Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's not a crime to eat an ice-cream

"No it's not a time for celebration, it's a time for quiet reflection".

- De Simone, after being acquitted for stealing (and eating) an ice-cream in a supermarket

In 2004, Giuseppe De Simone took an ice-cream from a box of four and ate it in a Coles supermarket in Brunswick. When caught by the cashier, he offered to pay for a whole box, on condition that he be able to take three home. The cashier declined and called the police. When police arrived, Guiseppe bit one of them before he was subdued by capsicum spray. 

I'm trying to figure out how to link this story to something relevant to either Arsenal or Bucharest, which is where I'm going to be for a few days. But it's really difficult. I suppose I could make a comparison between Arsenal's bizarre capitulation on Wednesday and Guiseppe's theft, but while the former was sickening and crazy, the latter was just weird. And I suppose I could talk about that cat that jumped on my lap and tried to take my sponge cake, but that's not the same as well. 

It's just really hard to just to grips with this guy's behaviour. 

It's difficult because people are programmed to respond in certain ways -  common little decencies which govern these over-extended communities we call cities. We queue in lines while waiting for the bus. We swerve to avoid bumping into other people on the street. And we always, always pay for our ice-cream before we open it up and eat it. 
No, wait, I forget myself. I remember in Budapest, I was so desperate for a sugar-fix that I did snatch at a strawberry sponge cake and almost unwrapped it there and then. It was all I could do to walk to the cashier and pay for it, before scoffing the thing on the pavement outside the store. 

Does that make me as bad as Guiseppe, then? I was on the edge there, I think. If I'd waited another day or so before I bought that snack, I probably would've unwrapped it in the aisle and ate it on the way to the cashier. So maybe there's a fine line between an acute craving and criminality. All that prevents one from stepping over that line is circumstance and opportunity. 

Guiseppe Do Simone was right - it IS a time for quiet reflection. 

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