In the seventies, after the school bus dropped us off, most of us kids had lots of unsupervised time before dinner. There were no organized sports or piano lessons or other activities for our parents to drive us to. Back then, you ran into the house to put your school stuff down, yelled a breathless "hello" to your mom, who yelled something back that sounded mostly like "Be back in time for dinner!"...and then you ran off to play or listen to the latest Donny Osmond album on a tiny record player in someone's room.
Occasionally, there were shenanigans. Okay, there were usually shenanigans. We were unsupervised, and kids are not known for well-thought out decision making.
We had just watched that movie at school. You know the movie I am referring to. THE movie that all the fifth graders watch. The one that talked about how a girl's(or boy's) body would mysteriously begin something called "flowering". Surprisingly, they did use an actual flower as an illustration in the film, though not a single one of us knew a thing about metaphors. The film discussed something called a "period", which, as it turned out, had NOTHING to do with punctuation. As we filed out of the film, Renee and I gave each other a look, which was confirmation that we would be discussing what we had seen.
"Those pads sound icky," Renee began talking as soon as we were alone in her room.
"And how do you get those belt things to work?" I voiced my concern. For the youngsters in the audience, before the 1970s, there was no adhesive used to hold a sanitary pad in place for those days when your Auntie Flo visited. Women used belts with clips to attach the pad so it would be able to do what it was designed to do. And those things looked complicated to me! I felt that it would be easier to just staple the pad to your underpants, and I said so to Renee. She looked skeptical.
"What about those other things?" she asked.
"Tampax?" We knew what they were because we'd seen the boxes in our own homes. Since Tampax was the only tampon made at the time, all tampons were called Tampax, in the same way all sodas were called Coke.
"Yeah. Why didn't they talk about those today?" The two of us stared at the ceiling, contemplating that omission. We decided that we needed a sample, but instead of seeking out said sample in the box that was usually kept under the bathroom sink, we decided to steal a box from the little PX in the hospital.
Did I mention that ten year olds are not good decision makers? Yeah.
We put on our coats and walked over to the PX, circled warily thought the store, found the right shelf. I hid a box of Tampax in my coat, and the two of us displayed our ultimate "smooth criminal" demeanor as we left the store. And by that, I meant that we ran faster than the speed of light all the way home.
In the history of the world, nobody has ever been arrested for shoplifting a horrifically stylish and inexpensive item such as tampons. Any cop is going to be laughing too hard to complete the arrest. Back then, we didn't know that. We were terrified of being arrested, and even circled our building to make sure that we were not followed. Once we got home and were safely ensconced in my room, we opened the box. Renee opened one of the packages, which contained a cardboard telescoping tube with a string hanging out of one end. Our puzzlement knew no end, until I found the directions.
There were indeed directions that went with the tampons. Directions with pictures as to where to put the tampons. Intricately explicit, DETAILED instructions. With PICTURES.
"I think I'm going to puke," Renee said, covering her mouth. My stomach was steady, but I agreed with her sentiment. The proposed remedy to sanitary napkins certainly did not appear comfortable. Compared to the inconvenience of pads, tampons looked positively torturous. No wonder our moms were in such awful moods during their periods! Who would do such things to themselves? We agreed that some mysteries of adulthood remained beyond us. I slipped the box of Tampax under the sink toward the back, so my mom would think that she had purchased them.
Our recent crime spree ended, Renee and I agreed to never mention the word "Tampax" ever again. Blogging about it, on the other hand, was never discussed. Besides, I am pretty sure that the statute of limitations has run out.
4.) Something you stole.