What painful thought haunts the narrator in Stephen Leacock’s short story “My Lost Dollar”? Why?
The “painful thought” that haunts the narrator in “My Lost Dollar” is that if Todd owes him a dollar and has forgotten it, it is possible, indeed it is theoretically probable, that there must be men to whom the narrator owes a dollar which he has forgotten.
The very thought “haunts” the narrator because he realises that if he starts remembering and listing all whom he owes a dollar or so, the list might get longer and longer and he might find it a real trouble to repay the debt. That is why he likes to remain forgetful of all those dollars.
Actually, the author wants to present the general human tendency in a satirical tone here that we all tend to forget what we owe others but remember vividly what others owe us.
The painful thought that rather comes in the narrator’s mind is that if Todd has borrowed a dollar from the narrator in similar manner the narrator would have also taken a dollar from anyone but the narrator does not want to give the dollar to the person whom he has borrowed a dollar from.