there. Never really belonging and believe me … they can smell it. If there’s one thing that those in charge of the rah-rah factor cannot abide by is, an individual. So ultimately, I become expendable, detachable, not part of the herd — this despite the fact that I perform the roles anywhere from very well to superbly. It’s my adoptee smell that dooms me, a smell you can mask only for so long. You can fake it and make it through a combination of joking, nose to the grindstone work, distractions and attractions, but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

The adoptee baggage instilled the appropriate degree of detachment from my actions and from those who were trying to love and raise me to be a good person. Mainly, I was on my own. Making up my own rules about how the world worked.

Many, many years later, that phase of my life is long gone. But the desire to belong remained. Getting jobs has always been hard, losing them even harder.

Not really a ‘something’, more of a cipher, adapting , each different environment, almost always well-liked no matter what my role.

Only since I started writing as an adoptee, have I realized that 1. I did it, and 2. Why I did it. It seems it’s one part anger, feeling like the world owes me, but the deeper reason is to belong. Yeah, that sounds like an excuse for bad morals. Maybe it is.

And then there’s stealing’s constant companion … lying.


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