Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Grand Theft Corsage

Today I'm going to share a little story from my youth.

"Lord help me, she's talking about the olden days again."

It's about my checkered and felonious past.

"Okay, I'm mildly interested."

Setting the scene:  A wee bitty Robyn, not a day over 7 (or some other age - I don't really remember), was following her mother through the grocery store.  Her mother was leading the way, happily shopping, still oblivious to the coming years when Robyn would be big enough to push the cart and run over her heels every third step, thus causing permanent damage to her Achilles tendon and giving her something to throw back in Robyn's face at every possible opportunity for the rest of her life.
In addition to being happy, and still having functional feet, her mother was also very fast.  This was probably because we (yes, I'm unceremoniously ditching the third-person narration) were passing the checkout aisles, and I can only guess that she was trying to escape my plaintive cries for some sugary 1980s candy like Big League Chew (Chewing tobacco for kids - great idea!), candy cigarettes (Cigarettes for kids - great idea!), or maybe Pixie Stix (Cocaine for kids - great idea!).
Because for some reason, all our treats in the 1980s had to be fashioned after an adult vice of some kind.  Like those homemade beercicles my mom used to serve us when we were a little too energetic at bedtime.  What, you didn't have those?

"Are you still talking about
the 1980s?  Gag me with a spoon."

Actually, I wasn't pining for any sugar-coated tobacco.  I wasn't even checking out the tantalizing display of  mini Rubicks cubes on keychains, or molded plastic California Raisins figurines, or the ever-delightful Madballs.

Why did we want these, again?  I can't remember.

No, I was entranced by a colorful display of fresh corsages.
Because even as a child I was a little bit odd.
I was so entranced that, by the time I turned toward my mom, ready to voice my desire for this useless treasure at the volume reserved for overtired, overstimulated children at the grocery store and Leer jets at takeoff, all I saw was a glimpse of her back as she turned down an aisle.

Now, I don't know if kidnapping or Stranger Danger had been invented yet back then, but at the ripe old age of seven I did  know that kids could get Lost, and Lost was not something a kid wanted to be.  So what I experienced in that moment could best be described, I believe, as total and complete terror.
Think fast, kid.  You don't want to end up living on the streets.
But I was still holding the corsage.  Should I put it back?  No, I hadn't yet had a chance to plead my case for why I really, really needed it.  Should I carry it in my hand?  No, too much wind resistance as I run to catch up.  So what did I do?

I carefully and hastily stuffed the corsage into the undeniably unfashionable snap clutch purse given to me by my grandmother, which I was carrying around because (as I mentioned) I was a 7 year old girl at the time, and that's what 7 year old girls do.  And there it stayed.

"You stole it?!?  I'm not going to lie, Mother.
I'm very disappointed in you"

Yes, I stole it, but in my defense I really don't think I intended to.  I found it in there after we got home, and after much soul-searching and general freaking out, I took it to my mom and told her what I'd done.  To my relief, she didn't disown me or take me to juvy, and she even returned it to the store for me even though, as a parent, I have to wonder if it wouldn't have built more character if I were forced to face the humorless store manager and the resulting horsewhipping, or whatever punishment they dealt out to juvenile shoplifters back in those days.  Although I didn't end up turning to a life of crime, so I suppose maybe the horsewhipping wasn't necessary.

So, what's the moral of my story?  I don't know, maybe there isn't one.  Or maybe there are several, such as:
  1. Whoever stocked that store was dumb - why would somebody consider a fresh corsage to be a checkout-lane-worthy impulse buy?  Has anyone in the history of Ever finished their grocery shopping and thought, "Hmmm, wouldn't it be fancy if I wore this corsage tonight while I made dinner and gave the kids a bath?"
  2. Kids are dumb - why didn't I steal some Garbage Pail Kid cards instead (which would probably be worth some money now, or at least be amusing to look at, except for the Rubbin' Robyn one, which, naturally, I hated)?
  3. Candy makers are smart - They managed to capitalize on kids' desires to look super cool and grown up with their candy drugs and bubble pipes, despite the nagging omnipresence of the Just Say NO campaign.
  4. California Raisins are dumb - I don't think I need to explain this one.
I'm linked up today for the first time with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, responding to the prompt, "Write about a time you stole something."

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Unknown said...

I stole some gum once. I stuffed the whole pack in my mouth out front of Stater Bros. before I mounted my bike and rode home. I was a gangsta. Still am actually.

RobynHTV said...

You're hard core - but I already knew that about you.

Paige Kellerman said...

I once stole a wallet from JC Penny by sticking it down the front of my overalls. I justified this in my four year old way by saying, "I wanted it." I also stole a roll of Lifesavers in the same fashion. I've since moved on from stuffing things down my overalls...er...the ones I don't wear.

Unknown said...

I used to steal candy from the "Bulk candy" isle, only a mouthful. That was bad. I would never do it again!

sporkgasm said...

I totally went, "Awww" at all the great baby pictures on this post. And this story is AWESOME.

Garbage Pail Kids are making a comeback. My nephew asked my sister if she knew what they were the other day and I got way too excited about them.

Why WAS a corsage a checkout impulse item? That is weird.

along with Trissy I stole from the bulk bins almost every grocery trip. I kinda figured they were gifts for my little grubby hands.

I need to go listen to music now so I can get "Heard It Through The Grapevine" out of my head, so congrats on pulling that one off. :)

Madamdreamweaver said...

this was very humorously told. Probably the best thing I've read in here.

The Third Partier said...

:DDD What about the story of how you stole my heart? Gonna make them wait for the movie? That one could be romantic OR macabre. Robyn and Gerry - True Love Meets Organ Piracy.

Jen said...

I was so naughty, I used to take toys from my friend's houses and then play dumb when they asked me if I new where they were.

Such a bad girl.

Stopped by from Mama Kat's.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

That reminds me of the time I stole all that money from that bank last year. Oh, the things we did when we were young.

Anonymous said...

I think the moral to the story is that you're an old soul, who even at the age of 7, saw the value of a flower over the value in the candy cigarettes. Great post!

Stacey said...

Mmm, Big League Chew, I loved that stuff. And now I want a beercicle too.

RobynHTV said...

There's no shame in admitting you still wear overalls, Paige - they could come in handy. I want a kitchen remodel, and as soon as I find a pair of overalls big enough, I'm going down to Lowes to get one.

RobynHTV said...

I would "tsk" at you, but I still see plenty of people doing that, and not just kids. I'd probably do it myself, except nobody washes their hands before they reach in those candy bins.

RobynHTV said...

Thank you! Are you saying the retro ones are making a comeback, or are they reprinting them?!?! It seems like they're bringing a lot of that stuff back from our childhoods - my daughter has Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch Kids and a Care Bear. Or maybe they've been on the shelves this whole time and I just ignored them for 20+ years.

Sorry about the song - that was TOTALLY unintentional. I'd never do that to you. :)

RobynHTV said...

Wow, thank you!!!

RobynHTV said...

I actually thought about it, but that story almost needs its own blog... ;)

RobynHTV said...

Teehee! :) I still do that, but instead of toys it's wine, and instead of pockets I use my stomach.

RobynHTV said...

That made me laugh when I saw it in my email inbox, and laugh again when I read it just now. Le sigh, the folly of youth.

RobynHTV said...

After reading this post, my mom informed me that I remembered the entire thing wrong. Among my faulty recollections was the fact that I was actually more like 3 or 4 years old, so I might have just been too short to reach the candy smokes. :) Thanks for being here!

RobynHTV said...

Beercicle - PATENT PENDING! I will, however, freely share the prototypes.

sporkgasm said...

They are making new ones I believe.

I purposely get bad songs stuck in people's heads all the time. I totally deserved it.

RobynHTV said...

Ha! Gerry and I do that to each other all day (I totally got him with Smoke on the Water or some dumb thing yesterday), but I try not to do it to anyone who didn't already promise to love and cherish me for the rest of my life. :)

TMWHickman said...

Mmm...beercicles. I remember all that 80s stuff. I am pretty sure that I even had some of those candy cigarettes. At least, that is what I told my mom...

RobynHTV said...

Ha! I only remember having them once; my friends and I stood outside the mall alone at night (safety first!) pretending to smoke. Some dude even asked us for a light, so they were either really convincing, or he was a total creep (hindsight says "creep").

Unknown said...

I loooooved those pink tipped cigs! I still can't believe they made candy smokes!

just keep swimming said...

Big league chew is still around and when my kids played with the candy crane they got "candy sticks" which were... candy cigarettes. They put them in boxes with super heroes on them. What a "candy stick" has to do with super heroes, I don't know but now I'm stuck with images of Spiderman and Thor trying to light up.

Kimberly said...

You are such a dork.
I stole a shitty eraser once. Not one of my most finest moments.
I remember those garbage pail kids...I mean I don't...I don't want to reveal my age you know...

RobynHTV said...

Me either - but I could totally go for one once in a while. Nothing like a nice, long drag on a sugar stick after a big meal! (Sorry, sometimes I miss smoking...)

RobynHTV said...

They still make it??? I'm sorry, you'll have to excuse me while I go get some shredded gum to stuff in my lip...

I don't know which is worse - making the candy cig boxes look like real cigarette boxes like they used to, or hetting superhero endorsemerents. And here they had to fire Joe Camel because he was too cartoony and a bad influence on children.

RobynHTV said...

I know I am. I'm abnormally proud of it, too.

We can pretend you just saw a picture of Gargage Pail Kids in a history book or something (but deep down we'll know the truth).

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