I was born in 1976 which, for all of you history buffs out there, is a fairly significant date in our country’s history. That particular year was the 200th anniversary of our nation, it’s bicentennial.
In order to celebrate this achievement, we went out and minted a whole bunch of special quarters that commemorated the occasion.
My mother had been saving up these bicentennial quarters for me since I was born and had them in a jar that I kept in my room. Any time she went shopping and got one of these gems back in her change, she would set it aside. Once she was home, it went into that jar with all the rest of them.
Preteen Zach did not have the same appreciation for this collection as his mother. Preteen Zach had more of an appreciation for the arcade game machines that Bud Zink kept in his store a few blocks away from our house instead.
I remember one summer, a boy came to spend a couple of months with his grandfather who happened to be my neighbor and we became friends. He loved video games just like I did and we spent a lot of time down at Zink’s playing the arcade games.
We went down there one day with a roll of quarters that he had gotten from his grandpa but quickly burned through them. Our hunger for digital dominance not quite satisfied, we began considering our options in regards to coinage.
It occured to me, I have a whole jar full of quarters sitting in my bedroom. Now, I knew that I should not spend them.
But, impulsive behavior…..
Those quarters, which my mother had spent quite a bit of time accumulating, lasted about thirty minutes in those machines. In my mind, the world would never know.
One night, mom and dad asked me about the jar of quarters. Of course, I had no idea what had happened to them. They must have simply disappeared into the night. Maybe someone had come into the house, left everything else exactly where it sat, and snatched those quarters for their own use.
My parents were not nearly as stupid as I assumed them to be. Dad would not let it go. He was relentless in his pursuit of the truth. See, he hates being lied to as much as I do now.
The truth finally came to the surface and I thought he might actually kill me. Now, thirty years later, the fear of my father’s wrath has passed. However, you know what never goes away?
The guilt of disappointing someone that you absolutely do not want to let down. I don’t know if mom even said anything about those quarters since that day. But, I know it disappointed her.
Sorry mom. I love you.
See, the real problem in lying is not found in any immediate, physical punishment. It’s in the long term guilt that comes with understanding what it does to relationships. My mother and I have a wonderful relationship. Spending all of those quarters was just a stupid thing for a child to have done.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.