It was 1974, and I was a totally geeked out vinyl record junkie at age 11. It was the western suburbs of Chicago (Elmhurst by name), and my mainline was the E.J. Korvettes store a mere 4 blocks away. My allowance was $3 a week, so that meant that I could buy one $4 sale record a week, a limitation that always left me frustrated. The selection of records at Korvettes was amazing for a department store, and I would go a couple of times a week and just salivate over Badfinger records I would have to wait weeks to buy.

But there was one record that got me so excited that I wasn't willing to wait weeks for. It had been out for a few years by the time I realized its existence, but as soon as I saw a copy in the store, I felt an intense need to have it in my hands pronto. That record, a 2 LP set actually, was EXILE ON MAIN STREET by the Rolling Stones. I hadn't read any of the glowing reviews that greeted the release of the record in 1972; I'd only heard a couple of songs off of it, most notably 'Tumbling Dice'; I didn't even like the latest Stones release of the time (GOATS HEAD SOUP with its cloying, annoying hit 'Angie'). What made me so obsessed with buying this particular sprawling set of songs is still a bit of a mystery to me, although I do know that the amazing photo-collage cover art did leave an impression on me.

At any rate, I was smitten, and I would not be denied in possessing the object of my affections. So smitten that I was willing to risk breaking a great taboo to get what I desired.

One of the very few things that my father ever gave to me was a collection of Kennedy half-dollar pieces from the '60s. They were already valuable in the early '70s, partially because they actually contained real silver in them. They were the closest thing to an heirloom that I had now that my parents had divorced and my dad wanted nothing to do with me. But I did not feel at all sentimental toward my dad, and I needed some ready cash to feed my unholy desires so...

It took 15 Kennedys to get me my vinyl fix. The clerk at the check-out counter in Korvettes made some snide comment about how the half-dollars were worth more than their face value, and probably pocketed them, replacing their face value with money from his own pockets. Logic would not sway me, and neither would embarrassment. But there was one last matter to deal with.

I decided that I needed to convince my mother that I paid for EXILE with money other than that which I used. So I made up a ridiculous story about finding money in my pockets that I had forgotten about. I got so excited about my lie that I embellished it with many implausible details, and then went out of my way to tell my mother my crazy story past the point where she seemed interested.

All of a sudden I had a frightening flash of insight: I was calling attention to my lie by making such a big deal about it. But I was in the middle of the lie, so there was no turning back. I had set a trap for myself by getting so impressed by my beautiful lie that I felt compelled to tell it when I didn't really need to. My mother didn't care about where the money came from until I brought the topic up.

I was lucky that she was too involved with doing the laundry to notice my slip-up, but it taught me a valuable lesson. I needed to learn the art of acting casual before I would master the art of lying.

Since that time, I've been too involved in learning the art of ART to bother with learning the art of manipulation. This could be why today I'm a broke bohemian instead of a corporate CEO, or maybe President...


- Russ Forster