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I've been thinking about cheating. No, I am NOT having an affair! I mean I've been thinking about little ways people cheat.

I remember liking a boy in 4th grade. He was the smartest boy in my class. I wanted him to like me. I was a "smart" girl, and sat across from him. Once, during a math test he motioned me to show him my answers. I scooted my paper across the desk toward him, and moved my arm, pretending to be thinking, sure he could see my paper to "compare answers". I did my own work, but still felt very guilty.

I recently went to a movie with a friend (who shall remain nameless). She walked up to the ticket window and asked for "2 seniors". I am 57. She is 59. The senior rate is for 60 years or older. I immediately jerked my head around (which was absurd, as I can pass for 60) so the kid at the ticket booth couldn't see me. When we entered the theater, I told her quietly, "We're NOT seniors!" She said at the theater she usually goes to it is 55+ for the senior rate. I paid $5 for a diet coke, and tried to rationalize. I felt badly all night and the next day.

A week later, Brad and I went to the same theater to see Julie & Julia. Brad walked up to buy our tickets and said, "2 adults." He IS a senior. I told him (before he handed the guy $21) "YOU are a senior." He repeated, "2 adults." We paid $3.50 more for Brad's ticket, and I somehow felt better, like now the theater and I were "even". Then I laughed, and said, "You can pay extra if you want, but it won't change your age. You are STILL 61."

In my high school advanced algebra class, I got a test back with no grade on it. It said, "Suspected of collusion - See Me" at the top. I was horrified. I wasn't even sure what that meant, but I knew it wasn't good. After class, another girl I didn't know and I both went up to the teacher. Her paper said the same thing. The teacher said we had the same wrong answers, and he suspected us of cheating. I KNEW I was innocent. He let us take the same test after school, at opposite corners of the room. I missed the same 3 problems. The other girl missed all the problems. I was exhonorated and got my B+.

I have another friend, a therapist, who writes off every meal she has out with friends, calling it a "business expense" (supposedly marketing her private practice). If we go out, I pay her cash, she puts the meal on her credit card, and keeps the receipt. I think this is cheating. Another therapist friend does not claim the income for clients who pay her in cash. About 25% of my clients pay me in cash. I claim every single penny as income on my taxes. Am I just stupid or am I too honest? My answer is that I have to live with myself.

Many people pay to see one movie, then stay in the theater and see another movie for free. I would rather stick needles in my eye. I just couldn't do it. I give back change if given the wrong amount (too much). The cashier would have to make it up, or get into trouble if the register was short.

There are SO many ways people cheat. I think honesty is so important. We can lose a lot of things in life and still be "okay". Integrity is not one of them.

Comments (10)

Barb Cabot:

Such a thoughtful post Palma. It reminded me of the old cartoons with the little devil and angel sitting on either shoulder. Being a teacher I am often reminded of how honorable it is for a little one to tell the truth when confronted. It's so nice to be able to tell someone, "I appreciate your honesty!"


We are very fortunate that here in Fla we have the opportunity to save some money with "senior rates " starting as low as at age 50!One department store gives 15% savings once a month. At our movie theatres they charge $4 for the senior rate for anyone age 55 and up and believe me I take advantage of that because I feel I am being cheated by them when I pay $6 for a bag of popcorn which cost them perhaps 10 cents.


Stick to your principles Palma, if more people lived by their conscious the world would not be in such a mess. time after time I have seen priviledges taken away from the many by abuses by the few.

Denise Curtis:

Bravo, Palma!

I admire people with integrity! If more of us were honest, think how different our world would be (and how boring the news would be!) I have never been able to lie. I always say, "If I lie, it pops out in red letters on my forehead."

Don't you feel great knowing you are an honest person?


Laura :

Kudos to you and your honesty! I, too, hand back extra change and would NEVER stay in the theater for a "freebie".

I have a strong dislike for the cheaters of the world. We have it so good, and easy comparatively, but many are unwilling to pay for that goodness.


I'm always afraid that if I pull something like that then it will come right around and bite me in the caboose someday. I'd rather stay honest and not take any chances!

Great post, Palma, and I am with you - cheating is not cool! It will always come back to bite us somehow. For instance, if lots of people pretend to be seniors in the movie theatre, they may eventually raise the price for everybody. Then again, my friends make fun of me for being such a rule follower - I even have a hard time crossing the street on a red light!

(Funny how Brad refused to use the discount, though!)

I am totally in your corner, Palma. I think you may know that. I think you should stop paying that friend cash, too. The tax she doesn't pay we honest ones have to pay. Besides, if I were 59 1/2 I wouldn't be so quick to say I was a senior! Anyway in the EU it generally kicks in at 65 even though the pensions started earlier.

Great post! My mom instilled no cheating in me pretty well. I felt so guilty this summer the one time ever I was on a train without a ticket even though I tried to buy one on board the train. It is sad watching so many kids grow up seeing their parents cheat with no second thought.

Palma, I agree with you and the other comments. I can lay my head down each night knowing I've done the right thing. I don’t understand the integrity of some people as I know their parents taught them better.

There is a lot of ‘stuff’ that disappears at my work, it’s a large company and buildings are occupied 24/7. I don't understand why people take ‘stuff’ that is not theirs when they can truly afford to buy it for themselves and if they get caught can/will be fired for it. I wish I could catch these folks and ask them ‘Really, you are willing to lose your job over a $20 cable, mouse, or power supply, really’? Aargh, very frustrating.

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