The First Time
| As I have already said, this began when I was still quite young.
I cannot say with any certainty when the first incident occurred, but I suspect it may have been wasted on something trivial. Perhaps it was a dusky summer evening when Mom was calling me inside. "Can't I play for just five more minutes, Mom?" Yes, it was probably something like that.
The first incident that I clearly recall is at Jeff's birthday party. We were five years old, I think. Jeff's dad had hung up a pinata on a tree in his backyard. As the birthday boy, Jeff was blindfolded, and given a stick with which to whack the thing to pieces. "Have fun," his dad said, as he went back into the house How lucky Jeff was! I hoped I'd get a pinata for my birthday.
Jeff wasn't particularly athletic, and frankly, he also wasn't very bright. The more he swung that stick around, the more foolish it all seemed. It took forever! Sometimes he would stray a bit too close to the other kids, who would dart back for fear of losing an eye.
My only thought as he whacked the picnic table for the umpteenth time was "What are you doing? It's hanging in a tree, you fool! Why are you swinging at the ground?"
I began to resent the fact that Jeff was still swinging that stick. How long would it be before we could have that candy? Just let someone else take a crack at it. Come on, Jeff, say ...
"Jonathon, you do it. Here, take the stick."
What luck! I couldn't believe he'd actually said that. He didn't actually hold out the stick to me, but he did stop swinging it and stand still. So I walked over, took the stick, and smashed the pinata to bits.
The other kids were thrilled. All of a sudden there was candy everywhere, and we all pounced on it. There were peppermints, butterscotch, gumballs, ... this was great.
Then everyone got quiet because Jeff was crying. Why was he upset?
When his dad returned to see what had happened, Jeff said "Johnny stole the stick and broke the pinata and stole the candy and it's all gone now and I didn't get any and ...."
I was sent home early, and Jeff stayed angry at me for over a week, which is a long time when you're five.
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