One time I cheated.
It was in tenth grade. I’m not sure what made me do it. I guess I wasn’t good at it, cause I got caught.
It was Senora Valiceo’s class, Spanish II. For some reason, she dubbed me Paco.
I very much liked Senora. She wasn’t that hard, and she was one of those teachers you could clown around with.
It was just the weekly vocab quiz. I knew I had history first period which was like watching grass grow. I’d have time to prepare.
I arrived in history with my Spanish book out. An announcement came over the PA. Mr. Sasser reminded us that there was a pep rally that morning in the gym. We were on an amended schedule, history would be cut short.
Uh oh. That meant grass growing would only be 35 minutes and for some reason Mr. Funkhauser was standing very near my desk that morning.
So, as class ended, I scribbled three or four of the toughest words on my left hand – right in the center of mi palma. I figured there was no potential for Senora to see it. I could always make a fist or grab my hair like I was thinking really hard.
Because I wasn’t adept at this cheating thing, I guess I forgot to pay attention to mi professora’s whereabouts in the classroom. Just as I was looking at the word hablabamos written right over my Life Line, Senora Valiceo was standing right above me.
“Oh no Paco. Esta enganango?”
“No. Sharpie explodado en mi mano. Muy mala.”
She didn’t buy it. She demanded I open my hand. And on it, hablabamos and several other of his difficult to conjugate friends.
I don’t think she called my parents, but her incredible disappointment in one of her favorite students was enough.
At the end of class, she looked into my eyes, and spoke these somber words, “Paco. Just tell me. Why did you do it?”
I would have rather eaten a sombrero than to see those huge brown eyes so stinkin’ upset.
Looking back on it, I’m sort of glad it happened when it did. It was a really good lesson for me and at a time that it wasn’t as critical.
I believe we all take shortcuts in life. Perhaps its a slight adjustment on the ole taxes. Maybe signing in for the extra hour at work. Perhaps we received extra change at the grocery store and used it to buy a lottery ticket.
I’m no saint; 1981 wasn’t the last time I swindled someone. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with this world. If everyone was honest, if everyone did what was expected – drove the speed limit, paid their taxes and bills on time, didn’t take advantage of the health care system, and on and on and on… maybe the world would be a better place.
Rather than complain and point out all that others are doing to take advantage of the system , I guess I ought to start with myself. But 65 is rather slow on I-40.