As expected, the police came and shut it all down. What wasn’t expected was the burst water pipe under the dining room floor. Every penny I made that night went to cleaning up the house and renting a Shop-Vac before the folks came home.
Oh, and please don’t tell my mom I told you this either.
Once, in my early 20s, I “borrowed” her car without asking and drove it to Las Vegas with my best friend. Nothing cruises the desert like a Lincoln Continental three city blocks long, Sinatra wailing on the tape deck, crooning you home.
The dice were hot for a couple of hack gamblers that weekend. Lady Luck had her beer goggles on. Had we known what we were doing, perhaps we would have really raked it in. As it was, my winnings went entirely to the massive speeding ticket I got just outside Barstow. The Lincoln Continental, so smooth, can get away from you on a long, yawning drive if you’re not careful.
With a little hindsight, I can chalk the burst pipe and speeding ticket up to karma for my lack of respect. But I think I’m still paying those debts, and here’s why: I have children of my own now.
I’m not an overly protective parent; I give them a longish leash and a semi-wide berth. But when they’re in the backyard, I’ll keep an eye on them from the kitchen window, try to listen in on their conversations. Mostly to see if they’re talking about me.
With children it feels like every day is a frustrating series of potential life-changing moments. Whether it’s the improper use of a stapler on your sister’s arm or the left hook to the nose in return. Miraculously, I’m never in the room to witness when “she did it first.”