When I was about seven or eight years old, my family went around town to see what the garage sale scene was like. At the time, I was enamored with stuffed animals (so much so that I, rather pathetically, referred to them as “friends”) and I was on the lookout for the next addition to my plush pile of pals.
At one of the sales, I was sure that I had found it–a basset hound toy that was adorably sad-looking. I forget what the asking price was, but I was sure that they were asking too little for this marvelous specimen. So I took the toy to my mom and asked her for some money.
“Are you sure that you want that?” she asked with eyebrow raised. “You already have a bunch of stuffed dogs and this one isn’t all that special. I think it came free with someone’s purchase of Hush Puppies shoes. No, I don’t think you should spend your money on that.”
I was crushed. It didn’t matter to me where it came from, and the fact that my mom was judging its origin and worthiness of a place in my plush kingdom made it all the more desirable.
“Okay,” I said, turning around. But things weren’t okay. How could they be? And so I began to scheme.
I know, I thought. I’ll just ask my dad for the money. No problem.
So I did.
“What did your mom say?” he asked me.
“She said it was fine with her, but that I should ask you,” I lied.
“Okay,” he said, handing me some cash.
On the way back to the car, my mom noticing the stuffed dog and asked me why I hadn’t put it back on the table yet.
“I bought it,” I said. “Dad said I could.”
“He said that you were okay with it,” said my dad to my mom.
“Well,” she responded, “he has it now, and I’m not to going go asking for his money back.”
I had done it! I had won! The basset hound was mine, all mine!
But as we drove to the next garage sale, I looked my devious acquisition over. It really did look kind of cheap. And I did already have a few stuffed dogs at home. I probably didn’t NEED it like I thought I did at the time. But those things were nothing compared to the feeling of disgust that washed over me as I regarded the basset hound in earnest. I had lied to get this toy.
I don’t think I ever played with it. In fact, I remember hiding it toward the bottom of the stuffed animal pile in my room because I didn’t want to see the reminder of how I acted to get that toy. I hated that toy, but more-so I hated my actions and the selfishness that spurred them.