The thieves owed the most draconian karmic payback steal CD collections, surfboards and laptop computers in that order, for the objects they've stolen are worth far more to their owners than any pawn shop or eBay customer will provide.
Bicycle thieves are little better, though I'm pretty sure Flickr's Katworthy has solved that problem:
But this installment of Odious Thieves is about those who purloin from independent bookstores, as dramatized in this delightful piece (which also reveals the most oft stolen books):
In my eight years working at an independent bookstore, I lost count of how many shoplifters I chased through the streets of Seattle while shouting "Drop the book!" I chased them down crowded pedestrian plazas in the afternoon, I chased them through alleys at night, I even chased one into a train tunnel. I chased a book thief to the waterfront, where he shouted, "Here are your fucking books!" and threw a half-dozen paperbacks, including Bomb the Suburbs and A People's History of the United States, into Puget Sound, preferring to watch them slowly sink into the muck rather than hand them back to the bookseller they were stolen from. He had that ferocious, orgasmic gleam in his eye of somebody who was living in the climax of his own movie: I suppose he felt like he was liberating them somehow.
Predictably, I find that the least morally odious thing to steal is what I've taken most often -- namely enjoyment of the posh facilities at various clubs to which I've never belonged. A young man wearing even semi-nice athletic gear can play racquetball or basketball to his cardiovascular system's content at certain country and yacht clubs that shall remain nameless; whether an outdoor spa is available in metro Washington D.C. for similar patronage is a question I may or may not be investigating.
My interest in pigs is confined to foodstuff -- like Homer Simpson, I am awed that one animal affords bacon, carnitas and baby back ribs, among other fare. Pigs are far less interesting while alive. Indeed I've nothing to say on the subject.
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting.
It's among the best essays in The Atlantic archives, not least because the knowledge that the pig dies cannot help but function as foreshadowing: