Confession of an Amateur Criminal
I was in college then. My friends and I, when we go to a shop or a restaurant, we liked to pinch small souvenir items. Baso, tissue holder, kubyertos, anything na may tatak ng store. Tapos idi-display namin sa aming mga rooms as though they were prized trophies. Katuwaan lang. Pasikatan kami ng mga items na nakokolekta. The more items a person collects, the more admiration he gets from the barkada. It was peer pressure at its subtlest worst.
Then from pinching small items just for fun I advanced to pinching books. This time not just for the thrill but more to satisfy my desire to read mystery books and novels. Marami-rami na rin akong nakolekta. And the more books I collect, the more na lumalakas ang loob ko. It got to the point na kahit may kamera ang store tumitira at nakakalusot pa rin ako.
Until...justice caught up with me. My last caper was one of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers mystery book. I put it inside my baggy pants. Nakalabas na ako ng bookstore nung may dalawang mama ang humawak sa aking magkabilang braso at sabay turo sa aking pantalon. Dinala ako sa kanilang opisina. Di naman ako sinaktan. Sinabihan lang ako na bayaran ko daw ang libro ng double the price. That was fine. I didn’t panic. But on the way to the office, I could see some of the sales ladies looking at me. Narinig ko pa yung isa sabi: “sayang
I realized then and there what was happening to me. Para akong dinagukan at ginising sa katotohanan. Sa isip-isip ko, ano nga bang kalokohan itong pinaggagawa ko? Wasting my life away. I suddenly realized the thrill wasn't worth it and from then on I stopped pinching anything. So that was the end of my criminal history.
Looking back, I now appreciate how lucky I was that my budding career in criminality was cut short with my reputation still intact. I mean, things could have gotten worse, kagaya nung nangyari sa isang Pinoy PMAer, Army 2Lt. Rolly Joaquin. Class valedictorian siya sa Philippine Military Academy, class of 2004, but he was caught shoplifting in the US and was deported. I thank my guardian angel for setting me back on the right course.
Sometimes we forget what’s right and wrong. What at first we think are seemingly innocent petty acts are transgressions that could actually lead to more serious offences. It takes someone or the system to punish us to remind us of what’s good and bad, right from wrong. Then we learn from the experience and become a better person... Hopefully.
It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character. - Dale E. Turner