Words: Milly Mcmahon
Illustratons: Rob Whoriskey
We’ve all done things in our lives that, upon reflection, make us feel bad. Or perhaps there are a lot of things we’ve chosen to do in our own lives that we now feel bad about. Either way, I’ve done plenty of stuff during my 23 years that I am, let’s say, less than proud of, and today I’m in a reflective mood so I thought I’d share the worst of them with you.
It got me thinking, is being bad is that bad at all? And do I really care about being bad?
In the heat of the moment I think people will do anything. 99% of the time when I’m doing wrong I’m too busy being a coward and worrying shitless about getting caught; guilt and regret is something that comes later when the dust has settled. But now all that dust has settled it’s time for a right good spring clean. So in the Catholic tradition of confessing my sins and exonerating such behaviour, this is me trying to unburden myself and share. I just hope that you’re all as bad as me and you can empathise, which I’m pretty sure you must be, seeing as I’ve never killed a man or boiled a cat to death in a huge cat sized pan or something.
So, here goes. A collection of my wrongs. A highlight reel of my worst bits.
I’ll start at the beginning with my first memory of being a little shit. I was seven, bored and spoilt. All I wanted was a Wham bar, some Capri Sun and enough spare change to go swimming at the weekend. I wanted them all so bad l could practically smell the chlorine in my hair, feel the E numbers coursing through my veins and taste the carcinogenic generic sweet stuff tearing up my insides. My mind was set and I wasn’t gonna let a lack of pocket money stand in the way of my heart’s desire.
So whilst waiting for our parents to finish an after hours chat with the gym teacher, me and my partner in crime, we’ll call her ‘little shit number 2′, took a wander round the local sports complex. Turning up the charm to a level way beyond cute (it was meta-cute), pulling our hair into adorable bunches and donning butter wouldn’t melt facial expressions we accosted absolute strangers explaining how we were collecting for a (fake) charity to save (exploit) neglected pets.
After pocketing £4 a piece we went back to find our parents who praised us for our patients and good behavior. Apparently we had waited for them like ‘little angels’ and they rewarded us with sweets, fizzy pop and a wholly undeserved cinema trip. I spent my ill gotten ‘charity’ money on more sweets the next day. I don’t exactly feel proud of this entrepreneurial venture. I’m assured it is highly illegal, immoral and wrong, but in my defence l was young, cute and l did get away with it….
Time passed and that little girl learnt form her experiences and grew into a strong, hedonistic woman who still fully believed that taking advantage and robbing was a-OK. It was a perfectly logical progression from lying brat to shoplifting youth. I’d been forcing my biscuit grabbers into every enticing cookie jar l encountered for a while now and in my mind I had elevated shoplifting to an art. I was infallible, unstoppable, and untraceable.
God bless CCTV. If it wasn’t for the all seeing eye of the store security cameras l would still most likely be stalking the aisles of my local shops, filling my dirty little pockets with goods l could quite easily afford. People whinge about our “surveillance society”, go on about how we’re the most watched nation in the world – Orwell was right, 1984 is today man and blah blah blah. But in the absence of morals, God and good sense, I’m glad CCTV is there to errant brats like me in line.
The inevitable finally happened when I was 18. I was arrested trying to do a runner from high street cosmetic giant Boots, pockets stuffed full of crime.
I didn’t even steal anything good. If I remember rightly It was a pitifully cheap brand of mascara. But I was unconcerned with the quality of my steal, it was all in the name of rebellion combined with youthful arrogance. Obviously it was all caught on tape. My misdemeanor was recorded for posterity in fuzzy black and white and after I was apprehended l was forced to watch myself fail over and over again on a nightmarish look as I sat in the back room of Boots.
I can still see the footage in my head – there I was furtively and ever so incriminatingly scanning the store for cameras, making eye contact with the one directly opposite me several times, pocketing the goods, then striding into the distance with a cocky grin plastered all over my stupid face, a chirpy lil spring in my step. Goon! Ten minutes later l was being frogmarched up the high street by an old man (local Boots security) who was half my height, had a limp and was quite obviously visually impaired.
l was prosecuted, taken to the local nick, finger printed, papped, read the riot act and booted out onto the street with a criminal record and a ban from all Boots stores for the next five years. I still won’t go into one.
The moral of this story is that if you steal you will eventually get caught. Mum, I’m sorry.
After the whole Boots incident I made peace with the fact that l was and am terrible at being bad. l gave my life of crime a rest, hung up my balaclava and vowed to tread the path of righteousness – for a while. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I should have realised that my own powers of manipulation when it comes to getting what I want are highly developed. I would be bad again, it was just a matter of when.
The worst bit about this story, however, is that l already had what l wanted. My Dad had just brought me my very own Fiat Seicento, plus driving lessons, plus a huge sound system so I could park out front of my sixth form college with the other blonde future-WAGS and pose.
I was spoilt, l can admit that now, and l badly wanted attention and notoriety. So when the first opportunity came to seize those keys and burn off into the distance with a car full excitable teens and no designated driver, l took it. I took it and went tits!
My dad was out of the country, snatching a romantic getaway with his new girlfriend, leaving that girlfriend’s aging mother in charge of me. It was a miss match to say the least. She was like 80, really inactive and just generally a bit out of it. It was my thinking that she wouldn’t even notice my wheels missing from drive, and if I timed my excursion to coincide with Emmerdale more’s the better.
Oh how wrong l was. Three measly hours after I left, which incidentally did give me enough time to complete a few triumphant circuits of the college with all the windows down and sound system cranked, a car pulled up with fake Granny at the wheel and none other than my Mother plonked right next to her in the passenger seat. I was double mothered!
Then it really went wrong. I panicked, tried to make a break for it, and smashed the meaty goodness out of my getaway vehicle. Smooth. Everyone saw, the college was informed, and yet again I was carted off in shame. My name and ‘driving license’ have never been uttered in the same breath since. I think it’s for the best.
This last indiscretion brings us right up to date. It was a few days after New Years and like the rest of the world I was back at work, feeling like utter shit. I met my mate lil’ Chris (no, not that one) for some after work R&R and a chance to reminisce about our debaucherous new years celebrations. This led us to while away a couple hours planning our next night out. One thing led to another and we soon found ourselves browsing for a certain plant fertiliser on Mr Meph.com – bless his cheap compost like narcotics, saving us time and money.
We were about to click ‘n buy when l felt around in my pocket and struck (Visa) gold. My hand closed around the credit card of some randomer that was rammed up my nose a few raving days ago. Now, I’m eternally broke and so is Chris, and how are we supposed to be at our most productive in this dog-eat-dog world of creatives if we can’t afford to let loose ever so often? For us it’s a basic human right!
So we fed Anon’s bank details and lil’ Chris’s postal address to Mr Meph and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. Smart move, eh? Erm… turns out no, it wasn’t. To complete the order Chris had provided his e-mail address, phone number, and postal address – all genuine. We realised our error of misjudgement and fear began to set in. Credit card boy is bound to cancel his visa, the bank will want to trace any suspect transactions, and this digital powder trail will lead up our noses!
But then again, if it works out I’m quids in.
Do these stories have a moral? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. I’ve done bad things in my life, and been caught and punished for most of the really bad ones. These have just been tales from my life, encounters between me and my much ignored inner voice.
Thanks for listening and I leave you with this very appropriate video. I think sometimes I should listen more to Dre and less to Eminem.