It was one of those defining moments—a moment of enlightenment.
I was eighteen and wanted to entertain my five-year-old brother, so I offered to take him to the rides at the county fair. With twenty-one dollars in my pocket, I was the model big brother.
Through the gate into the fairgrounds we went, past the farm implements, the livestock barns, the hot dog and popcorn stands, the craft buildings with jams and quilts. We had one thing on our minds: the rides. The towering Ferris wheel marked our destination.
Unfortunately, we didn't make it. A distraction diverted us. Just past the gaming area I heard a hawker call my name. Or so I thought. I spun around to see who was calling, and a man in a booth beckoned me over.
Suffice it to say that within five minutes he had most of my money, and I was still five points away from winning the stuffed panda.
That's when I came to my senses. I was angry at the hawker, but mostly I was angry with myself. I'd lost seventeen dollars and several rides ...1