That word...” consequence” …a noun … is defined as the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier. If you drive recklessly a consequence could be a road accident. If you speed while driving, a consequence might be a speeding ticket. One should also consider that there can be few or many consequences occurring out of one single event and consequences can be temporary, or they can be permanent. Those permanent consequences are the bad ones…they just might turn into reputation… if you’re not careful. This is especially true in relation to your younger years…those teenage years when you are smarter than everyone else. I can’t think of a better example than one evening many years ago involving my high school friend Freddie, two girls and …well ….me. It was in November 1969 that Freddie and I came upon two young ladies at the local roller rink …first cousins who I’ll refer to as Cousin 1 and Cousin 2. Cousin 1 was “almost 17” and Cousin 2 was “almost 16”. Freddie and I were already those ages respectfully and we felt a perfect match for these two …especially after discovering I was of the exact same religious faith as them. They explained to Freddie and me that they didn’t get out much because their parents were rather strict when it came to boyfriends but the next weekend, they planned to be at the movie theater for the new Butch Cassidy film and we could meet them there. Freddie and I wanted real dates with them though and that would be tough. After meeting up with them at the movie theater the following Saturday night a plan of sorts was hatched. There would be a church singing the following Friday night at a church in a nearby community of an adjoining county. NOTE: It is here in such places that, without real awareness, the elements that actually make up consequences begin to form. In any case the invites went out and to the surprise of Freddie and I, the Cousin parents tentatively approved. It would be the Cousins very first real date, an important event in any young girls’ life. Being that I was of the exact same religious faith as the Cousins, Freddie and I agreed that I would respond to any parent questioning or inquiry concerning the church singing which we felt almost certain to occur at pickup. Arriving in Freddie’s’ mother’s new Oldsmobile, each of us sporting suit and tie, Freddie and I made our approach to the front door of Cousin 1’s residence to be met by 2 sets of cautious but quite cordial parents. After some discussion of church matters and my successful responses to a few religious inquiries, I suggested we head out immediately to avoid having to speed…and we certainly wanted preferred seating although… I was quick to say.... all members sung at these church singings. In reality however, there were no intentions of actually going to a church singing but to a bonfire party with high school friends on nearby former Camp Forrest property. It was a great place too, as we had used this same site for an earlier, like event, met with large success primarily because of its seclusion and the lack of possible interference from say…adults. NOTE: It is here that we have the full development of possible consequences although usually ignored by 16-year-old minds. For now, and only for the sake of brevity, we will skip further details and get to the actual manifestation of consequences. Upon our arrival at the bonfire all seemed well. After exchanging pleasantries with school friends around the bonfire, Freddie, the Cousins and I retired to Freddie’s mothers Oldsmobile to listen to the radio, discuss the more historical events of 1969 including, I’m sure, Woodstock, the moon landing, the Tate murders and such. About fifteen minutes into our music listening and occasional historical chit chat, Freddie and I became alarmed upon seeing several flashlights being shined in and around our gathered group. About that time a hard knock was made on the backdoor of the Oldsmobile and upon wiping condensation from the window, peeking out, and to my great horror, the source of the knock revealed itself.
NOTE: Finally, it is here and under these type circumstances that consequences actually manifest themselves, become real, and even begin to multiply. On our way to the Franklin County Jail, call our respective parents to confess our whereabouts and soon to appear before a juvenile judge, I would experience an onrush of consequences. My 16-year-old mind was overwhelmed with consequences…consequences that were fighting each other over rank…which was the most dire and severe. Some consequences running through my mind would leave and then come right back…even in worse condition than when they left. We were in trouble. I more than any. It took a long time to overcome that event…with all the consequences you might imagine over which we were to be confronted. The fallout of those consequences would last a while, too. That following year, for example, I would call upon the coolest girl ever in high school. My efforts were unsuccessful for a number of reasons not the least of which was the dislike her mother…a teacher/coach at the school…had for me. She would pierce me with a look as we passed in the hallway that would have shamed and tormented more fragile minds. NOTE: Consequences...dangerously close to reputation. I would, however learn from that event…eventually… and go on to college, graduate with academic honors…get scholarships even…then go on to law school and later, for 8 long years be a juvenile judge in my home county …a judge who had an understanding of kids and consequences….a real understanding….a firsthand understanding one might say.