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Mary Richmond

Mary Richmond
Hyannis, Massachusetts, USA
August 09
Sole Proprietor
Cape Cod Art and Nature
Nature Columnist for weekly Cape Cod Newspapers. Artist, writer, naturalist and educator putting it all together to make a living.


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APRIL 13, 2011 1:55PM

Why not cheat?

Rate: 3 Flag

Aftermath, thinking, drawing by Mary Richmond

You know you’ve thought about it. Maybe you’ve even done it. I’ve thought about it but the last time I really cheated on something was probably in junior high school and that nearly scarred me for life so I haven’t done it since. I don’t have the nerves for it.

 Lots of people cheat. Lots of people win by cheating and I don’t know about you but that sort of pisses me off. For example, my neighbors have a business. The business owns their car, their truck, their boat, their off road vehicles, their vacation home and the motorcycle. Did I mention that they are on the free medical program in our state, that they pay no taxes and they collect food stamps? They have no income. The business shows a loss so they make little or no salaries and pay no income taxes. Oh, and they travel to the Caribbean several times a year and she just got a new diamond bigger than my picnic table. But I’m not bitter, even when they brag about it at the neighborhood picnic. Why don’t we report them? I don’t know. There are small children involved. And they are so far from alone, where would we stop?

 My grandson was with us recently while waiting in a long line at an airport and while we were waiting several other children were seriously misbehaving. They were running, screaming, pushing and knocking things down, including a few people. Their parents seemed oblivious or maybe they had had recent lobotomies. Anyway, our grandson, who was 4 at the time, got more and more upset. Finally he couldn’t stand it anymore and with his hands tightly clenched he started to yell. “You kids are going to be in trouble! You are being bad and your mommy and daddy are going to be mad at you. Stop right now!” he continued on in this way for a few minutes but the only people who seemed to hear him were us and his dad, who knelt down beside him and told him to worry about himself not them and that he was being so good he would get a little surprise when we had gotten what we came for. My grandson was pacified momentarily but he kept watching until finally the weary parents stepped in and brought their kids back to the line. I can so relate to this moment and its frustration.

 Every time we feel something is unfair these days we refer to it as an ‘Evan at the airport moment’ because we know exactly how he felt. It is hard to watch people get away with the very things you get punished for.

 Do you know why I don’t cheat? We could say it was because I was simply morally superior and in line for sure sainthood but that would just be cheating and blatantly untrue. The real reason I don’t cheat is because I am the one that would get caught. I know this to be true for any time I have strayed just a bit closer to the cheating side, I’ve always been caught. I’m the one that stole a piece of gum when I was 5 and had to go back with my dad to pay the man a penny and then got a spanking when I got home. I’m the one who shoplifted with my friends in the old Woolworth’s and got caught with a lipstick tube and had to work it off in the back room folding shirts and sweeping the floor. My friends that stole the sweater, candy and cigarettes escaped without notice. I’m the one that did well in school and thought the boy that sat behind me in 8th grade was SOOOOOOOO cute I would risk it all and let him copy my test. Yeah, that one didn’t work so well. The teacher came up behind me and practically picked me up by the back of my shirt and my pigtail. He bellowed out, “No boy is worth being caught cheating, Mary!” and off to the principal’s office I went. I had never been in trouble in school before, other than being told to stop talking and I was mortified. The principal was a good friend of my mother’s and I thought I was going to die right on the spot. I didn’t of course but to be honest I haven’t really cheated or stolen since then either. I don’t even cheat on my taxes. Know why? The IRS would be at my doorstop faster than I could say, “Just kidding!”

 I see people cheating on their spouses or lovers all the time in the small town where I live. They always seem surprised that someone sees them out in public nuzzling with someone not their partner. Really? I see people I know almost everywhere I go, even funny places one might think you could come and go from without being noticed, like paying the bill at the water company. Nope, the woman at the desk is someone I went to high school with….so why would someone be surprised to be seen at the most popular lunch spot in town or at the only movie theater for 20 miles? To cheat on my spouse would mean I would have to leave town to do it and frankly, I don’t have that much energy. And I know it would be the day my neighbor’s mother had to get her teeth done in the town a hundred miles away because she went to a class with the dentist’s mother and they would choose to eat at exactly the same place at exactly the same time…

 So why is it that some people cheat all the time and get away with it and some of us think not cheating is the way to go? For me cheating takes way too much energy and stress. I would always be looking over my shoulder, waiting to be caught. Others, like my neighbor with all the vehicles, vacations and free braces seem to just laugh all the way to the bank and back.

 I can’t watch. It just makes me feel like Evan at the airport.

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Yes, it takes too much energy to cheat! I have cheated on lovers and I have cheated on tests. It is odd that I don't really feel any guilt! Great post!
You say it all so well! R
Thanks for stopping by--and it is one of those things that just bugs us, to see others getting away with the thing we didn't dare do, don't you think?
I agree about the too much energy part.

It mostly isn't close to worth it.

But, I would do it. In certain circumstances. Not many.