May 9, 2006

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.

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17 Responses to This is the story of the worst thing I have ever done

  1. will says:

    Honestly, this has got “I Love Lucy” written all over it. Specifically, the episode where Lucy goes to Hell.

  2. Andrew Lin says:

    You should change the inflation adjusted amount from $541.26 to 353.83 in accordance with the “corrections” to your age…

  3. campbell says:

    Lumme! You are right, he has given us the neeedful to calculate his exact age. Still, since I can’t even balance my chequebook, it is not going to be me who will be doing the maths.

  4. tralfaz says:

    Just a suggestion. You could hold a go-gothon. You know, strip for the blind children. I’m sure there are many altruistic people who would pledge money to see you dance in your underwear.

  5. anapestic says:

    Since you clearly intended to give the money to the blind children, you were, in effect, holding it in trust for them. Accordingly, you had an obligation to invest the money responsibly. If you had held the money in an interest-bearing account for two years, you could have bought 11 shares of Microsoft when it was originally issued back in 1986. With splits, those shares would have grown to 3,168 shares by now, and you could have sold those shares for $27 each last month. I’d have to do a more precise calculation to get the exact amount, but if you include all the dividends paid during the holding period, you would probably want to give the orphans about $97,606 to fulfill your obligation to them. There’s a lesson to be learned from all this: reading is fundamental, sure, but it also has a dark underbelly.

  6. Joe says:

    Isn’t that about one night’s work for Manhattan’s favorite flame-haired go-go dancer? The blind kids won’t care where the money came from!

  7. David says:

    You are a bad bad man.

  8. jay says:

    I totally miss my icosahedron toy 🙂

  9. Jeffrey says:

    Take a few blind kids out for cookies and call it a day.

  10. doxy says:

    I still can’t get over how you would have had any part of an organization that would helped to blind children. Shame!!


  11. will says:

    With regard to Tralfaz’s idea above (#4), “You could hold a go-gothon. You know, strip for the blind children.”

    I’d be careful with this. Stripping for children can get you in all sorts of trouble, you have to register with the state, can’t go within 100 yards of a school, blah, blah, blah…

    Of course, if they’re blind, that might be a different matter entirely.

  12. stevie says:

    when getting to know peeps on AIM, i always ask ‘what is the worst thing you have ever done’ you might have the best answer yet. and that is saying something.

    bril. totally brilliant.

    it would be better if u got a rubix cube, copy of trading places on dvd and some popcorn and give that to the blind kids. i mean u put in the effort to earn the $$ and then u put in the effort to spend the $$. it only makes sense you put in the effort to get 276 worth of crap and donate that. right?


  13. chafostheory says:

    i first read “but when i’m black again …”, which is very, very funny.

  14. goblinbox says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier to simply return the items to Spencer’s Gifts? I’m almost certain they offer lifetime guarantees on all their high-quality merchandise.

  15. chris says:

    Bend over faustus!

  16. timothy says:

    The phrase “organization that helped blind children” calls to my mind a group that runs around and stabs children in the eyes with pencils and other pointy objects. Do they accept checks?

  17. scottk says:

    When I was a youngster I went to all the large apartment complexes within walking distance of my home pretending to be taking donations for a nonexsistent boy scout troop. I did fairly well, until I knocked on the door of a boy scout troop leader who was unaware of any fund raising going on.I ran.


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