Dear Tell All: When I was in grade school I saw a rainbow notepad at the local drugstore that I really wanted, so I stole it. But after I got home and opened the package, I felt guilty. I couldn't even enjoy the thing, because I felt so bad.
Days later, I came up with what I thought was the perfect plan: I'd sneak the notepad back into the store and then buy it honestly. Unfortunately, I had already thrown away the package. So I took some Saran Wrap and Scotch Tape and wrapped the pad up as best I could. Of course it looked terrible, but I was like nine. It seemed good enough to me.
I snuck the notepad into the store without any problems, but when I tried to buy it, the old lady at the counter took one look at my pathetic wrapping and said, "Oh my, what do we have here? Let's see if we can find a different one for you." Then she grabbed my hand, dragged me back to the paper section and took a brand-new shrink-wrapped pad off the shelf. So I had to buy that one instead! Not only did I fail as a shoplifter, I failed trying to make it right.
I know this happened a long time ago, and it's the only time I've ever shoplifted, but it's been haunting me for years. I don't want to get all spiritual on you, but I believe in karma. We're all responsible for our actions in this life, and held accountable for them in the next one. So I'd like to leave this world with a clean slate. Am I being silly?
Still Paying for My Crime
Dear Still Paying: I'm not a priest and this isn't a confessional, but if it was I'd say drink two Virgin Marys and call it good.
Seriously, you tried to make amends in your adorable, nine-year-old way. In fact, you actually paid for the notepad, even if it wasn't technically the right one. Carrying around this guilt for years isn't going to change anything. By now, I'm sure the universe has forgiven you.
Besides, I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations for shoplifting runs out as soon as you leave the store without getting caught.