Welcome to a new semi-regular feature here in the sludge mines. I’m calling it “Dear Guru.” This is where you get to ask me, the self-proclaimed Guru of Negativity, advice questions and I respond by insulting you and/or your intelligence. Why would anyone sign up for this kind of treatment? Perhaps that should be your first question. The questions are flooding in so get on yours quickly if you want some attention. I imagine this column will repeat about every five years or so depending on how many questions are received. Now on to our first victims. -Ed.
Hey, hey, guru. I want to marry you.
Fool! That wasn’t phrased in the form of a question!
I have a dilemma I hope you can help me with. I have a best friend of 40+ years. This friend gives me gifts for birthdays and holidays. I know for a fact that this friend has shoplifted these gifts as this friend confessed to me several years ago. I do not feel right accepting these gifts. Even with her shortcomings she is very dear to me and I don’t want to hurt her. What should I do?
Fanny from Fort Fear
What’s it like to live in Fear? I hear the weather there is quite lovely.
You are wise to come to me with your question as I am highly regarded as a paragon in the world of morality, philosophy and ethics.
It sounds like your friend is a very giving person, albeit with other people’s stuff. Some people say when it comes to gifts, “It’s the thought that counts.” But if your friend is giving you stolen goods as gifts then what is the thought?
“I couldn’t fence these items for high value so, what the hell, I’ll gift them to you.”
Your letter tantalizingly withholds key details. Does your friend steal from people or corporations? Are we talking about an occasional Baby Ruth candy bar or grand theft auto of a BMW ’74 2002 Touring of the sort that makes Paul Walker want to put the pedal to the metal?
Because maybe it depends. Despite what Les Miserables has to say, I can see honor when one is trapped in an unfair system and steals a piece of bread to feed one’s family. On the other hand, if one is purloining iPads to toss around as gifts that doesn’t have quite the same spirit of social justice.
If life, liberty and limb is on the line then I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. I suspect this is not the case. If not, my advice would be find a way to politely decline all gifts from this friend. I see no need to get high and mighty and make a federal case about it unless you no longer want the friend in your life.
Assuming the shoplifting is not a case of life and death, and if you care about your friend, you’ll want to put a firm stop to the flow of tainted merch immediately. Think about it like this: How would you feel if your friend got caught and you knew you had accepted something that had been stolen? Worse, what if you friend, under pressure from the PoPo, spilled the beans. “I only stole iPads because Fanny liked having a new one every three months.” That wouldn’t do at all.
I can’t help but wonder why you’d be accepting gifts from a friend in the first place. That’s not a part of my relationships with friends. For one thing it creates a very awkward feeling of reciprocity which I do not like to reciprocate. Awkward! I find it is best to avoid such things.
Thanks, though, for your excellent question. You have stolen my heart. I’m sending out this long distance musical dedication to Fort Fear. Luckily that’s only mere inches from my digs, The Pit of Despair.