I don't know where this stuff comes from. It's probably better that way.
The Turtle and his Son
February 17th, 1995
One day, it became acceptable to steal a lettuce. No one knew quite how, or why, but there it was. It was never even entirely clear under what circumstances it was acceptable, merely that one day you'd be dragged off to the stocks, and the next your neighor'd look over the fence and say "That's an awfully nice lettuce you pinched off of Farmer Brown," and that was the end of it. Suddenly, private property had no meaning, at least whereas produce was concerned. And this was hailed neither as a good thing nor an evil thing, but was rather neglected almost entirely. Except for the rabbits (who'd been most used to pinching lettuces themselves, and didn't entirely hold with competition from upstart humans), no one particularly cared.
Of course, it had generally been held all along that once lettuces went, carrots and cucumbers, and even the occasional turnip or beet, were not far behind. It really was a slippery slope, there in the little village in the south of England. And it wouldn't have been so bad, really, if it had only been in that little village, in that part of the south of England, but it was quite widespread. Even the grocers in towns, who had never been known for their lenience toward petty pilfering, were suddenly wont to become concerned not so much that a gang of boys had made off with all of this weeks pears, but more that they usually upset the carts when they did so. I mean, produce you could get anywhere, but a good cart was so much less shiny once it had taken a tumble or two on the cobbled streets of the village. And in the cities, there would have been a positive run if people had noticed it all at once, but they didn't. They just accepted that if you wanted a lettuce or pickle for breakfast, you stopped in a shop and took it, and that was that. People just accepted it, the way they accept the snow and the rain, or the changing of the seasons. Perhaps a little grumbling now and then, or putting on a pair of galoshes on one's way out the door, but they really paid it no mind at all.
It was just that one day it became acceptable to steal a lettuce. And that, my son, is how civilization fell.