“Nostalgia is funny. You tend to miss things that were never any good.” –David Zack
I have only stolen something once in my life. It was sort of intentional, sort of not. Let this serve as a warning to all costume designers: do not let actors lose in your back stock, or things might just disappear.
I have no idea what I was supposed to be searching for costume-wise — probably a dress with a big zipper (which is what I ended up wearing for a terribly staged rape reenactment… ah, non-union theatre when you’re 15!), but I know what caught my eye. A gleaming brass buckle hung on a well-worn leather belt with the two most beautiful words in the English language engraved in its heft.
Fortune smiled upon me! An actual piece of Beatles memorabilia in my hot little hands?? Before I knew it, the belt was around my jeans (jeans I proudly fit into for a good decade after that), and I had left the wardrobe room. Never once did I actively think, “I’m taking this home,” but after a long rehearsal, I made my way back to my folks’ house… along with the belt.
The moment I decided to steal was when I realized my mistake. Because surely I had only put it on to see if it fit and to enjoy, if only briefly, an honest to god relic from the greatest band there ever was. The second I folded that belt into my closet is when I actively decided to become a thief.
Should I ever come in contact with a particular keychain from the ‘80s, that’s probably the only other item I’d ever be tempted to outright pilfer. In my mind’s eye, I had this fob as a small child, maybe as a hand-me-down from a cousin. The keychain was ET themed, and it was in the shape of a rotary phone dial. In every slot for each number was a place to stash a dime so that, like everyone’s favorite alien, you too could “phone home.”
Despite Google and eBay and years of combing flea markets and antique shops, I’ve never found the elusive ET keychain nor have I ever found another brass belt buckle quite like the one I have. Like Moses, I am condemned to wander the dusty aisles of thrift stores, digging through stapled plastic bags of broken McDonald’s Happy Meal prizes, searching for the Promised Toy. A fitting punishment for my all too sticky fingers.