To cheat or not to cheat…

So I had to tell the story “Greetings! Welcome to my hell…”, before I told the story about how much of a jackass I am, and my ill-failed attempts to get through the program.

To get through this program, an individual must “phase up”, that just means completing each required part of the program.

There are (3) “phases” in the program and currently, I am in the second phase, but I’m also in the process of trying to phase up to the 3rd and final phase.

To do this, I have to take the “phase 3” test and this not an easy test to be offered the opportunity of taking either. One must first jump through many loops and virtually “dance naked” to appease the “powers that be”. You also have to turn in the “phase 3 package” which is just a bunch of paperwork saying that you’ve done all you’re supposed too.

Then, once you’ve done ALL that, you’re put on the list to take the test whenever they decide to administer it.

It could be within a week.

It could be next month.

Well, I did all this in an effort to “phase up” back in the beginning of December. I was approved to take the test and I was told I would do so in January.

January rolled around and I wasn’t on the list to take the test. I was then told they were behind and I would be on the list to take the test for the following month.

Well, February rolled around and of course I was not on the list to take the test that month either.

Throughout my effort to find out what the hell was doing on, I became increasingly pissed off.

Everyone I talked to gave me either no reason because they didn’t know or they fed me a bunch of bullshit.

I began to realize that the reason I most likely wasn’t on the list was because my paperwork has been mishandled. That meant guys who submitted their phase 3 packs after me got to take the test while I couldn’t.

To me this was total bullshit.

All day they preach to us about structure and accountability. Well, where was the structure when it came to how they did the test, and who was accountable for the mishandling of my paperwork? It was because of their mistakes that I had to suffer.

Now I was out for vindication.

I’ve done so much for this prison. I’ve gone far beyond what the average motherfucker here would even think about doing. Yet, it’s my paperwork that gets mishandled. This just didn’t seem fair at all.

So, what have I done for this place you might ask?

Well, for starters I’ve done major art shit.

Art shows, recovery pieces, the resource fair, black history month, and now I am painting murals around the prison, too.

I felt like a puppet for these people, as easily discarded as a pawn. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it to sound like I am full of myself or I should be treated as if I’m special because of the things I’ve done around here.

Really those things are trivial.

The point I’m trying to make is that I do a lot more than the average guy who just sleeps every chance he gets.

I never sleep.

I guess I ended up going on a bit of a rampage, too.

I made a list of all I just told you about and carried it around with me. Waiting for the opportunity what I would see the director of this program.

The opportunity came last Friday.

I told the director everything I just mentioned, and surprisingly I did this in a cool, calm, way.

The director then told me the issue would be addressed and just how right I was.

Less than 5 minutes later the director came back and told me to come with them. As I did so, I was asked if I had a pencil.

I said that I did. But I didn’t immediately understand why I was asked this until I saw what was in the director’s hand.

It was the phase 3 test.

I was about to be given the opportunity to take the test.

And folks this is the great shit that my stories are made of and why I am a complete jackass.

I hadn’t studied for this damn test since LAST month when I thought I would be taking it the 1st time!!

“Holy shit”, I thought to myself.

I had just tired to ignite world war 3 behind me not being allowed to take the test. Now I was actually being allowed to do so, and I haven’t even studies for the damn thing in over a month!

Hell, I just wanted to raise a fuss…maybe get someone fired. But I spent so much time and energy concerned about that, I never stopped to think I might actually get the chance to take the test!

I tried to calm myself down as I followed the director.

“I remember a lot of this” I told myself. “I can do this.”

I was lead to the director’s office, saw down and then given the test. The director sat right there at the desk and went about their business as usual.

A lot of the test I DID know. I was surprised by that. But some of it I didn’t.’The director left out of the office for a minute and that when I saw it…

The book with all the answers in it was less than 5 feet away from me.

“OH MY GOD the answers are right there” I thought to myself.

Just as I thought that, the director returned.

I kept taking the test, trying to put thoughts of CHEATING out of my head.

Then the most opportune thing happened.

The director was called to a meeting.

I was told to finish the test out in the hall and then when I was done, to put the test on their desk.

As I continued taking the test thoughts of cheating began to haunt me. Especially when I got to the most important part of the test and what counted for so much of the total score. One little part of that kept tripping me up.

“I could cheat on this test”, I kept thinking to myself. Nobody was paying any attention to me. I could go and get the answers and how crazy would it be to say not only did I take the test but I CHEATED on it in the directors of the programs OFFICE!!

I tried to suppress the “urges”.

I continued taking the test.

Then I finished it.

I was convinced I had DONE IT. I was convinced I didn’t need to cheat on it and that I remembered everything I needed to in an effort to pass it.

I didn’t remember EVERYTHING, of course. But I had thought I remembered enough.

Now the thoughts of cheating were replaced by holier than thou thoughts that I was a GENIOUS!!

I went back to the director’s office and put the test on the desk. As I did I noticed the book one final time.

“Just one look Joe!” I thought. “No one would ever know, just to make sure the answers were right.”

I won’t even try to lie here.

Had I not convinced myself that I had done a well enough job to pass without cheating…I would have opened the book right then and there.

But I was convinced I had done enough to pass without cheating.

So I didn’t.

I left then went back to the art class where I had originally been and asked someone, anyone immediately what I had concerns about. I guess those concerns were well justified because my answer was wrong and that might have caused me to fail the test.

I won’t know if I did or not until next week but I promise I’ll tell you when I find out.

As I reflect upon this, I think to myself WHY THE HELL DID I NOT JUST OPEN THE BOOK!?!

What would you have done?

Would you have cheated?

Am I an idiot for not cheating?



7 thoughts on “To cheat or not to cheat…

  1. Cheating never pays off…..but I think you know may no that….LOL…It’s like when people are RUDE to others, thinking it will get what they want, well….It doesn’t, it just makes the bully look like an ASS.
    This is what I used to tell all MY RICK Bank Clients Expecting better Service than others,….”It does not matter if you have 5 Million in our bank, or $5.00 dollars, every client of mine get the same Professional, Courtesy, and Respectful Client Service from me.”

    Happy Valentines Day Weekend Joe & Jen!
    *Author, Catherine Lyon* 🙂


  2. As I read through your story I was thinking “Don’t do it, man!”
    The reward for passing on your own merits goes beyond even the reason for the test. Failing on your own merits is itself something to own. Passing a test through cheating might get you what you want but probably not what you need.
    Good move… I hope you passed. In a way you already did pass, be proud.


  3. I was thinking: Do you know there aren’t cameras? Maybe seeing whether you cheated on the test was part of the test itself? Also, it’s March 4. Did you get the results yet?


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