Some years ago an old high school friend came for a visit. Naturally, we shared the stories from our adolescent years. The strange thing was that the stories I recalled, he did not seem to remember and vice versa. He didn’t remember the Halloween story about the “Crook” cigars in our freshman year of high school; a story in which I have always held him directly responsible for my being sent to the Vice Principal’s office.
Four or five of us had big plans for Halloween night. We were going to party. Now, after all these years, I can’t remember just how we were going to party—but we planned something “big” after the Halloween parade in town. My role in the preparation, for whatever it was that we had planned to do, was to go to New York State (six miles or so from my home) and buy a bunch of “Crook” cigars. These cigars were rum-flavored and were called “Crooks” because they had a slight bend in them. I did my part. I bought 15 cigars. Back in those days (in New York State) a 13-year-old could buy cigars without difficulty (no ID required).
When the night came for our party, my parents, for some reason or another, would not allow me to go. What was I to do now with those 15 cigars? My friends had “chipped in” to pay for the cigars, which probably cost all of 5 or 10 cents each. I felt obligated to deliver the cigars to them.
In my adolescent wisdom I took the bag of cigars to school the next day, hoping to very secretively distribute them. Unfortunately, my friend (mentioned above) wanted his share during Ms. Jackson’s English class. Why didn’t I leave those cigars in my locker instead of carrying the whole bag with me to class? Who knows! My friend was insistent that he should have his cigars then and there. In my attempt to sneak those cigars to him, I ended up dumping all of them on the floor. Within minutes, I found myself, with my bag of cigars, trying to explain the situation to the Vice Principal, and then trying to explain the incident to my father. It did not go well. I remember it—my friend forgot it! And the cigars? I think the Vice Principal must have enjoyed them!