This is the story of the worst thing I have ever done.
At the tender age of ten, I participated, along with the rest of my class, in a readathon to benefit an organization that assisted blind children. Since this happened
23 eleven years ago, I have forgotten both the name of the organization and the specific way in which it assisted blind children, but I remember thinking that it was a particularly noble cause to which I was contributing my reading services.
The readathon worked like this: I asked people (mostly my parents’ friends) to sponsor me to read for a month. My marks pledged either a fixed dollar amount or a dollar amount per book I read. I was a voracious reader, so when the month was over and I collected my pledges, I found that I had the inconceivably huge sum of $276.00 to give to the blind children.
Then I spent it all at the mall.
At the movies and Spencer’s Gifts.
Please understand; it’s not as if I made a decision one day to steal money from blind kids. My friend Frankie and I simply wanted to go see Trading Places again, and I was a dollar short, so I borrowed a dollar from the blind kids’ money, fully intending to replace it the next time I got my allowance.
But the next time I got my allowance, there was some sort of Rubik’s cube or octagon or icosahedron that I really wanted, and I could get it if I borrowed ten dollars from the blind kids. And I borrowed another five just in case I needed snacks at the mall, which, as it happened, I did.
And so on and so forth.
And by the time I was through, I had no idea where to get $276.00 to pay the blind children back. (I was not yet advanced enough to realize that I could make that sum in two nights in certain areas of town.) So I just tried to forget about the whole thing.
It is a wonder to me that God let me live six days after this, much less
23 eleven years. So yesterday I decided to pay back the blind children. As I mentioned, I don’t remember the name of the foundation, but I figure as long as I send money to some organization that helps blind kids then I’ll be okay.
I just went to the How Much Is That? web site and learned that $276.00 when I was ten would be worth $541.29 today. The problem, of course, is that I am totally broke, but once I’m in the black again, the first thing I’ll do will be to find some blind children and write a check to them.
Well, okay, the first thing I’ll do will be to go to Mrs. Fields and get some cookies. Then I’ll send a check to the blind children, as long as I have enough money left over.