Posted in Lessons by The Books Production Team on November 14, 2008


typewriter8          So, perhaps this is a bit idealistic (given the fact that of the 17 million American undergraduates, independent surveys show that roughly 8.5 million of you will cheat at some point during your college career), but today I’m going to float the maxim that “Cheaters never Prosper.”  Now, I realize that there are various levels of cheating in life, and that some (like up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start) are less dangerous than others, but in general, cheating is indicative of laziness, and laziness is a major problem in America right now.  When you couple this truth with the equally important fact that most cheaters will eventually get caught, I’d urge you, as both a professor and someone interested in the future of this country, to stop cheating now – before your whole world gets blown to smithereens for a stupid indiscretion.

           You see, the fundamental problem with cheating is that the risk-reward equation is skewed entirely towards the risk side, and the reward, though often easily attainable, is rather paltry in comparison.  For instance, in 1919, it was rather easy for eight members of the Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds – baseball players had been throwing games for years – but for this notable piece of corruption, the eight men received only $10,000 apiece.  And what did they lose?  Oh, only, on average, ten years of their playing career, the accompanying salary that would have gone with those ten years, and the respect of 50 million Americans.  In a  similar 1995 act of stupidity, Hugh Grant sacrificed a relationship with Elizabeth Hurley (Elizabeth Hurley!!!), for a short romp in the backseat of a limousine with Divine Brown.  If you take a look at pictures of the two possible paramours, you’ll see why this was a bad decision – it’s the kind of thing that would haunt an average guy for the rest of his life.

           This basic tenet – that cheating can haunt you for the rest of your life – applies to cheating in college as well.  While it’s so easy to do, and it feels tempting because so many other people are doing it, if you get caught, that shit sticks to your record like white on rice.  Take, for instance, the situation that one of my high school friends, Keenan, now finds himself in.  Our junior year of high school, Keenan scored a 1510 on his SAT, and got accepted to an Ivy League school, which he attended on basically a full-ride.  Unfortunately, like a jack-ass, he got caught cheating on an organic chemistry final during his sophomore year of college because he was too lazy to study, and had to transfer back home to a much less prestigious school.  Still, even the transfer couldn’t remove the stain from his record completely, and it followed him along in his medical school applications.  Despite having an otherwise solid set of credentials, Keenan is now finishing up his studies at an unaccredited medical school in the Caribbean.  Now, I’m sure there are some advantages to spending five years on a tropical island – but his professional future is about as bright as Eliot Spitzer’s.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that the only people who get operated on by doctors who attended unaccredited medical schools are people who get sick on cruise ships and those unfortunate folks who don’t have insurance – and I’m sure as shit not letting one of those doctors remove any of my organs.

          Now, I’m not saying that you’ll get busted as badly as Keenan if you decide to cheat in college – not everyone does.  But eventually, if you continue to cheat your way through life, it has a way of catching up with you, even if all that means is that you’ll get to stew in a hellish pot of your own guilt for the next 50 years.  What America needs if we are going to thrive in the 21st century is not a lazy, grandfathered culture of American exceptionalism that commends us for taking shortcuts and resting on our laurels.  Rather, we need for a set of exceptional Americans to emerge out of our university system who knock out life’s responsibilities the old-fashioned way – through hard work.  We need, metaphorically speaking, the type of people who can beat Contra without those 27 extra lives (which I realize is tremendously difficult)…

         …if, that is, and this is also important, those people who can beat Contra haven’t spent all their time playing video games, and are similarly capable of Considering Phlebas, Visiting the Gymnasium, and regularly Using the Library.


7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Meghan Jansen said, on November 14, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Wait – I thought the code was “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start”??? Am I wrong?

  2. MS said, on November 15, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Is that doctor a ninja, or is that ninja a doctor?

  3. drwizard said, on November 16, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Meghan: Adding “Select” to the sequence is unnecessary, but harmless. Although Contra does not use this variation of the Konami code, it will accept it.

    MS: That doctor is a ninja.

  4. MS said, on November 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    …that sneaky bastard!

  5. Chris said, on November 17, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    I vote for a new “Cheaters” show, where professors hire Joey Greco to follow students around whom they suspect of cheating… I’d watch

  6. MS said, on November 17, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Yeah, but do they write it in that Greco get stabbed (again) by an angry student wielding an unnecessarily sharp #2 pencil? If so, I’ll watch too.

  7. […] to an independent survey, 8.5 million out of 17 million students will cheat at some point in their college career. Eric Benet cheated on Halle Berry. Sammy Sosa and Mark […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: