I remember a time when I was 8 years old. We had recently visited “Pioneer Village” and I was fascinated with old wood construction that had survived for all these years. Looking at the carving on some of the desks in the olde timely school-house I was struck by how the graffiti had survived. That someone who had carved their name on their desk had achieved a kind of immortality. And here I was, hundreds of years later, reading that name and participating in their act of impetuous vandalism and self expression.
I immediately resolved to set my own hand to the task of defacing some furniture for the purpose of artistic expression. Back at home, I inspected each surface, looking for the ideal canvas for my future contribution to urban archaeology. My mother’s desk at the time was made of a light soft wood that I concluded, given my extensive knowledge of wood carving, would form the basis for my magnum opus.
There was only one problem. I needed to both do the deed and deflect the blame as my mother would no doubt have some words for the errant child who willfully and with malice aforethought had disfigured her work area. Being a budding criminal genius, but not quite yet fully bloomed into my full Super Villian, I hit upon this devious but ultimately flawed plan.
Taking my carving implement, I arranged several minutes alone with my target. Painstakingly, and with considerable care, I carved each letter into the perfect, soft wood of the desk top. When I was done, I looked at my work with approval. It was perfect. Now my work would live on for posterity, as no amount of sanding would fix the deep gouges I had inflicted on the hapless furniture. But the best part was the devious way I had thought to evade punishment. You see it was not my name that adorned the desk, but rather my sister’s. Now my mother would ultimately have to agree that my sister was the culprit and I would slip away unpunished to plot my next act of ad hoc wood carving. In my haste and glee at coming up with this plan I had missed one crucial detail.
Once the deed was discovered it was I who was held accountable for the deed. How unfair! It wasn’t even my name! Later, I would have to conclude that I picked the wrong patsy. My sister’s handwriting, and therefore wood carving ability was limited by her being only four years of age.