Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Newsletter -- The Peace of a Thief

Yesterday, I lifted up one of my staff members, Stan "Tipsy" White, as a great example of the glories of drunkenness, and got a lot of nice comments, so I thought today I'd highlight another member I sincerely admire, Dashing Danny Whfrf.

Danny's a traditionalist, and I like that, a traditional thief. He's not into new crime like computer hacking or carjackings, which of course have their place; he's into what has to be one of the oldest criminal activities of all, thievery, stealing. It's so old there's even a 10 Commandment about it! Fortunately Danny doesn't live in some backward country where they cut your hands off for stealing, because he'd be out of work then, needing as he does his hands for holding the gun and carrying stuff off.

Of course in these days where every field seems to have succumbed to modernism -- and I'd complain, "Modernism for modernism's sake!" -- it's rare to find traditional craftsmen, working not only with their hands but with their wits. When you work with your wits, you need wisdom, and that's what Danny uses to scope out a situation, see where the goods are, where the exits are, and what it's going to take to get him in and out in one piece. Part of one's wits also entail foreseeing the unforeseeable, if we can put it like that, having the foresight and intelligence to roll with the flow. Danny's not afraid to change his plans on the fly, such as his route of escape. He says he's dove out of more second story windows than he cares to remember!

Damn the luck, though! He's currently doing a little prison stretch that's sidelined him, but he's proven himself an honorable and worthy fellow in demonstrating "good behavior." Plus, he went beyond the call of duty when he ratted on a couple rat-finks in the clink, who were planning to knife a guy simply for not sharing a Playboy magazine his sister smuggled in to him. And that put Danny in good with a few higher-ups, who then put him on the fast track to eventual release by sending him to the local work release farm. From there he was let him out to help me as a staff member on my upcoming newsletter.

I've been happy with Danny's work ethic. He's very bright-eyed, looking at all the angles. Which is even more amazing given the late hours he keeps after a full day. I bet he's explored every part of our town. I sometimes wonder what discoveries he's making -- our town's a fascinating and hospitable place, and I believe he's found that to be true. But he's not one to show a lot of emotion; he's reluctant to get sentimental about civic pride because he might break down and cry. And once you've been in the pen, that's a big no no.

Yes, the thought's crossed my mind that he might be pulling a few jobs around town. He always goes armed, which he sees as a fundamental constitutional right, and it could be he sees things he likes that he honestly can't afford, since the state's only giving him 12 cents an hour. That's not much money for a full day's work! I've chipped in a few cents to make it 15 cents, but even that's only marginally better. You could literally blow through a whole day's pay on an unfrosted cupcake. Fortunate for him, we have little joint downtown that'll sell you a single cigarette or he'd be completely lost.

If he is pulling jobs, more power to him, right? If he's at peace with it, who am I to raise a ruckus and mess up his thinking? He tells me his mama never raised no fool, and I confess I'd say the same thing about my mama. I'm a pretty good judge of character, and Danny's got it. And even if he didn't have it he'd know where to find it, which is reassuring.

Messing up his thinking would be the same as messing with his peace of mind. And that's something I'd never do. Danny's got what a lot of us haven't got, the native sense that God gives thieves, who believe, "The whole world belongs to me. What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine." There's such a beautiful innocence in that, like a baby reaching out and picking a piece of food off his daddy's plate. Daddy just sits there and laughs, "You're such a good boy!" The amazing thing, then, is to carry that attitude through your whole life; what's out there is like the air, it's your environment, your enchilada, and completely free for the taking. It don't get no easier than that!

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