George Armstrong CusterLong ago when I was a wee little lad, my mom took me to the store at Christmas time and told me the mother of my friend Billy (not his real name) needed help picking out presents for him.

She said, “Pick out a couple of toys you think Billy would like and that’s what I’ll tell his mom to buy.”

Oh how sweet.

What my mom didn’t know was that Billy and I had just had a big fight. It was probably over who was cooler, Superman or Batman, and at the time I was firmly in the Superman camp. (I have since changed my party affiliation.)

Because I was still angry over Billy’s defection from Superman worship, I picked up the two dumbest toys I could find. One was, I swear to God, a General George Armstrong Custer action figure. Yes, that was a thing that existed. The other was a native American action figure for him to fight.

Yes, it was terribly racist, but I lived in a terribly racist town in a terribly racist time.

My toy-picking shenanigans didn’t turn out well. You see, my mom was pulling one over on me. She later bought those toys FOR ME. She thought having me pick out toys for Billy would trick me into picking out toys I wanted.

I learned something that Christmas. And that was that parents are tricky and can’t be trusted.