Uncle Mahonri, AKA "Runic Manhole" and "Hernia Column," has found himself in a bit of a quandary. A few months ago I wrote about his innovative budget-easing strategy of helping himself to household staples including but not limited to toothpaste and toilet paper from the supplies maintained by others. It seems that feminine hygiene products can be counted among the products Mahonri obtains gratis.
As a shipment of individually packaged disposable douche products, the brand of which was not disclosed (not that it really matters), was in the process of being delivered to a discount grocery store not far from Mahonri's home, Mahonri intercepted the delivery of a very large carton of the supplies. He loaded the windfall into his minivan and headed home with them. A store employee observed Mahonri's supermarket spree and jotted down his license plate number as he sped away. An hour or so later, local law enforcement showed up at Mahonri's home and located the incriminating empty carton. The contents had already been distributed to bathrooms throughout the family home, as well as to the family's two-year supply of food and essential items.
Mahonri is an employee of the church educational system. This presents a wee bit of a public relations debaucle for the church. The solution decided upon by the church was to proclaim a lapse in mental health, with a physiological cause at its root, as the real culprit. This behavior, according to a local church spokesperson (when a public relations fiasco arises, the church prefers to relegate it to the local levels of church administration)is totally out of character for Uncle Mahonri.
I don't know whether the spokeman is under-informed or is deliberately misleading the public. While, as I am not a professional in either the medical or mental health fields, I am far from qualified to comment on the state of my uncle's sanity (and, for that matter, I've always thought he had more than a few loose screws), whether the issue is one of mental health or one of moral turpitude, the behavior itself is far from recent in onset. When I was three years old, Mahonri helped himself to all the Band-Aids in my family's medicine cabinets. This was only one of my parents' many opportunities to involuntarily participate in Mahonri's creative five-finger-discount system.
The members of my extended family are following the church's lead and are deluding themselves into believing that this behavior is unusual for mahonri. This is sad as well as stupid. Each branch of the family knows fully well the lengths to which they have gone to lock up their food, paper products, printer ink, and anything else Mahonri might find worth his while to lift whenever he has visited any one of us. Faulty wiring in his hard drive or some sort of chemical imbalance may very well have led Mahonri to pilfer the what must surely add up to thousands of dollars worth of goods he has stolen in the years since he has been a part of my extnded family.
My extended family's habit of looking the other way contributed to the situation Uncle Mahonri is now facing. Many years ago my mother attempted to address this problem directly by first confronting Mahonri himself and then, when he reacted with hostility, by approaching Mahonri's wife and my grandparents. My grandparents refused to speak to her for more than a year following her one-woman attempt at staging an intervention. Had someone taken my mother seriously at the time, perhaps the family would not now be suffering such public humiliation.