Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

When theft is not theft

I spotted him immediately.

He was that obvious: a scruffy, stumpy man somewhat hesitantly approaching the produce/desert section. He waited--fidgeted around--until I picked my choice of desert to accompany my entrée of Florentine Lasagna. His weathered hands, lined with deep, dirt-embedded cracks, hovered over the spread of offerings, indecisive for a moment before he lifts a single banana, and then, quite surreptitiously, strolls out the entrance.

Stunned, I wondered for a moment if I should report him, perhaps even apprehend him myself. Do a good deed for the day. "Stop loss," so that the rest of us honest folk do not have to pay more for our food. How dare he sully the sanctity of our bubble by stealing here?

Then I reflected: is there a worse fate than to be in your fifties, balding, and stealing a banana for dinner (hiding it under that torn and stained, brown bagpack you wear in front to disguise your paunch) from a university cafeteria?

Charges of moral relativism and enabling aside, on a private campus where tuition exceeds the annual take-home wages of a significant proportion of the local population (Undergraduates US$29,000/academic year; Graduates US$32,000/academic year. NB: "academic year" does not include optional summer classes and programs), and the automobiles of choice are BMW M3s, Audi S4s, and Cobras, is it such a tragedy of proportions when a hungry old man takes a banana for dinner on Sunday without paying?

There must be a higher justice than this.

I hope the banana is enough.


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