Integrity

I am the person you can leave alone in the room with the chocolate cake. Even when no one could possibly be looking, I will not lick the cake. My sister however, well, if you leave her in the room with the cake it might be covered all over with tongue prints when you get back. She’ll blame them on the cat though, and be believed, make no mistake about it. I’ve always gotten caught. Sometimes I got caught ‘red-handed’ at things I hadn’t even done. Once, when I was in high school, I stayed up late reading my smuggled copy of “The Exorcist”. In the wee hours of the morning, reading away mostly because I was afraid to put the book under my bed and turn out the light, I heard a scratching at my window screen and a faint, quavery voice calling my name. Petrified, I held my breath and dived beneath the covers. The noises continued. Finally, unable to sustain that level of terror and ready for it to be over, regardless of the outcome, I flung open the window curtains. There, outside my window, was the face of Kevin Holmes, who was a year behind me at school, and he was DRUNK! “What are you doing there?” I hissed. “Go AWAY! Before you wake people up!” He proceeded to invite me to a party and inquired as to the where abouts of another classmate whom I had not seen since school let out on Friday afternoon. It was now Sunday morning. Very early Sunday morning. It became clear that they (yes, I could now see ANOTHER person, wandering drunkenly around the yard) were not leaving until I went outside and spoke to them. So, out I went. They were very glad to see me. They had beer, they said, in a tea kettle. It was true. They did. I was sure it was true because while they were enthusiastically trying to share it with me (I was not a willing recipient. I’ve never liked beer.) they spilled about 1/2 of their precious supply all over me. The other guy was no one I had ever seen before. At long last I got them to agree to leave and even to agree to push the car down the driveway a bit before they started it. Having a great sigh of relief, I snuck quietly in the back door and turned…..to find my MOTHER glaring at me from close range, arms folded across her chest. “You smell like beer!” she accused, wrinkling her nose and sniffing. ” But I….Kevin was…..I never…” I faltered. “We will discuss this in the morning. Get to bed!” Turning on her heel and striding determinedly down the hall, leaving me standing there on the kitchen linoleum with a sinking feeling and the sure knowledge that my story sounded ridiculous even to me. I was caught, hung for a sheep when I hadn’t even seen the lamb.
 So it is understandable, I suppose, that I sometimes wonder how much of my vaunted integrity is the result of me realizing, at some point, that no matter what, I WOULD get caught and realizing that a reputation for honesty would go far in making people believe the more outrageous happenings of my life. To be sure, some of it comes from a natural inclination for honesty bred into the bone over generations, and some of it is from a mind-set that finds it too much trouble to keep up with a lot of lies. However, I do think that the knowledge that I would inevitably be found out was a factor in forming the huge well of integrity from which I draw. And it is large, for I can be counted on to do what I think is the right thing, no matter what it takes or costs me personally. I will do it even if there is no reward in it, merely because it is what I believe is right. It isn’t always a choice, sometimes I do it because I must, but when it is a choice, I make it.
 Oddly enough though, this level of integrity does not interfere at all in the manufacture of lies that are meant to entertain. I am capable of making up the most outrageous stories, merely for entertainment value. In fact there are times when I can hardly control this propensity. Like the time I stopped in a cool bar to get out of the glaring sun of Leesville LA. I was ordering a soda and soaking up the a/c, when some man walked in and wondered who was driving the red vehicle with the cooler in the front seat. “Me”, I told him. Taking in my scrubs, (I had been in east texas on a job) he asked what was in the cooler. I told him that I was transporting a liver to a hospital in Alexandria. I have no idea where this outrageous lie sprang from, but when it became obvious that he actually believed me I couldn’t seem to stop. I hung around for an hour and a half, just because it seemed to worry him so. I’m sure he was planning on reporting me to some authority, just as soon as he figured out which one would be appropriate.
So dear readers, believe what you will, or disbelieve, but remember, the most outrageous tales are often the truest….unless of course, I’m making it up.

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2 Comments

  1. ittymac said,

    September 4, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Crazzzyy chick! I love it!


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