Honestly, I’ve only been to one auction.
I think. (Sometimes we make bold statements like “I’ve only been to one…” and then we’re contradicted by a friend or loved one who reminds us of previous encounters. But let me stick to my story.)
I was 11 years old.
My dad was a “jack of all trades” (as long as that trade was accounting.) He had his own loan company, which was moderately successful. He did tax forms during the season and every once in a while he was the accountant at auctions, taking care of the bids and the money.
At 11 years of age, I didn’t have the attention span of anything because I had not yet acquired an attention span.
So thinking it might be fun, I begged my dad to let me go with him to one of the auctions. He was reluctant, fearing he would have a droopy-shouldered, bored kid with him, but apparently was going through some sort of fatherly guilt over not spending enough time with me, so he agreed.
It was the most boring thing I have ever experienced–and honest to God, I have been in some boring experiences.
Here’s the truth: to enjoy an auction, you have to have money, be able to understand what the auctioneer is saying with his light-speed lip service, and have some interest in a bunch of crap which just might turn out to be valuable in some unexpected way.
As you look at that short list, you can see that an 11-year-old boy is shut out of the game.
I was literally underfoot, being stepped on four times by adults. I was stepped on because I was trying to lay down to take a nap, because I was sleepy from trying to listen.
My father’s face had that common blend of pity, fury, desperation and amusement that often accompanies any parent who ends up taking a child to the wrong place.
Finally he gave me $5 so that I could bid on one of the items from a toy chest which had been brought in for sale.
So I did.
It was actually two different toys–a huge bag of army men and a Slinky. Suddenly I became possessed, and needed to have both of them.
So I bid, trying to keep up with the auctioneer’s patter.
Unfortunately there was another kid bidding against me, and even though deep in my heart I believed he was not interested in the items, he was certainly intrigued over winning the game.
Finally I yelled at the auctioneer, “Five dollars!”
A chill went down my spine as he said, “Going once…going twice…”
And then, all of a sudden, my nemesis screamed out, “Five dollars and ten cents!”
I looked at my dad, hoping for another quarter. He looked away, as if the paternity test had proven him seedless.
I was beat out by a little punk who didn’t even want the toys.
I don’t like auctions.
Now you understand why.
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