Etiquette & superstition: thievery

Whenever I think of the phrase “thievery and murder,” I think of clowns down on their luck. Right now, I am only thinking about thievery and not murder, so I am not thinking of clowns down on their luck.

ETIQUETTE: (Today’s etiquette tip will be excerpted from an abandoned etiquette book I worked on for much too long with my writing partner. It appears that the last draft was from 2002.) Perhaps kleptomaniacs suffer not from a psychological sickness but an overactive vocabulary, interpreting the first word in “appropriate behavior” as a verb rather than an adjective. This may excuse their behavior, but it does not alleviate the irksomeness others may feel from their actions. It is usually a good idea to maintain a physical distance between yourself and a kleptomaniac acquaintance if you are a materialist or friend of materialists, a capitalist or friend of capitalists, sentimental in the slightest, or easily embarrassed. Telephone and email relationships can be fostered instead, and if physical meetings are necessary, restrict them to activities in which one employs awkward and heavy objects, such as bowling and pinball.

If you are a kleptomaniac, specialize. Take pains to focus on targets that will in fact benefit from your actions, such as fruit trees and flowering plants. The danger of being yelled at by persnickety gardeners spying on you through their second-story window curtains produces a heady high indeed.

SUPERSTITION: Cut a baby’s fingernails and toenails as soon as it is safe to do so. If you do not cut its nails before it is one year old, the baby will grow up to become a thief.

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