Monday, March 5, 2012

When Stealing is A Mitzvah Part Deux

When I was a kid my father called me “Mushka Pushkah” and it gave me a sense of entitlement to all things Pushka-related.

One day I was playing in my father’s office when I saw the very thing that rhymed with my name. It stood there enticing me, teasing me with delicious coins and beautiful green bills. “Free money!” it seemed to call, “Mushka Pushkah’s free money!”

Although the ramifications of stealing had not yet fully matured in my conscious, I was aware that it was considered undesirable behavior. But here was the good news: a) I was alone b) we had a plethora of tzedakah boxes in my house and c)  my parents believed Mushka Pushkah could do no wrong and didn't believe in punishing cute things.

When I was sure the coast was clear, I scooped up the canister in the bottom of my dress, folded it up and scurried behind my living room couch. Once in hiding I dumped the contents on the floor and began to gleefully count my treasure.

I had not yet gotten to five dollars when I felt something breathing on my head. Startled, I looked up to see my big brother Nochum, who appeared extremely triumphant to have found me in this compromising position. My face grew hot and I got a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. An odd sense of shame came over me when I realized that my parents would soon learn that Mushka Pushkah could, in fact, do wrong.

“Omigosh, you’re a ganiv!” he shouted.  

“No, I amn’t!” I countered defensively. I wasn’t entirely sure what “ganiv” meant but from the tone in which he said it I was roughly certain it didn’t mean “bubalah” or “tzadeikis” or any of the other things my parents told me I was.

I tried to think of a good reason for why I was counting tzedakah money in secrecy but before I could get another word in he had already skipped into the kitchen, chanting, “Ganiv, ganiv,” and other things that made me feel very uncomfortable. My indiscretion seemed to both excite him and bother him a great deal.

Timeout gave me time to reflect on what I’d done and consider what it was that had led me to this particular act of immorality. I did not need this money, I reasoned. I had other means of obtaining things I wanted without paying for them myself. When my mother took me to Tops I would sneak Gushers and Fruit-Roll-Ups on the conveyer belt when she wasn’t looking. In addition, I solicited money from guests who frequented my home- a rent fee, if you will. Then of course there was the allowance I earned from entertaining my father when he was bored. I was wealthy kid, with over ten dollars in honest savings, so it was difficult for me to pinpoint the psychological implications of my behavior. But the thing about soul searching is that it is awfully exhausting, so after counting to twenty a few times in my head, I attributed my delinquency to the adrenaline rush and promptly released myself from Timeout.

I left a new person. I was rehabilitated and ready to put this incident behind me. But it appeared that Nochum wasn't quite as ready. The next day at school, a random boy marched over to me, said, “I heard you’re a ganiv” then walked away. Now I had forgiven Nochum for lots of things in the past, including but not limited to subtly pinching me in the hallways between classes, attacking me with a bomb called eau de toilet and demonstrating the art of Indian Burns on my arms . But this was a whole nother level of cruelty. This was the end of my reputation at Jewish Heritage. I was finished. I would not be able to sit with the cool kids at lunch or participate in Elimination at recess…unless something drastic was done to divert attention away from my questionable ethics. I had to reinvent myself- and quickly- before I was outcast. Goody, I thought to myself, here was a chance to showcase my spectacular talents. 

6 comments:

ita said...

mushka, you are so funnyyyyy

mushka said...

i believe what they call it is morally challenged but thanks ita :)

Unknown said...

hysterical :) hehehehe!!!

Pesha said...

haha good thing nochum doesnt have access to this blog ;)

Anonymous said...

Omg I'm dying you're hilarious Mushka!!! Such a way with words

Anonymous said...

Omg I'm dying you're hilarious Mushka!!! Such a way with words