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.