Day 76 — The Impulse to Cheat

How you cheat is your business, but you can’t deny the impulse.

For me, I’d never steal from a store. Too risky, and the punishment is real, unlike what’s happened to the corporate pirates on Wall Street.

A stupid college friend of mine got caught shoplifting at a G.C. Murphy five and dime (now out of business). She stole, of all things, tools, and I don’t remember which kind she told me. She might have gotten away with it if she hadn’t tried to remove the packaging.

That experience, which she did for the thrill of it, landed her behind bars for a few hours until a friend bailed her out. She said she felt humiliated, ashamed and that she has kept this a secret, especially from prospective boyfriends. Who’d want to date a thief?

I’m not so sure why she should still feel guilty about it now, given all I read in the paper about Wall Street greed, which I find to be the epitome of money, ego and power.

I know others who cheat on their unemployment insurance. They don’t like doing it but can’t see any other way out when maintaining what they’ve worked for over their lifetime is paramount, and I’m not talking about folks with mansions. They live in middle-class neighborhoods and send their kids to public school.

As for me, I don’t see any benefits in the new stimulus act coming my way, except for an extra $25 a week in unemployment compensation. Like so many Americans who are out of work, we need immediate help because we are either still losing our homes to foreclosure or feel as if we’re about to.

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