I once saw a man in Las Vegas lose $900 dollars in a sidewalk game of three card monte. That’s $900 while I was watching. He had already amassed a large crowd (and presumably also a large debt) before I got there so who knows what the final total was. The crowd laughed at him, a hipster showed him documented proof of the scam on his iphone, I asked if he was part of some sort of street performance, and his girlfriend begged him through her tears to stop. Then the dealer said, “One more, double or nothing.” The guy shook the crowd off and declared, “I got this, all of you shut up!” His money disappeared, and oddly enough, so did the street hustler. I though to myself, “Did this guy even have parents?”
My childhood home was across the road from my grandparents farm. My dad is the second oldest of 14 and so between him and the aunts and uncles there was always someone to babysit me and my brothers. By babysit, I mean prank and mildly torment. With a deadly serious face they informed me that the water in the sink faucet was pre-mixed with soap (so don’t drink it), that some of the cookies were actually poison cakes designed to keep rats out of the kitchen (so don’t eat them), and that the furnace in our dark, wet, terrifying basement had a “creature” living behind it that I had to leave crackers for every day or it would “venture above ground.” Dehydrated and starving I would creep down the stairs to leave an offering until one day I realized the deafening laughter that always accompanied the ritual had a very specific meaning. I caught on and was able to laugh along as younger cousins were fooled by similar scams. Life as a kid got easier. It would have been paradise had I been able to drink the water…
Was this cruel? Maybe, but in my opinion the pranking paid off. It helped shape my sense of humor and taught me valuable lessons. To this date I have lost a total of $0 playing three card monte and I’ve been able to (eventually) laugh off devastating jokes/pranks that would have crippled a weaker man both emotionaly and physically.
I feel it is my duty as a parent to fool the children in my care. Why? To keep them on their toes and show them that the world is a hard place, full of people who will teach them cruel lessons about its hardness.
There is a box of chocolate truffles on our kitchen counter left over from a dinner party at our house. This particular box of has caused a lot of loud noises to emanate from The Child concerning when and how many she can eat. Time for a lesson.
The Boy is over today playing with The Child. I strategically placed this box of chocolate truffles within reach in the dining room.
A little while ago they crept off quietly in that direction. I held my breath as I heard them slide it off the shelf and open the box. I then laughed out loud as they exclaimed, “Awww! It’s carrots!”
I’d say that lesson earned them a truffle, wouldn’t you? I’ll make sure to have them take one downstairs for the “creature.”