I smirked. I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help it. I was enjoying myself at the expense of another human. I glanced at his flushed, sweaty face and completely mortified countenance. He was staring at the ground, trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone else in the room. I had to bury my face in my hands to stifle the laughter. I was probably just as red as he was. One of God’s precious creatures was suffering some sort of self-imposed misery and it brought joy to my heart. Of course, had the circumstance been anything truly terrifying or depressing, I would have reacted differently. I wouldn’t be enjoying the situation. I’d probably have some sympathy to offer.

Then again, if this particular person wasn’t quite like they are, I might enjoy it less, too. He’d hopefully learn his lesson (I had my doubts) and we’d never have to go through this kind of experience ever again. He had a reputation for opening his mouth before his brain had a minute to consider the syllables that could never be retracted. I wasn’t much different from him in this respect, but the words that came out of my mouth were never quite as bad as what was just spoken.

Basically, we were all laughing at a dirty joke. It wasn’t intentional, but was one of those innuendos that one spouts out as an expression of naivety or due to a lack of better judgment. It was the kind of statement that precedes somebody spitting their drink all over the place. The situation fostered merriment, but would later bring about some guilt. We shouldn’t be laughing at these kinds of things and all of us knew it.

There’s no such thing as a truly guilty pleasure. If guilt or shame is involved, something has been perverted and the joy of the experience has been compromised. The best joy won’t have any regrets. Dirty jokes might make us panic-laugh for a few minutes, but I think if we’re honest, most of us wish we didn’t find them humorous at all. The best pleasures won’t result in STDs. They probably won’t prevent us from passing a drug test. The best pleasures aren’t likely to get us locked up in jail or rehab. The devil won’t make you feel bad about the purest form of enjoyment, and neither will your mother. The best joy and the best pleasure, will come from innocence.

What pleasures have been ruined for you?

Do you think they can be redeemed?

(i do)

Written for One Word at a Time by Peter Pollock . Check out the other stories, they’re great!