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Sam Stryker | Monday, January 24, 2011

There is a popular saying that goes “Secrets, secrets are no fun if you don’t tell everyone.” I usually bring this phrase up when my friends are trying to withhold information from me, but I feel it is time that I reveal a secret of my own. No, it isn’t that I am a superhero. My secret is I am a kleptomaniac.

For those of you unenlightened minds out there, a kleptomaniac is obsessed with stealing things. Before you hide your iPods and cell phones, let me make something clear: kleptomaniacs don’t steal things for the monetary compensation that may be involved. In fact, I don’t think I have ever broken the law in my thievery. Plain and simple, I steal for the thrill.

Now I don’t just get the five-finger discount whenever I feel like it. In fact, if I had to label myself as a thief, I would say I am a modern day Robin Hood, stealing from the rich, and giving to the poor (myself). For instance, I work as a lifeguard/child-wrangler at a local country club over the summer. At the pool, I am a lost and found connoisseur, scouring the pile of swimsuits, towels, shirts, and shoes for the perfect crime. I haven’t had to buy a pair of goggles in five years thanks to my thievery, and I like to say I do my best Christmas shopping at the lost and found.

Where did I pick up my thieving ways? Let’s just say it runs in the family. While my mother may be no cat burglar, she has assisted me in my kleptomania. Just two years ago, when I visited Duke University, she stole a water bottle with me from an alumni event that was running at the time. The water bottles may have been given away for free, but it’s the thought that counts. My mother and I are cunning artists of thievery, and there is no getting around it.

Where does that leave me today? More and more my mother and I frequently are utilizing new technological methods to expand our thievery. No place is this more evident than the popular deal of the day website, Groupon. For those of you not lucky enough for Groupon to stroll into your life, the website sells discounts to local business. My mother was first drawn to the website over Christmas break, like a shark is drawn to a drop of blood from a hundred miles away. Soon enough she introduced me to the website, and I — klepto that I am — I was hooked right away. For five bucks, I got a 35-dollar gift certificate to a local burger restaurant. Even for someone like me, it was a total steal.

Groupon has made it so much easier for my thieving ways. Every morning, when I wake up I check the deal of the day for Connecticut. Then I check it for New York City. Then Chicago and finally, for South Bend. My thieving knows no borders.

So there you have it — the big secret is out. Whether I am taking a towel or nice pair of flip flops discarded by a child after a day at the pool, or getting my deal of the day on my iPod Groupon application, you now know me as Sam Stryker, Prince of Thieves.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Sam Stryker at [email protected]