Some People are for Rent

Prostitutes are for rent, and they’re not the only ones. They rent the use of their bodies for a short time, to people who prefer brief relief to genuine feelings. There are also the kind of prostitutes that wear good suits and carry attaché cases. In some cases, these executives sell themselves completely, in order to get ahead. For these people, ‘get ahead’ means to move into the more corrupt level of business, where money can be made in exchange for one’s spirit.

I don’t know what it is that makes a ‘bad boy’ behave badly. When we were kids on our country-like suburban street, I was close with Jimmy Goodman. It was a long time ago, when a breakfast cereal offered sheets of collector cards in every box. I think the cereal was called All-Wheat. I don’t remember the subjects on the cards, but I think they might have been World War Two equipment, like aircraft and tanks. The cards were popular, and many kids wanted that cereal so they could collect the cards, and use them in games or trading in the schoolyard.

I liked Jimmy, although he was a bit of a bad boy. On one occasion, he stole money from his mother’s purse and used it to buy several boxes of the card-bearing cereal. He took them to a vacant lot at the end of the street, tore them open and dumped the contents on the ground. He happily collected many of those cards. I saw him do all this, and tried to talk him out of it. I will never know why he didn’t think about, or care about the consequences of his actions. Consequences were my greatest concern. Why were Jimmy and I so different?

Our lives diverged as we entered our teens, and I didn’t see Jimmy for many years. Then, one Friday I was in my favourite delicatessen with my Friday lunch with friends, when Jimmy Goodman walked in with some friends. We greeted each other, and Jimmy eagerly told me he was a lawyer, doing well, just bought a new Oldsmobile and so on. I congratulated him on his success. I did not see him again for several years, until I saw him getting out of a little delivery car in a working class neighbourhood.

I stopped my car and got out to greet him. He came quickly to me, babbling personal information that seemed out of place. I later learned that part of addiction recovery is to make a clean breast of things to people you misled in the past. So here he was, telling me he was a courier delivery guy because he was a gambling addict. He became indebted to the Mob for big money that he was unable to pay.

Jimmy was offered a way out, to pass counterfeit and unwashed money for the mob, and to misappropriate trust fund monies. He was inevitably caught, disbarred, punished, sent to rehab, and was now a simple working man. He was suffering the result of getting himself into a position where bad people rented his spirit. He will spend the rest of his life paying for his misdeeds.

Perhaps naughty children can grow up to become larcenous. Perhaps children who care about consequences are less likely to be naughty adults.

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