Hey, you - yeah, you - the person who put forth conscious effort to affect my life for the betterment of your own. You, the person who put aside all considerations of right and wrong, good and bad. The person who couldn't prosper by doing things the right way, through hard work and perseverance. You're no better than a murderer, a traitor, a kidnapper or an adulterer. Criminals such as you are one in the same; you all feed on the same malice and sick satisfaction.
Was it a rush when you picked that lock? Did you have fun cracking the code? Did you feel like a little boy swimming in a pool of sugar when you saw that wad of cash that was destined for my bank account? Did your eyes sparkle when you peered into the book with all my personal writings, thoughts, and musings that I hoped to turn into music? I hope that it was worth it. Did you spend that cash already? I hope you got some good swag, maybe some booze, or whatever you need that drove you downward to this life of crime. Sadly, what I'm saying is just part of an echo - one all too familiar with time. But, I react with my voice. If it falls on my own two ears, I'm content. I don't want pity, not even yours. I want you in a cage with the rest of the monsters. My exigence for even speaking out is the dream that maybe, just maybe, these words will appear on the screen of a person who will face the same decision this unfortunate soul made today. Maybe that person never had the privilege of being taught the basic lesson of how to treat others, and how their actions may result in negative consequences for others. History repeats itself like a disease; knowing is the first step to preventing its spread.
I could react with violence, if I ever learn of your name, but, unlike you, I'll take the high road. In my personal beliefs, you will be accounting for your actions a much grander scale when your time here on Earth is through. For now though, the thing is... I'm anonymous to you. My background, my personality, hopes, dreams, ambitions, life situation, financial background - you don't know any of that. I'm simply locker 22 in the White Building with the Penn State backpack with the pot of gold in it. You're a lucky guy (or girl). You managed to pick the one location in the whole building without a camera, and then slipped out before anyone could notice - you must be a pretty smart person, hey, maybe you go to school here. What I wish you did know, however, before you made the decision, is, frankly, I'm probably not very different from you. I live from payout to payout. I don't have very much at all, in fact, pretty much all that I had to my name is now in your hands...
I've spent a lot of time and money perfecting my craft, and it's a constant work in progress... I'm lucky to even make any money doing what I do... but most of what little payout that I get goes right back into doing what I love. We probably love different things, but, for me, I love music. Unfortunately, music is an expensive job with very little return... but I have accepted that life. I do it because I'm passionate about it, not because I'm going to make a fortune doing it. I'm lucky if I even get a job; but, even if I don't, I'll never be like you. I do what I do because it brings joy to people's lives, not just my own. Now, because of what you've taken, doing what I love is now a hardship. That "payout" I was talking about? It ends tomorrow. In fact, I'm leaving this town in less than 24 hours, and all I have to take with me now is my student debt, and then what follows is a 35-minute commute both ways for an entire semester just to teach and finish my degree - and there's no payout at all during that time period. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to afford it now. I have a job, but, as a private music teacher, you never know how many students you're going to have. "Get another job," you might say. Maybe if you had one yourself we wouldn't be in this situation. I'd like to see you come to Pike County, PA and just "get another job." I've worked too hard for so long to be at this point right now. You took far more than just some money and a book.
My entire path in life is a result of people telling me that I can't do things, or that I'm not good enough. Whenever that happened, I reacted, and I did it. I wasn't accepted to the Penn State School of Music on my first attempt, but, do you know what I did? I tacked on an extra year's loans just to give it another shot, and I did it. There were people who doubted that I could become the Drum Major of the Penn State Blue Band, and I did that too, and I kept on doing it, even if the "payout" was far less than the time, effort, and money that it took to be the best that I could be. I'm really sorry that you didn't do anything with your life. I'm also sorry that you gave up. That was your choice to make. You probably dreamed of being something when you were a kid - something of significance. Your deed is done now... but, sadly there are so many others out there who will refuse to accept that hard work is the only way out of tough situations, and they will choose to go down your path instead. Again, that will become be your burden someday, and hopefully someone else will have mercy on you, because I certainly won't.
If you even cared to look, you probably have seen my name... on my credit card, debit card, driver's license, and even on the inside cover of that book with my address and phone number. I'm absolutely out of my mind to think that you're ever going to read this... because, if you have to resort to stealing out of lockers, how in the world can you afford a computer, or a phone (maybe that's how you fund it!) I will assure you one thing. You're going to hear that name someday - and it's going to hit you like a ton of bricks when your acts have ultimately been defeated. Who knows, "they" might even find you somehow. If I were you, I'd look into getting a second pair of eyes in the back of your head before you're being pinned down by someone flashing a badge in your face.
I might not know how I'm going to get through this going forward, but it's going to push me even further. So, you, whoever you are, from now on, I'll be looking forward to the moment of your defeat, and I thank you for the extra motivation. But, in the 1/650,000,000,000 chance that you read this, and just in case you have a heart, here's that name, and an email address. I'll be civil and offer you a chance to redeem yourself: Ian Kenney, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, I'll be out there making a difference - the positive kind, so that the world has to deal with a lot less of your kind.