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Harebrained plots

Imagine: The only child who pokes holes in her parents' condoms to get herself a sibling. The social outcast -- who seeking a day off from school -- tries to break her leg on the stairs. The underage smoker who tapes her school picture to her father's expired driver's license. The inexperienced driver who wrecks the family station wagon in the driveway and stages the scene to look like a bicycle accident.

My repertoire of failed plots and harebrained schemes leaves characters like Lucy Ricardo and Mary Clancy -- mother of the scathingly brilliant idea -- with something wanting.

Plotting is something of an addiction, really. And even now -- having been foiled in every dastardly deed -- I frequently entertain the most ridiculous scenarios perhaps to make life more interesting. But here's the thing -- the single most important tenant of plot-building -- less is more. Bold and beautiful schemes are a blast to ponder, but near impossible to execute.

The Forger

I had a dream in *BLEEEEP* grade of owning a Nintendo Entertainment System. 

It all began on the first day of school when our principal announced over the intercom that the top earner for the school fun run would be awarded a Nintendo with games and a t-shirt at a special assembly. Sitting there in class -- with my bad perm and ginormous pink eyeglasses -- I vowed I would win that game system by any means necessary.

Well, I wasn't at all athletic and I was too embarrassed to knock on people's doors and beg for money.

My single pledge sheet was looking rather empty while my classmates returned sheets and sheets every day requesting more. I'd all but given up when a neighbor -- a younger kid pledging on behalf of her mother -- mistakenly committed to paying me $20 per lap versus a flat donation. 

At *BLEEEEP* years old I had no concept of cash flow or banks or credit. I thought of Checks like do-it-yourself cash -- you simply wrote the amount, and -- POOF -- it was money. So I took a check from my mother's desk and made it out to our school for something like $300, forging it in the neighbor kid's name.

The school secretary gave my check the once over, and her eyes bulged a bit. She looked at me. She looked the check. She looked at me and then the check again like she couldn't believe what her brain was telling her. She picked up the phone and gestured me with a stern finger to sit down.

Word spread quickly that I was a hardened criminal and all of the teachers shook their heads in the hallway and called me a forger and a thief. 

My parents, as hard as they tried to be shocked and appalled, were more amused than angry -- not that they let on. I was grounded for a long time.

And here's the worst part -- overlooking the fact that I committed a rather serious felony in elementary school  -- the student who won the Nintendo collected more than twice the amount I claimed to have collected. What's more, the Nintendo only cost $100 at the store to begin with.


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