If the glove fits

When I was a gym rat I knew things. I saw my potential like I probably never had in my life. The beautiful lines in the mirror studied me daily, and narcissism was certainly an option. I studied my hands and what the routine pumps of iron abrading them did. Who wants to be fifty with six layers of skin exfoliated due to callouses? One day, in the stink of the locker room to which my nose had become numb, I spotted a pair of leather lifting gloves. I weighed my scruples:

“Thou shall not steal,” is perhaps an antiquated sentiment ? One must ask oneself whether that was written when there was something worth stealing. The theft has parameters, ramifications, and consequences for the victim. Is the victim a nameless, faceless store; a store that might think nothing of overcharging a customer or not refunding them for faulty merchandise? Or is it an individual who would undoubtedly feel the loss and possibly endure hardship as a result?

According to the commandment theft is theft. Petty theft from a large department store chain is different, I think, than theft from an individual. I don’t believe stealing wrong under any circumstance. I do however believe in karma. I follow “the golden rule” in life and do to others as I would want them to do to me…someday. Reciprocation is never an expectation. If it comes, it comes. If not, the path to follow such a rule is illuminated more. No one claimed the perfect gloves. They were the only item on the locker room bench looking so inviting to me as I came from a wok out with my torn gloves. The owner had obviously left them behind in his haste. For a fleeting moment it went through my mind to pinch the gloves and replace them with mine. I thought of how I’d feel if someone did that to me; how mad I’d be if a note wasn’t left and my only recourse was a guilty conscience. I immediately abandoned my plan.

On the other hand, if a brand new pair of gloves had fallen from a rack and I was cleaning up the store late at night, I might not be so honorable. To be sure, you should not steal your way through life. But consider who is victimized, how much loss will be felt and how it will inconvenience them. I believe in karmic cycles in life; I tend to question a commandment that was written over 2, 000 years ago. At that time livestock, for example, was probably the commodity people chose to steal. It was in short supply, needed for daily living and its absence would certainly cause dire problems. Maybe the commandment should be amended to read: Thou shall not steal from an individual.

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