Friday, September 2, 2011

And Some Things I'm Just Bad At

I went away to college when I was 18. I wasn't ready to go to college and really would have benefited from taking some time off from everything, but college was the fastest way out of the house without getting a job. I brought my clothes, some of my books, my VHS tapes, and collection of cassettes to listen to while I studied.

A month or two later my parents apparently got sick of living in 1982, and decided to repaint my old bedroom and scrape the popcorn texture off the ceiling. Instead of trying to cover the furniture with a drop cloth, they did the easy thing and just moved everything out of the room so they would have space to work.

They discovered a huge pile of junk underneath my bed. There were missing socks, a t-shirt or two, lost homework from high school, permissions slips, my 8th grade reading book (which I insisted had been stolen out of my locker), forgotten toys, half-finished artwork, and a small ashtray.

Yes. An ashtray.

Because I had been secretly smoking in my bedroom for the last year of high school. I would sit in the window in the middle of the night with the screen out, and choke down a cigarette every couple of days in order to feel more rebellious. I smoked cloves because they didn't smell like regular cigarettes and I was careful to never leave ashes where they could be found, didn't flick my butts, and always brushed my teeth after. The perfect crime.  My parents never knew.

And then I left the ashtray under my bed when I moved out, knowing full well that they were planning to renovate.

I learned an important lesson that day:  I would really suck at being a criminal.  I leave way too much evidence behind.

It was a crushing realization because I desperately wished I could be a cat burglar.  I don't know.  Maybe it was the skin tight leather outfits or the witty repartee, but "cat burglar" was on the top 3 list of career choices that I picked for myself in 1994 (after "artist" and "theoretical physicist").  Beautiful and smart and sexy and rich, oh yes, rich.

To this day when I read about a daring heist, I have to remind myself that I don't actually want to go to jail, and I would suck at crime so spectacularly that I would spend my life behind bars if I even survived the caper.

To this day, I need reminding why.

Reasons Why I Would Suck at Being A Criminal:

  1. I am a terrible liar. No, I am seriously bad at it. This is why I can't play practical jokes. I start to say, "Oh no! The gnome must have moved on its own!" but about two words in my chin starts to wobble as I struggle to contain my smile. The longer I hold on, the more desperate the smile is to get out until my cheeks are twitching and I turn bright red and my eyes fill up with laugh-tears and then I guffaw like a donkey.

    "No, officer.  I have..." *ahem* " no idea..." *choke**cough* "...where the ahh..." *serious face* "...what was it? Oh, yeah, um... no idea where the... ah... emeralds are." *snicker*

    I would probably look so guilty they would arrest me for crimes I didn't commit.

  2. It is nearly impossible for me to keep a secret.  Seriously.  If you want something kept secret, DON'T TELL ME, and even more, DON'T TELL ME IT'S A SECRET!  Sheesh.  One of the first things I tell people when they meet me is that I can't keep secrets. .  I can't help it.  Please, don't ask.

    If I were a criminal, though, MY WHOLE LIFE WOULD BE A SECRET.  (I would also have to lie, which ties into reason #1).

    Random person at a bar: "So, Leauxra, what do you do for a living?"
    Me: "Oh, I... ah... make... blankets?" *snicker*
    RPaB: "Um..."
    Me: "Shit, dude, I'm kidding.  I am a thief and I'm totally about to rob this joint."

  3. I enjoy talking about my accomplishments... bragging, if you will. One of my more terrible jobs was at a ridiculous internet startup company around the turn of the century.

    This company was home of the "52 hour shift" and the "more than half of the support staff is on 72 hour mental health holds because you are causing such anxiety in your staff," and the reason that the first time I saw the movie Office Space, I cried because I not only had MORE bosses than him, but my job was even more annoying.

    I hated this job so much that I tried really really hard to make it better by getting my roommate a job there too, and all I managed to do was cause irrevocable scarring for both of us.

    Anyway, one thing that this company did RIGHT was that they provided soda and snacks in the break room free for employees. We both worked crappy shifts (read, "when no one else was around") so we took to "shopping at the work store" and bring home cases of Diet Coke and Ho-Hos.

    We would call each other at work, "Hey, can you pick me up a ream of paper for the printer?" or "Are there any of those Swiss Rolls left?"  The fact that I am still talking about how awesome this was should clue you in to the fact that I am incapable of NOT talking about it, even over 10 years later.  How would I be if I had committed a REAL crime?

  1. I was not born into a life of crime, so I have no contacts.  I have no idea how to "launder money" or how to "fence" stolen goods.  I understand the concepts in theory because I really like crime dramas and action movies.  But seriously.  It isn't like I could sell this shit on Craigslist. 

    Where would I go? What would I do?  Just hold onto all this random shit I stole forever?  It ain't gonna take the cops long to figure out I'm guilty when they search my house and every single item is stolen (and probably still has the store shoplifting tags on them because I couldn't figure out how to get them off).

  2. I can't pick even an easy lock.  And yes I tried.  And yes I got a book about it.  From the library when I was 18.  And yes, I think this puts me on some kind of FBI watch list.  Damn it.

  3. I am not a bad ass.   Somewhere in my 20's, I realized it was way too late for me to become a bad ass.   I don't know how to fight, and the only "fight" training I ever had was a self defense class in college where my flailing elbows did more damage than any moves I was taught.  I also dropped the class halfway through.

    I am a real wimp when it comes to pain, so I don't know how I would do in a fight to the death.  I would probably cry.
  1. I am not in very good shape.  I will admit, I am getting better.  I've starting going 4 times a week to the gym plus my weekend hikes and whatnot, but in the grand scheme of the world, I am not in good enough shape to outrun... um... anyone?

    This also leads into the vanity bit, because the WHOLE POINT of being a cat burglar is so you can wear an outfit like, say CATWOMAN, and look awesome.  I really really don't think anyone wants to see me in a catwoman suit.  I would look something like a cross between a bratwurst and Randy in A Christmas Story when he can't put his arms down, and then add in bits of fatty flesh rolling out at the seams.

    Not a good look.

  2. I worry too much.  I am pretty sure that I would have a heart attack before I ever robbed or burgled anything.  The reason is that I have an imagination, and I know that it is going to hurt when the homeowner blasts me with a shotgun or sics his 250 lb rottweiler on me.

  3. There is no insurance plan for criminals. And this would be particularly necessary because I would be in a high-physical-risk job.

  4. I don't speak any languages other than English.  Being a successful cat burglar, I would need to travel to places like the Riviera and... Dubai, I guess.  I would need to be able to speak more than one language if I was EVER going to fit in (although I am pretty sure if I were to talk around in a tight leather outfit all the time, I wouldn't fit in anywhere outside of Sturgis anyway, and even then, I would be seriously lacking in fringe). 

    I speak maybe 100 words of Latin, about the same of German, and a phrase or two of Spanish and Italian.  French is totally weird and I can't even say bonjour without it sounding like "Bon Jovi", and then I get "Wanted Dead or Alive" stuck in my head.  It's pretty hopeless.

So yes.  Reminders. 

Note to self:  Do not try to become a criminal.  You will go to jail and/or probably die.

P.S.  Oh, and I forgot to mention.  It is totally morally wrong to steal things.  There's that, too.
P.P.S. The above reasons are the same reasons I can't become a spy, either, although once the Cold War ended, this particular career lost a ton of it's appeal.


Anonymous said...

It's Hoodyhoo, back in the comment gulag...

I actually took one of those stupid "aptitude tests" in high school and the damn thing said I should be either a circus performer or a secret agent. Everyone else is getting "teacher" or "doctor" what have you, but me? Trapeze-swinging super spy. This explains A LOT.

Paula said...

I used to secretly smoke in my room too when I was in high school! I also got busted, because I am a horrible liar! :)

LeeAnn said...

I'd actually like to be a hitman (hitchick?), and I would be great at it, because like Martin Blank, I too have a certain "moral flexibility."
But I'm clumsy and have shitty eyesight and hate to travel. I'll have to remain content to snark people to death.

Leauxra said...

Hoodyhoo: I think part of my problem is that I never took one of those tests to help me narrow down a good career path, so I keep changing my mind.

And holy crap that's an awesome career. What are you doing on the radio? Go take trapeze lessons, STAT!

Paula: Yeah, I made it out of the house before I was caught. But I'm glad I'm not alone with the sneaking and the bad-at-lying. I could never undertand how people got away with shit.

LeeAnn: Hitman would ALSO be awesome. Right after I saw that movie, it was all I wanted to be, but then I became concerned that I would have to join the Army. I was worried they wouldn't let me kill people because I'm a girl, so I gave it up. It sounded hard.

Tim said...

You just need to practice more; most of this stuff comes down to training. Take lying, for instance: have you ever met a compulsive liar who was also bad at lying? For theft, you have to start small; there's a huge gulf of experience to be gained between stealing a grape in the grocery store and robbing a bank. Don't really know what to tell you about not being able to keep a secret, though.

Anonymous said...

Note to self: Practice lying and speaking another language. And picking locks. And do not work with Leauxra.

Leauxra said...

Tim: It sounds to me like you are trying to get me to do something stupid. Not that it should be that hard if you begin with "I dare you to..."

thoughtsappear: Probably wise, but I would like to point out you CAN work with me, provided you don't mind getting caught. I mean, sure, getting caught would suck, but if you never get caught, you can never be famous.

StephanieC said...

Goddammit, you make very, very valid points here that also apply to me.

AND I did that Nexxus pass government thing, so they ALREADY have my fingerprints on file.




Leauxra said...

StephanieC: I think they took my fingerprints when I was in the first or second grade. For "safety" reasons. They've been watching me for a very, very long time.

Just be glad you didn't sign up for the retnal or iris scan, because I am pretty sure they can figure out who you are from SPACE with that shit.

StephanieC said...

Umm... I actually did that retina scan.

Scared the crap out of me (still does... now moreso!)

Anonymous said...

When I was little (and before exposure to so much TV), I thought laundering money had to do with it ending up in the washing machine... which made me wonder why my Mum would get so upset when I forgot to check the trouser/jeans pockets for money before doing the washing.

As for outrunning people, I can totally guarantee you can outrun me (which, by the way, is why you need the lying skills, "this TV? oh, someone left it out on the kerb for trash removal...")

Leauxra said...

Oh, Stephanie. I was.. um... kidding? They wont um... track your every move or anything. *chuckle* Damn. Sorry. I told you I suck at lying.

andtheletterm: I thought that, too! Like they were cleaning the ink from the ink packs off or something. Who knew? And then I saw an episode of 20/20 and they tested some random dollars most of them had cocaine on them, and after that I could TOTALLY see why you would want clean money, because EWWWW.

Anyway. I figure I can out run a zombie, and that's good enough for survival.

Angie said...

So what's the plan then? If not a life of crime, then what? PS.... if you've still got any swiss cake rolls can you send me one? I'm starving!

I tried getting high off a dollar bill with all the drugs and stuff on it then realized it had probably been in some strippers crotch at some point and I immediately stopped!

Leauxra said...

Angie, I'm sorry. I ate the Swiss Rolls. I was hungry. I may have some "Raspberry" Zingers left...

I'm pretty sure when they checked some dollars and found that cocaine, they probably DID find some interesting bodily fluids, but Barbara Walters may have objected to saying "stripper crotch sweat" on 20/20.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

OH MY GOODNESS ME TOO! In wanting to grow up and be a sexy criminal, that is. Sadly, also in not being cut out for the job.

Silly criminal job requirements.

Leauxra said...

Megan: I know, right? WTH? All I ever wanted was to live a life of high-class crime...

wagthedad said...

The only real problem I see from the above is not being able to keep a secret. That is the ONLY thing standing in your way.

I say this because that huge list is quite daunting, and I can see why thinking about becoming a criminal would be intimidating to you. But all of that other crap can work in your favor. The only thing you need to learn is to not talk about it.

I thought maybe it would be easier for you to transition to catwoman if you knew you only had to change that one little thing.

Julia said...

Ha! Were we seperated at birth! I cant do those jobs either and for basically the same reasons...which is funny becasue my biological dad is a pathological lier...I guess not everything passes down in your genes...its a good thing I got his feet thought!


Leauxra said...

wagthedad: Thanks for the support. You know, maybe I just need to set realistic goals and accomplish one thing at a time...

Julia: I'm glad and surprised that I am not the only one attracted to a life of crime. Maybe we should partner up.

PudMonkey said...

Clearly, a life of crime is not for you. :( Bug blogging and beer-making seem to be working out, so that's a plus! :)

PudMonkey said...

That was supposed to say "buT blogging..."

Leauxra said...

PudMonkey, I have NO IDEA how to "bug blog". Is this some new hipster thing? Ha ha.

I understand that any reasonable person would be OK with not being suitable for a life of crime, but dude. It's so sad to kill your dreams, you know?