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OK, I Admit It, I’ve Done Something Similar to These People

A New York man, after being arrested for a possible DWI, became a bit belligerent back at the police station. He began calling the officer an a**hole, and told him that he was ruining his family. He refused to have his fingerprints and mug shot taken, concerned that the story of his arrest and his mug shot might be included in the Wayne County Times, the local newspaper.

The troopers explained to the man that by refusing to have his prints and mug shot taken, he would only make it a bigger story in the paper. Following the individual’s refusal to be processed, he was additionally charged with misdemeanor Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the 2nd Degree, along with the DWI and traffic violations.

Well the troopers were kind of right, this did turn into a bigger story, but only because of what the accused individual did next.

The following weekend, he went around to every place in town that sold the newspaper which carried the story, and started buying all of them. By the time he was done, he had bought between 900-1,000 newspapers, at a cost of $1.25 each.

The Wayne County Times reported that the newsstands have been restocked, and the story has since been picked up by several national news outlets.

This story reminds me of one of the more memorable scenes from one of my favorite movies, Absence of Malice, which starred Paul Newman and Sally Fields. Here’s a description of the scene from the Southern Standard:

There is a scene in the 1981 movie “Absence of Malice” that still haunts me. Sally Field plays an aggressive newspaper reporter who finds out that Paul Newman, who has been accused of a crime, isn’t guilty because he has an alibi: He was at an abortion clinic, holding the hand of a close friend. But he steadfastly refuses to tell investigators in order to protect the friend’s privacy.

Field’s character, concluding that since abortion is legal it ought to carry no stigma, publishes the scoop, along with the name of the woman who had the abortion. In the early morning mist the following day, the distraught woman, still in her nightgown, scurries from driveway to driveway, gathering up her neighbors’ newspapers.

It’s a heartbreaking scene; watch the movie to see how it all gets resolved.

Anyway, so what do I have in common with these stories?

Well, it happened back in college. I think it was during the Spring semester of my freshmen year.

Back then, East Stroudsburg State College published a “daily bulletin”, a one-page sheet that would list campus happenings, special announcements, and job openings.

Well one night I was reading through it (it came out in the early evening) and there was a listing for a summer job opportunity that would pay $5,000, an incredible amount of money for 1976.

I thought “I want this job”, and blinded by the big bucks, I decided to run to all the spots on campus where the daily bulletin was distributed, and snatch them up (I vaguely recall that one of roommates also joined me on the adventure).

Knowing that the bulletin had just been distributed, we were pretty sure we had gotten our hands on most of the copies, thus blocking anyone else from knowing about and thus applying for this job.

We did the same thing the next two nights, and then the ad was finished, and so was our work. I didn’t think what I was doing was that bad; big deal, so no one knew what was going on around campus for a couple of days (they weren’t missing a lot anyway).

I contacted the number in the ad, and was able to get an interview for the following week. As it turned out, the job was driving a vending machine truck around to various job sites and trying to see what you had on the truck. It didn’t sound very appealing, but I thought I would think about it a bit, and then give my answer in a couple of days.

Well, it never got that far. I got a call the next day from the company saying that they had filled the job.

So I guess my story proves the maxim that cheaters never prosper.

So yea, I can kind of relate to what this guy in New York was trying to do.

Fortunately, what I did happened before video cameras and social media were everywhere, or I would have been humiliated on my own campus. I can see the headline, “Strange Freshmen Caught Stealing Every Copy of Daily Bulletin”.

But I think I learned my lesson; I didn’t have to steal Villanova’s daily bulletin to get my current job (although I might have said during the interview that getting a job as an Accounting teacher at Villanova was my childhood dream…)

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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