After 40 years as a computer programmer and game developer—and the passing of his wife of 47 years—Rick has retired and is now living in Ye Olde Folks Home, where he still tinkers with tech and likes to write these amusing and/or thoughtful tales about his storied life.

“Thou Shalt Not Steal”

Whenever I run across a “Nigerian prince” scam, I always like to read ahead to find out at exactly which price point the perpetrators expect me to take leave of my senses. A million dollars? $500 thousand?

The fateful day I first broke the eighth commandment I was not even yet in kindergarten, and all it took was 25 cents.. or $3.00 in today’s dollars after inflation.

That was the day that, fishing around in my mother’s purse, I found a pretty quarter, and it was so shiny, and I thought of all the candy I could buy for that princely sum… and I took it.

But then I felt a pang of remorse… what if my mother noticed it was missing? Desperate for a solution, I wandered over to my father’s desk where… I found a second quarter!

And so I placed that quarter in my mother’s purse to replace the one I had taken.

Problem solved! Or… was it? What if… my father noticed his quarter was missing?

And so I took a quarter from my mother’s purse to replace the quarter that I had taken from my father, but… wait… what if…?

I have no recollection of how many iterations of this useless exercise I engaged in, or the final denouement… Did I take the quarter at last? Or did I give up and return everything to the status quo?

Happily, although I am not perfect, it is my hope that my moral fibre is made of slightly sterner stuff at present.