I think of myself as a fairly law-abiding citizen.

Other than speeding on occasion, I pretty much try to live according to things outlined in the 10 Commandments.

Maybe you’re a bit confused by my use of the words “fairly” and “pretty much.” I was relatively comfortable with my status as a decent human being until a recent office discussion was met with a moment of silence and blank stares.

I came late to the conversation so I’m not sure the level of true confessions my officemates were revealing. I shared about the time I broke into a house.

Before you call the police, double-check your alarm system or get a guard dog, let me explain. It was a friend’s house — yeah, yeah, I know, with friends like that ....

When Suzanne Tosten didn’t show up for work or answer her phone, I finally drove to her place. It was dark and quiet — you know, how you would expect to find a house if no one was home.

Clearly, I watch too much TV and my imagination ran wild. A painstaking process, I finally removed the window — only to end up dropping it.

Once inside, nothing looked out of the ordinary. There was no note (as if I write one when I leave the house).

It turns out that Suzy, her husband and dogs went on a Sunday drive in the mountains and got stuck in the snow. Out of cell phone range, they found a cabin, broke in and hunkered down for the night.

Appreciative to find a warm and dry place to stay, Suzy left a note and some cash at the cabin when they left.

And, I paid to replace Suzy’s window. I credit my parents with teaching me about honesty and doing the right thing.

Although, even with the best of parenting, kids start to make their own decisions and choices. Sometimes, it takes making a mistake and dealing with the consequences to learn lessons in life. Such was the case when I drew on the bathroom stall at school — evidently, they call it vandalism or graffiti.

I was in second grade and was using the restroom in the junior high part of the building. There was writing on stalls and walls. In my 7-year-old mind, I thought it was what the bigger kids did — so I wanted to do it, too.

Obviously I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. I very neatly and clearly wrote my first and last name. It didn’t take authorities long to track me down. My punishment included scrubbing down the entire area.

However, in recent years, I seem to have reverted back to my second grade self. Whenever I go home to visit my parents, I write on doors, under shelves and in drawers.

The first time I did it, I wrote a message to my mom because she was feigning being upset that I hadn’t bought her a Mother’s Day card. Instead of cleaning it off, they left it there. My pops even painted around it when they re-painted the room.

Since then, it’s become a bit of tradition — I’ll write messages in obscure places and it’s like an Easter egg hunt. By the way mom, if you’re reading this — did you check under the toilet seat?


Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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