All I Really Need to Know, I learned in a Soup Kitchen – Part I

When I was younger, I was a wild child.  I loved adventure and was afraid of nothing and no one.  At the age of 18, I decided that it was time I experienced a more “adult way of life.”  I knew someone who had access to her sister’s birth certificate and it was with this birth certificate that I used to get my first fake ID.  This ID was near perfection.  It was an actual state identification card with my picture and signature.  With this card, my friends and I frequented the bars and night clubs for a couple of fun-filled years.  The problem, however, was that some of these establishments required a second form of identification.  So what did I do next?  What any other wild child would do.

I went and got a second fake ID to back up my first fake ID.

My fun-filled days continued until one fateful day at college.  My friends and I were at a local night club near campus.  I used my golden, near perfect fake ID to get in.  THIS time, however, my luck had run out.  The rent-a-cop at the door looked at me, took me aside and confiscated my golden, near perfect fake ID.  With a long line of people behind me waiting to get into the nightclub, you would have thought that I would have been embarrassed and maybe shed a few tears.  No, just the opposite.  I looked at the rent-a-cop and broke out laughing.  In fact, I laughed so hard, I finally did shed some tears.  Yes, I was an incorrigible young woman.

At my court hearing, I came face to face with the judge who was going to determine my fate for breaking the law.  He went on and on about how I needed to get onto the right track and walk away from this corrupt lifestyle, which would only lead me down a life of ruin, etc.  As he talked, for the first time in a long time, I was truly sorry for my actions and couldn’t lift my eyes from the floor.

Finally, the judge got to the sentencing.  He gave me a choice of either a $150 fine or three-days in jail.  I can only imagine how moronic I must have looked to the judge with my eyes huge and my jaw dropped to the floor.  $150?? (Remember, this was 20 years ago and I was a poor college student at the time).  Or three-days in jail?  I’ve never even seen a real cell, other than what I saw on television or in the movies.  And from the food they usually serve to the prisoners, there’s no way I would survive.

Luckily for me, someone tipped me off about a third, unspoken option:  doing community service.  I pleaded with the judge if I could possibly do community service. The judge looked at me with humor in his eyes, trying hard not to smile.  Yes, he said.  I could.

What I didn’t realize at that time was how my life would change from that day forward…