The First Time I Was Truly Deceived

I’m sure we all have our own stories from childhood as to when it happened – the day we stopped being innocent trusting children and we became wary of what people say – the day when we were first truly deceived.

Mine was while I was living in Auckland. I would have been 8 or 9 years old. My family move to Auckland doing a house swap for two years due to my father’s work, and the house we lived in backed onto the local golf course. Closest to the edge of our property was a knee-deep swamp with thick reeds, and a bush area beside it which was great for making forts / huts. My older brother (10 or 11 years old) and I would love to run around the golf course, explore, avoid being hit by flying golf balls, and wade through the swamp in bare feet looking for golf balls.

This is where our first business started – selling golf balls back to the golfers for .50c each (which was quite a lot for a child back then!). Of course my brother Matt and would never share the found golf balls – or the profits – so it was up to me to own money. I spent a number of hours wading through the particularly unpleasant waters bare foot – hoping not to stand on something sharp – clutching my plastic bread bag for the found golf balls. I then went home and cleaned them.

Finally I got to a grand total of 30 freshly polished golf balls! I couldn’t believe it – that was $15 whole dollars right there! All I had to do was find a golfer who would buy them. So off I went, my brother Matt forced to go with me so I didn’t get abducted or something, and finally found a pair of golfers who voiced interest. One in particular, a man in his early twenties perhaps, eagerly eyed the bulging plastic bag I was having difficulties in manoeuvring  However, he didn’t have any money on him at the time. He promised me that if I gave him the golf balls now, he’d meet me back at that very spot at 4pm tomorrow. And as even more evidence that this adult was telling the truth; he gave me a little kiwi pin. “Make sure you bring this back tomorrow, it’s precious and I want it back,” he’d said. My brother wasn’t interested at all – technically if my sale went through I’d have the bragging rights of selling the most golf balls between us you see…

Well, you can probably guess already that the man never showed up at 4pm the following day – nor the day after that – or after that… It took me a week of tears from being ripped off by an adult before the first signs of cynicism and distrust began to enter my mind. Adults can lie. I knew than kids could – my brother and I were always trying to get out of trouble – but adults too…?

From that moment onwards I became much more wary and mistrusting.  And so the seed was planted to never want to be lied to…

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3 Responses to The First Time I Was Truly Deceived

  1. Vic says:

    I had a neighbor who owned a horse, and said I could buy him for a nickle. (5 cents)
    I ran home to get the necessary funds.
    He wasn’t telling the truth either.

  2. I’ve shared another experience on the SDL Facebook page
    but here’s another one fit for public consumption. When I was 19, at my first job (going on about two-years at it) for the Merced County School District in California, the head of the Federal Projects division, after the bookkeeper (who actually ran the office) and I witnessed — AND ADVISED THE Director not to — he SIGNED an illegal use of funds. (I think it was buying a school bus with funds marked for something else, e.g.). Months later, during the investigation of his illegal act — he asked me and the bookkeeper about this,ie — IF he signed it. “Yes, Mr. Peters (dick) you signed it; you stood right there at the file cabinet and signed it, after Shirley and I said don’t do that.”) and he looked me in the eye and said “No. I. Did. Not.”
    I turned in my resigation a couple weeks later.

  3. Pingback: The first time I was truly deceived | Michael N. Dundas

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