There’s been a lot of publicity lately about famous people made more famous because they cheated or lied or both. Add their names to the scroll that, unfurled, stretches back into the mists of time.
These people have received more than their share of press, so I won’t deal with them now. They could right their wrongs, I feel, if they volunteered for the first manned flight to Mars; at the very least, they would be out of earshot for a few years.
I don’t understand cheating and lying. I’ve tried not to lie too much, if for no other reason than my memory is so bad that I can’t tell the same lie the same way twice. If I tell you something, it’s the truth as I recall it – which in a way is as good as we can hope.
As for cheating, I don’t understand how people hope to make a career out of it. Does cheating on a test or a business deal make a person any more capable the next time? If you steal the answers to your medical school exam, will you be able to pass the real test when asked to treat a patient someday?
I learned early on that cheating is for losers. In an early grade in elementary school, we sat two at a table. Bonnie and I were working on the little test that was on the back of My Weekly Reader.
Bonnie and I knew no better than to help each other with the quiz answers. It was as natural as loaning a No. 2 pencil. The teacher saw things differently, however, and made an example of us as cheaters. We were as surprised as we were embarrassed. Us, cheaters?
I remember that episode because not long after, a teenager named Danny recklessly ran over cute little, red-pigtailed Bonnie as she walked to school. He was the cheater, stealing my friend from me. They sent him away.
After I learned what cheating was, I also learned that there was no need for it if I studied. I would argue with the teacher if I thought he was teaching a topic all wrong (sometimes they did) or if I was given a grade lower than what I thought I had earned. I never let my eyes stray to another student’s test. What good would that have done for the next test? Anyway, learning was – and is – fun.
In college, I had a class in which the professor would hand out tests and then leave the room. All around me, students would pull their desks together and copy one another. I passed or failed on my own.
Cheating would not have helped me with some courses, anyway. I enrolled in bowling as a physical education class. Easy, right? But it was my first class, early in the morning, school was 40 miles from home, and I had a job that started at 8 a.m. I rarely got to the bowling alley and had to “withdraw failing.”
For the record, my bowling score hasn’t improved since college; if I break 100, I know I earned it honestly.
Now, let me hear your tales of lying and cheating. What you tell me will remain between you and me – and thousands of readers.