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Friday, November 2, 2007

Stolen Moments


Dr. Lester CN Simon

There are at least two reasons for feeling cheated when something (or someone) is stolen from you. There is the value of the stolen item and there is the fact that some lesser idiot outsmarted a greater idiot. And these two reasons are not necessarily in that order of importance.

I can vividly remember the first time I was involved in a theft. Actually, I did not see it as a theft at all at the time. My very big (huge in fact), older and more powerful cousin, who was known to beat up people and strangle poor, little, innocent animals for less than nothing, had commanded poor, little me to take two shillings and six pence from our grandmother’s money pan.

He was set on using the money to gamble and he swore he would bring it back with a little something extra for me. He was so persuasive and I was so tearfully fearful, I totally ignored the fact that all the money in the pan at the time of his commandment, amounted to exactly two shillings and six pence.

On the bad Friday of my crucifixion, as the effects of licks from the packing of a tyre ascended from my bottom to my head and I sought refuge at the rear of the normally, humanly impassable, old stonewalled oven, then used as a fowl coop, I discovered that successful stealing was very hard work. It demanded so much patience, discipline and attention to detail, its requirements were similar to the qualities that were later written in my report card as head boy of the Antigua Grammar school.

Should I believe that really good thieves are born and not made? How else can you explain that infamous New Winthorps village thief who used to waltz into Miss Williams shop with an empty West Indian Biscuit Company (WIBISCO) tin and, without passing over a red cent or a blue penny, danced back out with a full one?

He was so good, he would provoke an argument outside the shop and swore that he would cut up somebody in fine slivers like WIBISCO biscuit and stuffed them in the empty (now full) biscuit tin, which he would sit on and pretend to kick about as if it was the same empty tin he had deliberately sat on and kicked about beforehand.

Another expert village thief was the shop hand who contrived a chronic cough to mask the popping sound of the opening of a bottle of soda pop. He was so successful, he was taken repeatedly to Dr. Wizenger, who thought he had discovered an unusual case of tuberculosis. The fact that tuberculosis was called consumption, did not alert the good doctor, who practiced just to the west of The Antigua Girls High School, that the poor feller was not consumed by tuberculosis but rather, the rascal was consuming the shop’s soda pop.

So how do you catch these thieves? You have to figure them out like a detective, especially if the police have their hands full. I recall the time when I was studying for a very important, final exam at university and someone stole my bicycle and then my clothes from the clothes line. There was no point in studying for a final undergraduate, pathology exam if the simple matter of a theft could not be deduced. Elementary, my dear Watson.

Careful, macroscopic examination revealed that the only remaining item on the clothes line was a tam or woolly hat. Obviously the thief, or thieves, was amongst the dreadlocks living up the hill nearby, who had more tams than Tam o’ Shanter in the poem by Robert Burns. But my dear Watson, it is one thing to deduce correctly, it is quite another matter entirely to go marching into Zion or enemy territory chanting, “Calling all dreads and dreadlings!”….Whatever a dreadling was.

Maybe the correct approach is to become a thief yourself; but only to steal from yourself; a sort of Robin Falsehood. After all, if you become renown as the thief who breaks into his own place, calls the police, lies on himself in court so that he ends up in jail, breaks out of jail with greased lightening speed (okay, ignore the grease), only to break into his own place again and again, who on earth would want to mess with you?

But all of this is for the petty, analog thieves. How do you plan to deal with the brazen, white collar, electronic, digital scamps who would steal your identity from under your very nose? And then have the nerve to ask you who do you think you are; telling you to identify yourself? They must be thinking that if you cannot smell a rat right under your nose, you certainly will not miss the cheese.

My response to the need for a solution to these modern-day, white collar, digital crimes, criminals and scamps, is that I am working on a sophisticated but user-friendly, digital plan. Suffice to say, that somewhere in the plan is an electronic, digital “bull-bud” (this time, really greased lightening fast), a.k.a. bull-pistle, a.k.a. a tough, long whip made from the penis of a bull (Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage). When the swanky, scampish, scalawags log on to my belongings the next time, my WWW dot com, becomes ”Whips, Whops, Whoops, that done”.


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