40 Lessons in 40 Years: Entry 16

Sometimes, snitches should get stitches.

At the math and science academy, my friends and I were always up to no good. Sneaking off campus, shoplifting, gambling for real money, smoking cigarettes… and, on occasion, smoking week, drinking liquor, and eating magic mushrooms.

My closest friends and I had decided we didn’t like my roommate one bit. He was loud, obnoxious, pushy, arrogant… All around un-enjoyable. Being so self-centered that I couldn’t imagine how I would tell him “no” if he asked to room with me for the following year, I decided I needed a plan to get rid of him. My friends agreed to go along with it–some of them reluctantly, others with little hesitation. But the plan was mine.

We urged the roommate to shoplift. Then, we ratted him out to store employees.



At several stores in a single day, he managed to either rid himself of the shoplifted items or successfully keep them hidden when questioned by store employees. He didn’t get caught shoplifting.

So we urged him to buy alcohol. A handful of us put in our liquor orders with “rat boy”–the 22-year-old clerk from the video store–and we peer-pressured my roommate with full-court-press to overcome his reluctance to get a pint of schnapps. He caved, and we collected our wares from rat boy later that evening.

Then, a note was slipped under the door of the resident counselors’ office. “Search room XXXX for contraband. You’ll find alcohol.”

All of my contraband had been stashed away in friends’ rooms. Only my roommate had illicit items to be discovered when our room was tossed. Soon, my roommate was tossed, too.

One of these days, I’ll find a way to make it right.

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