Nothing to do with one of the recent subjects raised: When does being honest and upfront amount to being stupid?
This is a serious question. Asked off me by an official. I am rarely stumped for answers. But had to concede that yes, NOT committing fraud – when it would have been so easy and indeed expedient – verges on, well, being a little too virtuous for my own good.
Which reminds me, apropos of nothing: I once found myself, in a state of panic because I’d discovered absence of my wallet, walking out of the shop, purchases in hand (I rarely use a shopping basket because hands can only hold so much – a way of sticking to your budget). So I traced my steps back a dark alley, wondering why on earth I am a such a scatterbrain, only to find myself back home with purchases as yet unpaid for. By which time I had lost the will to go back all the way. Next morning – having found my wallet in a most unlikely place – I did nip back to the shop, “confessed” my confusion – and paid up for the previous night. It’s interesting watching people when you are “honest” when there clearly was no need for it. Nobody had noticed. Nobody was bothered. And anyway they know me. Yes, so I did feel a little foolish for confessing my mistake. The women in that place are a middle aged feisty lot. Streetwise. In the best, and most admirable, sense of the word. I don’t know whether I soared or plummeted in their esteem of me. Doesn’t matter. Main thing I can sleep at night. A guilty conscience will keep you awake.
A friend of mine used to dream about committing the ‘perfect crime’. He was/is obsessed with money – so for him it was robbing a bank without getting caught and, of course, without killing anyone. I thought him quite mad. Not least because, logically, you won’t know whether you will be able to pull it off. Till after the event. Some people have a fear of open spaces. I have a fear of prison. If I want to scare myself in absence of any other scare I imagine myself in a six by eight ft cell. No freedom. My idea of hell. Probably kill me. Not by rope. By spirit being crushed. On the other hand: With a spoon and years of incarceration ahead of you you have all the time in the world to scrape your way out of it. Was it Alcatraz? With Steve McQueen? Forgotten now.
That’s why I perfer making one’s own prison. You may not know how to shake off the shackles but it’ll come to you. Eventually.