When Elizabeth Weingarten was in third grade, she had been led to believe there was no Santa Claus. Now an adult, she still lives with the guilt she may have spoiled Santa for a young believer:
Why was she wasting her time with correspondence for an imaginary man when she could be drawing something productive, like a half-person, half-dragon? (I loved drawing those.) Should I tell her what I knew so she could begin a more meaningful art project? Suddenly, it seemed silly to conceal this bit of wisdom. Spilling the secret would be a public service, I imagined. In fact, sharing the information might make me cooler—like the kids who learned the meanings of swear words before everyone else.
“You know there is no Santa Claus, right?”
Instantly, my cheeks burned as I realized I had committed a grievous wrong. So great was my shame that it’s blocked out any memory of how, exactly, Jacqueline reacted. All I recall is wishing I could dissolve into metallic goo and seep away through a hole in the ground, a la Alex Mack. I shouldn’t have told her!
I’ve felt guilty about it ever since.
So Weingarten went back to talk with her second and fourth grade teachers to gain insight into what she had done so many years ago. Then, after finding her long lost “friend” via Facebook, Weingarten sought assurances that she hadn’t ruined someone’s childhood. Jacqueline replied back:
“To be honest,” she wrote, “I have zero recollection of that happening.”
Read more of Weingarten’s humorous story here at Slate.com.