Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I have been plagued with the gift of over-active guilt. I call my guilt a gift because, while it tortures and hounds me until my heart feels like it will reverbrate out of my chest and my breath will die trapped in my lungs, it has done a lot of good for me. The guilt I feel over small trangressions is so great, that I will never be able to do anything really bad. This will, hopefully, keep me out of prison from committing bloody murder or grand theft.

I know there must be other benefits that go along with possessing concentrated guilt, but I cannot think of them right now.

So, this leads me to the purpose of my post. There is one thing that I did in tenth grade that I deeply regret and I have never told a single person about it. Every now and then the memory creeps up, gnaws at my soul, and makes me feel as though I have tainted all the beauty and purity of the world around me.

I was a straight A student in highschool, I was always prepared for class, I always completed my homework, and I always paid attention during discussions and lectures. However, when my tenth grade English class was reading "Their Eyes Were Watching God"- I was staying up late to watch Star Trek instead [wincing at the memory of my own nerdiness]. I hated that book. It was dull, I couldn't get into the characters, and I didn't get anything spiritual or intellectual out of it, unlike "Grapes of Wrath", "The Scarlett Letter" or "Lord of the Flies."

One morning we had an unexpected Pop Quiz. I could answer most of the questions from paying attention to class discussions but there were a couple detailed questions you had to read the book to know the answer to. One of those questions happened to be something along the lines of: "What was Character X wearing when Event Y occured." I had no freaking clue! I couldn't even come up with a likely guess. I did the unspeakable, I let my eyes wander to Lizzie G's paper. She wasn't the brightest bulb in the class, in fact, she was a football cheerleader and a very unintelligent one at that. But hers was the only paper I could see. So I copied her answer and wrote "swimming suit," hoping to God that she had read the relevant chapter and had a little sense in that bloated head of hers.

The next day we got our papers back. I got a big fat C. The swimsuit answer was COMPLETELY off. You know how when two students put the same random wrong answer, there is major grounds for teacher suspicion? Well right after class, I heard the teacher ask Lizzie to stay behind for a little chat...I knew what was going to happen. I was the straight A English student, it made sense that the teacher would suspect her over me.

I felt sharp knives imbed themselves into my flesh and gouge out all respectability and honor that I had. I let Lizzie take the fall. I was a BIG, FAT CHEATER. But I didn't say anything because I had a whole lot to lose. If I confessed, my perfect straight A record could be tarnished by a blot of untruthfulness and disingenuity in academia.

My personal scale of character feels a lot lighter now, even though I'm permanently scared by my actions. But you can bet one thing: since that day I have never cheated. On another English test.


Butterflyfish said...

I just confessed to cheating on my blog too.

Googie Baba said...

What you did wasn't right, but you have felt guilty for a long time now. People go to jail for manslaughter for less time. Now that you have blogged about it, I hope you feel better and forgive yourself. (I'm sure the girl has moved on with her life).