Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Some years ago, there was an extended-family get-together, most likely for Christmas. Kids running around. Some money went missing. Probably some sort of gift-money -- a few small bills and some coins. We'll call it that. And each of the kids swore up and down that, no, it wasn't me who took it. Toward the end of the festivities I was playing with one of them, age 10, tossing him into the air, holding him upside down by an ankle and swinging him around, that sort of thing. And of course a wad of bills and a bunch of change came cascading out of his pocket. I took it in stride, had him gather it up, and the rest of it from his pockets, and hand it to me. And I got onto one knee the way I used to and held his hand and looked him in the eyes and said, earnestly, almost urgently, I recall, "Be honest. Be honest." And he said, "I will." And I hugged him close.

It doesn't do any good. There are no magic words. A moment cannot undo the years of damage. The point of telling that little vignette is that I kept it to myself. I was just thinking about it, and noticed that. I keep these things to myself. They are private, between one person and one other person. If anyone else needs to know, well then I'll tell them. But hardly anyone else needs to know, hardly ever. Sometimes a general word, a heads up. But if parents don't know just about everything about their kids, details aren't likely to help. All that happens is punishment, or some other brand of ineffectiveness, and that attitude is what's behind the problem in the first place.

Maybe I'm wrong.

The attentive reader may recall other instances recorded in this forum where I kept atrocities to myself.

Why am I like that?

I view it as a betrayal. It's irrational, I know. It's just that in my formative years I never got justice. Vindictiveness. So how can I trust that authority which claims jurisdiction over such malfeasances?

Today I had something that I thought someone I know should have. Someone I, uh, used to roll with. How to get it to him? I know! I could drop by and leave it! And the idea filled me with such pain.

Ah well. Let's be philosophical.


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