Saying that I knew it all along was a lie, and they knew it. Saying that I was just playing along didn’t stop their eyes from laughing at me. I would have laughed, too, if I were them. I should have laughed, too, with them. I don’t know where my neighbour got the iron pyrite, all I know is the story they told me about finding it in the woods and do you think there’s more and will we all be rich? I’d never seen gold ore before, but it certainly looked the part. I was old enough to know the stories about children finding treasure, and young enough to forget that I was a fool.
Why couldn’t I laugh? As I recall, I was quick to help set up someone else for the same trick. I was as ready to laugh at them as I was to lie about myself – to keep them from laughing at me. And what good did it do me? My feeble defense only made me look more foolish, confirmed that I was a liar, and robbed me of the chance to laugh with my friends.
I was too proud, and my pride was iron pyrite in my soul. It glittered with promises of respect and popularity and do you think there’s more and will I be rich? It certainly looked the part. But it wasn’t made of the right stuff. It defended itself when it should have been laughing and laughed at others when it should have been defending. It sacrificed truth and integrity for the chance to climb one step higher in the opinion of others, and lost both in the process. Iron pyrite will never be gold. And a heart of pride will never produce a heart of gold.
Next time the joke’s on me, I’m going to laugh.