Life Lesson One: People Don’t Steal Ugly Things
Rooster and I drove down one of the streets in our neighborhood. My husband pointed at a trash dumpster at the curb sprayed with various paint colors. “Those people don’t have to worry about that getting stolen because people don’t steal ugly things.” He said.
“How do you figure that?” I asked.
“Don’t you remember your ugly Tinker Bell pen?”
How I Discovered People Don’t Steal Ugly Things
I worked in a small university parking office. Customers had to fill in a small card twice yearly to be issued a parking permit. That happened in the Stone Age when everything was done with paper and pen. Okay, I had a problem. Students, faculty, and staff had a bad habit of stealing my pens. I could go through ten a day. That starts to add up after a while.
The boss didn’t know People Don’t Steal Ugly Things
My boss complained about the cost of all those pens disappearing from the office. The brilliant educator requested that I order one of those pens attached to a flexible leash. (The kind they sometimes have at a bank. One end was attached to the counter, and the leash was long enough to allow the person to write.)
There were a few details he never considered. People with parking tickets get mad. The two pens never stayed mounted on the counter for long. The glue that held the part that attached the leash to the counter couldn’t take the force exerted by an irate parking customer. Thus, I now had a pen that could be used as a lethal choking instrument. (You might think I am kidding, but I am not.)
Rooster Develops the Theory That People Don’t Steal Ugly Things
I went home with a cloud of defeat hanging over my head. I am naturally a problem solver, but I had no solution to the stolen pen issue. Rooster had a plan. He loaded me into the car, and we went to the store to find an ugly pen. The pen we found was pink. Tinker Bell sat on top instead of an eraser. There was a six-inch pink feather flowing from Tinker Bells’ head.
“Take that to work, and no one will steal it. People don’t steal ugly things.”
Why I couldn’t live with Rooster’s theory that People Don’t Steal Ugly Things
Six months later, the smiling face of Tinker Bell still grinned at me from the Parking Office counter. You’d think I’d be happy right? Wrong. Now I had to live with the dilemma of Rooster having a brilliant idea. Every day he asked if the pen was still there. I had to admit that nobody had bothered to steal it. I couldn’t lie because we worked at the same place. He’d tell all our friends and associates about his solution to my pen problem. The man’s ego ran out of control. I decided someone had to steal that pen if I would ever get any peace.
How I solved the “People Don’t Steal Ugly Things” problem
My salvation came from a music professor who entered my office to do business and walked away with a Tinkerbell pen.
“This is a beautiful pen. Where did you get it?” He asked.
“Do you want it?” I asked to determine if he was serious about the ugly pen.
“Yes, I think it’s wonderful.”
“You can have it, but you must steal it,” I said.
“This is a trick. I am standing in a campus police office, and you want me to steal your pen. Do you have hidden cameras in the ceiling, or what?”
“Not at all. I want you to steal my pen because my husband can’t be right. He claims nobody will steal it because it is ugly, and I must prove him wrong. You’d be doing my marriage a favor.”
I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder because the professor stole my pen. You’d think that would be the end of the story. Wrong. Rooster thought the stolen pen might be a fluke. Human nature was always the same. He bought me a black skull pen, and I took it to work the next day. That ugly black skull pen came home in a box the day I left my office and entered retirement. I guess Rooster is right. People don’t steal ugly things.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.
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