Sometimes we can tell.

Sometimes we can tell that an individual is going to be a troubled person later in life. Right from childhood, the kid that will bend logic and law to suit personal priorities. I remember two examples.

A boyhood friend I’ll call Gordy was collecting ‘All Wheat’ cards. It was a breakfast cereal that offered a number of collector cards in each box. I think they were sheets of six cards that bore the colour photos of military equipment or athletes or something like that. It doesn’t matter. The point is, Gordy couldn’t wait to enhance his collection by enjoying the cereal over time, and gather cards in that way. The way I was doing it.

Gordy stole money from his mother’s purse and used it to by many boxes of All Wheat. In a vacant lot at the end of the street, he tore open all the boxes, retrieved the sheets of cards, and left the empty cereal boxes and a lot of All Wheat flakes strewn about.

I don’t know what kind of trouble, if any, he got into for that stunt. I remember it because in later life he became a lawyer. He also became a gambler – a gambling addict, in fact – and indebted himself to organized crime. He couldn’t pay his debts to the mob, except to do some things for them.

He laundered money for the mob, and even passed counterfeit money for them. He got busted, convicted, and did some time. I saw him on the street one day, making a delivery from his little courier company car. Disbarred of course, and lost his family too, I imagine. A naughty kid is a bad person.

Another bad boy, Joel, was just a brat. I didn’t know him well, but I know he was trouble. Our cottages were on the same beach. My brothers and I would make sand castles and dams and so on, in the summer sun. Invariably, Joel would come along the beach and gleefully destroy our sand structures and sculptures.

In later life, Joel also became a lawyer. He used money from escrow accounts and client investments for his own use, was caught, did time, and disappeared.

Sometimes we can tell.

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