One of the incidents from my childhood that I included in my memoir — an incident that confounds me to this day — was about a shameless whopper that I told my parents. I was in grade school, walked by Sid’s Soda Fountain and Toys every day, and coveted the red stagecoach that was in the window. The twelve dollar cost was $11.75 above my means, and I wasn’t likely to get the toy from my parents either — far too expensive. So, over time, I gradually stole dollar bills from my mother’s cash budgeting envelopes, and when I had enough, I bought the stage coach. When I appeared home with it, my mother asked where the money came from. I coolly responded that the teacher had paid me every day for clapping the erasers after school.
The story was preposterous, but my mother accepted it, as did my father when he came home from work that night. I should say I felt guilty about having the stagecoach, but I didn’t. I loved the thing — it came with horses, a strongbox that went under the driver’s seat, and a rifle. I played with it all the time, and it became the center piece of my imaginary cowboy and Indian battles that I enacted with my precious set of small figures. The cowboys were blue and the Indians were, of course, red.
Apparently, such lying isn’t all that uncommon — note the article below. Scheming and dishonesty is part of what makes us human. I didn’t grow up to be a serial liar, thank the Lord. And I wish I still had the ill-gotten stagecoach, so I could pass it along to Archie and Else.