In my last blog, I was being sarcastic and facetious. I'm pretty sure most of you knew that. I know that sarcasm is sometimes hard to catch and some readers mightn't know that's my thing. But seriously. Read my books, my blogs, my background and then tell me if this is something you'd truly consider after reading my blog from Saturday:
That I am actually soliciting people to commit crimes.
Look. Yes, I wrote that post. Damn right I stand by it. Damn right I got a lot of kudos from other people who lose money the same way I do. Damn right I am not the first author or blogger to talk about this issue. It is what it is and I'm not going to argue about it. If I can get arrested for being facetious and sarcastic, then please, go around and arrest everyone who has said, "Shoot me now," because that is certainly a larger crime to solicit. Geez. Shoot me now, people.
Now. The reason I'm here today. I want to introduce you to a really cool person. I'm going to tell you about someone who wrote to me on Saturday and wanted to take me up on the dare. For realz. Because this teenager has balls the size of Jupiter, we are going to call her Ms. Jupiter. Here is the [authorized] truncated version of the conversation we had via Facebook. Before you judge Ms. Jupiter, know she is not a dummy. She's actually very smart. I know this because we're a little bit alike, just we differ in age by about 25 years. She just very much wanted an opportunity to use those nads-of-planetary-proportions. I've been there.
Ms. Jupiter: I am so up for this stealing thing! I got caught once before and I've stolen books before, so I am totally ready for this!
Me: Jupiter, Did you read the blog...all the way through?
Ms. Jupiter: Yeah. I just need to know what you want in the video and what type of store info you need.
Me: Hmmm. I'm not sure you understood my blog. It was about illegal downloading and how cowardly it is. While I appreciate the idea that you have the guts to go ahead and do this, I don't want you to steal anything. Not the old-style way or the new, gutless internet way. I don't want anyone to steal anything--which is why I don't think you understood my blog.
Ms. Jupiter: Oh. I'm dumb. Sorry. But if you wanted me to, I'd steal it. But since you don't, I won't.
Me: Don't be sorry. Sometimes my writing goes over heads. It's not your fault and you're not dumb. :) The point is: stealing is bad, no matter how you do it. That was the point of the blog.
That said, you getting caught before should have taught you that!!! And stealing more should be the last thing you want to do.
Dude--what's that about??!!
How about this? How about you promise me--pirates honor--that you'll never steal anything again. Not even if you're as poor as I've been (and I've been poor as dirt) and I send you a prize?
But seriously. Don't just say yes because I'm offering to send you free shit. I want you to stop doing all that stuff that could get you in trouble. Think about it and don't answer me until tomorrow after you sleep on it.
You rock, by the way. You obviously have balls the size of Jupiter. I like that.
Ms. Jupiter: Yeah. My balls are huge.
Me: And there a great many uses for them that don't involve getting you into trouble!
Ms. Jupiter (the next day): Okay. I'm never stealing again. Deal? The details of how I came to this decision are: I realized that stealing is pathetic. If you really want something you have to work for it and get the money for it, like my [cool electronic item]. I worked for the money for a nice [cool electronic item], and here I am, on it. And I'm proud that I bought it myself. I got away with stealing a lot before I got caught. I felt like SHIT in the days after I got caught. I didn't get punished by my [parent], but I mentally beat myself up enough. Next time I want to steal something, I will definitely think of you and tell myself no. I will wait for whatever I want to buy, earn it, then buy it and feel accomplished. And thank you, this has taught me an even better lesson than getting caught.
Me: You just made my day, Ms. Jupiter. In a big way. You know, I was pretty fearless when I was younger, too. I did dumb stuff (hey--don't we ALL do dumb stuff?) and I experimented with things that I shouldn't have, etc. (Actually, in hindsight, my biggest regret is smoking cigarettes. Ugh. I did that for 25 years and it was so dumb.)
Anyway--I appreciate the thought you put into this. You're right. Working hard for something feels way better than not working hard for it. Sometimes it sucks to not be able to have what you want, but we live! Also--there's this line I heard in a song a long time ago. "What your hands do, it's your own eyes that have seen." And it's so true. So what if no one catches you? You still know you did something you shouldn't have. And even though, as ballsy girls, that can sometimes be a buzz, it's not the same sort of buzz as buying that [cool electronic item], right?
And look-- Having balls the size of Jupiter is a great thing. I now use mine for good causes. I support girls and women who've been abused by helping the local people who raise money for them every year at my local VDay event. I help people in my community. I speak out. I taught a lot of people how to read. And now, I write books. All great things to do with Jupiter-sized balls like ours. I can't wait to find out what good you do with yours!
Look. If you skimmed my blog this weekend and think my little 'dare' is a hilarious thing to do with your friends this week because you think I'm going to send you a prize, I'd like to point out the MAJOR CLUES in my last blog that might make you reconsider what I meant by "prize." (Ms. Jupiter got this. She was just thinking about doing it anyway. But in case you didn't...)
Clue #1--when you videotape yourself committing a crime, that video will be used against you in court.
Clue #2--when you send me the name of the store you stole from, then I can contact that store and show them #1.
Clue #3--when you give me the location of the store, I can then contact the local police and send them #1 & #2.
Clue #4--Do you really need these clues to figure out what the prize is? If so...
Clue #5--The prize may involve someone in a uniform coming to your house.
Clue #6--The uniform will probably not be a pizza delivery uniform.
Clue #7--Depending on your past, the prize may involve a gavel, a robe and uncomfortable chairs.
Clue #8--You need a clue #8? Then please. Download my books off the internet for free and read them. It's been proven that reading for fun increases intelligence, comprehension skills and widens one's general understanding of the world around them.
Seriously. I don't care about the money. And I'm not all that pissed off. This shit comes with being an author and the digital world that we live in. Like I said in the comment trail: I agree that there are bizarre positives that come out of people stealing my books. I will admit, though, that I only agree with it as a method of making lemonade out of the lemony fact that there is very little we can do about this even though it is a federal crime and we are the ones paying for it.
I wrote this weekend's blog because of the millions and millions of people out there who are stealing right this very minute and either don't know it or don't care. I didn't write it because I think it will make them stop. (Oh PLEASE if you follow no other links in this blog, please follow this one to my new favorite internet vigilante FIND A PIRATE.) I wrote it because when I sat down and did the simple math (as opposed to the excuse-making anti-copyright bizarro math) I realized that in a few years and a few more books, my kid's' college education might have the chance to be paid for with the royalties I will lose from those books if the people who steal actually bought.*
*Those who want to pick it apart again and say, "But how can you prove those people would have bought the book!!??" Read that sentence again. Try to understand the words in the order in which they are used. "If the people who steal actually bought."
And hey--Ms. Jupiter you ROCK. And I can't wait to see what you do with that mettle you've got. I hope you stay in touch and keep trying to make good decisions. Thank you so much for being open and smart and thoughtful and FREAKING AWESOME. To those of you reading this who now think I will send you free stuff and call you awesome if you tell me that you intended to steal the book like Ms. Jupiter did, please. Don't. Move on. Do something productive today. Read a book. Learn how to make origami birds. Enjoy the autumn weather and take a walk. And seeing it's Labor Day here in the USA, think about why we have a holiday to recognize the efforts of the average working man. And figure out how that relates to the blog that started this discussion.