The Transformative Power of Theft

Two days ago a scoundrel or scoundrels took the rear wheel of my locked bicycle, thus:


My reaction is only slightly burlesqued in the following regressive essay:


And the two words were not Happy Birthday (tip of the hat to Stephen King, who made me laugh with this setup and punchline, which I cheerfully stole, this being an essay on The Transformative Power of Theft).

I don’t like not having the use of my bike, and I can’t immediately afford to get it fixed or replaced right now. But there’s an upside of several facets. Foremost is that I’m quite accident-prone when on two wheels, and I have permanent road rash on my left forearm to prove it. The theft also got me the title to this essay, which I think is apt and spiffy, and for which an Internet search conducted just prior to writing does not show a match. (How ironic would that be, if the very title were stolen?)

And, of course, it IS transformative, theft: our whole lives see us robbed of a day of life per day, and sooner or later our various sources of enjoyment go with them. (A friend my age called me up and we swapped infirmities. “But I still have orgasms,” he said in a Thank-God voice.)

Pablo Picasso and Bob Dylan are famous for ransacking their respective genres for source material. It may be argued that they bring enough of themselves to the table to justify their pillaging, just as Shakespeare did, though of the three dozen or more plays he is thought to have written, only ONE of them, The Tempest, has an original plot. (See Pyramus and Thisbe among MANY others for an equivalent to Romeo and Juliet, for instance.)

The great Theft Book includes stolen  thunder, stolen kisses, Pirates of the Caribbean and of Silicon Valley and many other elsewheres, ghost writing (a more cooperative and symbiotic form of theft), taking Shorty-Cuts in line, aggressive panhandling, purveyance of self-destruction aids such as cigarettes, and on and on. We are all thieves, by some stretch. Henceforth I’ll strive to be a good thief. I will steal to achieve more good than harm. I hope. Most of the time.

Hey, can you spare me a change? I’m Tapped . . .

  1. Michele Chavez said:

    You should start a gofundme campaign to purchase a new rear wheel. In a week, I should have some money and can contribute a tiny bit to your cause. The cost of a new wheel is a lot less than that of a whole new bike. That’s a nice frame you have.

    • Very nice thought, Michele, and thank you so much. Note I said that I couldn’t “immediately” afford the wheel. I am not in a hurry to get on my bike again, and I’ll also be yardsale-shopping for sundries, so I’ll be cheerfully bikeless for now. Thanks again!

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