Disclaimer: This post probably makes me sound like a bad person x2.
^That was just about my exact reaction when I found out I was in love with Mr. Hippo.
(If you haven’t watched ‘The Good Place’ on Netflix, I strongly recommend it.)
The general premise is if you do good, you get to go to a good place; but that’s just the 1% of humans. Everyone else goes to the bad place filled with hot lava and pokey things.
The show has flashbacks of the characters doing good or bad. I had one such flashback myself. This totally hilarious show did make me question my moral point system on Earth…
OK, the main question is: Is it wrong to do another kid’s homework for money?
Most reflexes will go “duh yeah, of course, it’s wrong.” Now usually I’m guilt-ridden and depressive, calling myself a raindrop. But then I thought about it again and I’m like…”Nah, the end justified the mean.”
This one flashback here today, I want to defend myself properly. My favorite color has been gray since I was 13 years old because that’s typically the age when people start understanding how the world works. I love it when life is morally conflicted. It tickles my funny bone like nothing else.
You guys can be a judge and absolutely feel free to disagree with me.
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On my 8th grade “permanent record,” there’s probably a remark about how I did the homework of an idiot for a month or two…for money.
My family didn’t have much to give me money wise, I understand that completely. I would sooner see aliens than an allowance.
But I wanted to save up back then so I could own some VHS tapes of my favorite 90s movies and have my own set of Dahl books. I was particularly fond of ‘Matilda’ and ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’, both by Dahl.
I was a good student. Not the brightest but I was responsible with my school homework. More importantly – I was an excellent forger.
My parents didn’t come home from work until late so I forged their signatures on every single school document without having to bother them. In my entire school career, they never knew they had to sign a thing.
That’s the small perk of having illiterate parents. It’s not hard to fake a parent signature – I’m pretty sure most kids have attempted to do it once or at least thought about it.
It was more of a moot point though. My parents couldn’t speak, read, or write in English. There was no point in giving them the paper forms. They don’t even know grammatically correct Chinese (a lot of poor Chinese don’t know so it’s not just my parents.)
When my school sends me home with various release forms, report cards, a thousand other things to sign – I signed them all myself. My parents never had to touch a single piece of paper in my entire school life and they never knew or asked.
One day…uhhh…….huh……..you know, I don’t even remember how this dude in my class and I struck this deal but we did…
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Let’s call him Dash!
I recall it started in 7th-grade Biology. Dash was one of the most annoying wannabe pre-teen gangsters in the school…granted a lot of adolescents are annoying at that age but he was especially annoying.
We knew each other because we were both in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program. ESL is a special program for children who did not firmly grasp English as a primary language. I had been on American soil for 2 and a half years when I was put into ESL.
I had a hard time understanding the assignments in English class…it was like they were talking in a strange foreign tongue 😉
Also, my vision was starting to go bad during that time and I had hearing issues in one ear that were both only detected as issues much later on.
I guess I came off pretty dumb…being very very shy, half deaf, half blind, and having elementary grade English skills.
I thought I was dumb too because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t see, hear, or learn like everyone else. Hearing and vision are physiological losses you don’t notice because it’s so progressive. Eventually, they figured out my history and I was shipped to the special class.
It puzzled me why Dash was in ESL though. He’s Chinese like me but he was born here and spoke English at home too.
He was very lazy with totally wrong school priorities. He was determined to fit in by sagging his pants as far as possible – to his calves – and trying to come off gangster to everyone else.
(Dash = Jianyu from The Good Place except Dash’s not adorable.)
He picked on me about my clothes and shoes. (…I am NOW just understanding the irony of a guy sagging his pants to his calves making fun of me for my clothes. What a world bawahaha!)
It bothered me at the time. No one likes to be ganged up on by other similar idiots for wearing ugly clothes and being poor. Who wants to be poor???
But that was 7th-grade politics and a good introduction to real life. I was an easy target. I didn’t even have American branded hand-me-downs at the time. They were leftover clothes brought over from China.
Did you guys ever have a pink knock-off “Snoopee” shirt? ‘Cause I had one! 😉
His family must have some spare cash around because his parents bought him a lot of pricey rapper clothes. Since he was the only son, and Chinese people love sons more than daughters, he was pretty spoiled. 50 Cent was a big rapper name at the time and, to this day, I’m convinced Dash lived in 50 Cent’s closet or something.
Dash’s grades sucked, he proposed in secret that I do his homework for money.
Morally, it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.
But I’m not a moral person 🙂 many moralities are for those who can afford it (slippery slope, I know). I label myself as realistic.
By the time he mentioned money, I was in. Not even a whiff of conscience.
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Things Were Good…
We had about 5 classes together and 2 of those classes came with daily assignments that were easy to copy and paste. For every assignment I forged in his handwriting I was paid $2. It took me 2-3 minutes to copy my homework and make it into his handwriting so no one would be any wiser.
He applied very faint pressure in his handwriting and I copied that. He had a vague crookedness to the order of his math equations and I applied the same teetering format. No one could tell even if they tried.
For a while, things were good. No one suspected a thing. Every applicable class period, we would pass the homework up to the front as a table in groups. I just turned in Dash’s homework with mine. Dash was finally and consistently turning in “his” homework. Even his gang of “friends” wondered why he started doing his homework.
“You’re doing your homework now? Did you get into trouble with your mom?”
See, Dash thought he an authentic gangster reputation to keep up and that statement didn’t sit right so he announced to the whole table of his goons,
“Pff NO, I’m paying Xiao to do it. Right X?”
I sat adjacent on a large table of 6 and honestly…that should have been my lesson in not doing business with idiots. He just ratted both of us out, that dumbass.
Yup, that’s gangster material alright. One of the guys sitting at our desk, goes by Ricky, said to Dash, “Hmmm, isn’t that wrong?”
“What are you gonna do? You’re just mad no one is doing your homework.”
“I’m going to tell.”
“You’re not going to tell.”
“Yes I am, I’m going to tell the teacher.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am.”
*End of class bell rings to free me from that stimulating conversation*
“Sooo, um, I think he’s gonna tell.” – I said back.
“No he’s not X, if he tells he’s getting jumped.”
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Plot Twist (Not Really)
I thought I understood middle school politics; I didn’t really believe Ricky would tattle! Not that Dash changeling him helped. I was not scared of a call home. We had a shared landline with a bunch of people in the rented house.
My parents aren’t home and they didn’t have any phone access at work. OH, and they didn’t speak English so I use to just translate whatever I wanted to them. Totally moot!
If I get detention, no one would know. Worst, I tell them I was at the library (which I would be anyway.)
The last thing, if they bring home a slip of note requiring a sign-off, I’ll forge a siggy like I do everything else already.
It turns out Ricky DID tattle. I was a bit surprised initially but later I pieced it together: EVERYBODY hates Dash.
Simple! It turns out, people, no matter what age, is capable of hating and plotting revenge on class bullies. He wasn’t just rude to me.
You see, our original science teacher left in the middle of the school year for a better private school district where he gets better pay, better students, better support, and fewer dum-dums like Dash interrupting class every 3.25 minutes.
For a good portion of the school year, we had substitute teachers one after another who couldn’t care less while the school scrambled to find suitable applicants.
The last one managed to stay around for almost a year (before leaving for a better private school in a better district, like most teachers).
Ms. Woods was the one that got the tattle from Ricky. She was 23 and fresh out of college. She still had those college party girl highlights and wearing lip gloss that made her look 18.
“I heard from an anonymous tipster that you have been doing homework for Dash, for money…is that true?”
“OK, well you know that’s not right, I can let you go this time but if this happens a second time, I will have to put this on your permanent record where colleges will see. Promise?”
“OK, you can go back to your seat.”
Well, that was that. Nothing came of it. Anytime someone says permanent record = hahahhahhhaha.
It could be Ms. Woods being nice or she didn’t care or even more likely she didn’t have much authority as a substitute teacher. She didn’t do anything to Dash either. Since substitute teachers are temps, they don’t get the administrative rights as real teachers. They’re more or less…glorified babysitters.
No lesson learned! Dash went back to not doing his homework and went around asking to copy homework. I went back to being poor. Ricky didn’t get jumped or beat up (that I know of.)
I do recall Dash saying to Ricky right after class the next day, “You’re a rat.”
“No I didn’t, I swear, I didn’t.” Ricky said back. (Even though just yesterday he swore he would tell.)
“Yeah? Who else?”
“I don’t know Dash, could be anyone. I didn’t do it.”
Dash turns towards me, “What do you think X?”
“I don’t care.”
I actually saw Ricky talk to Ms. Woods after class so…well, yeah I’m pretty sure it was him but I didn’t care enough to rat out the rat. I made enough money to get what I wanted so I’m done anyway and it was a quick end. I don’t quite remember but I think I made about $200 🙂
Those dollars really did add up every class, every day! Wish I knew about investing back then.
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Is It Wrong?
Nah, not to me. I can see why it’s wrong, I’m not crazy. But there’s another side to it that makes it that beautiful gray that I like. Here are the big arguments of why it seems wrong.
1. Cheating IS bad! Dash didn’t deserve his grade.
That would be the biggest argument here. Dash was getting a grade he didn’t deserve. But just because he had the homework doesn’t mean he was going to ace any exams or state tests without breaking out his books. He wasn’t going to because of the aforementioned idiotic priorities.
Woods didn’t even bother reversing the assignments Dash turned in but didn’t do. Literally, 0 forks given, it was too much work for a fill in. No one cares, there are bigger problems…because…you know…it’s 7th grade. Nothing came from it.
She didn’t want to stay as a public school teacher in San Freaking Expensicisco anyway.
Dash’s slightly better 7th-grade biology grade wasn’t going to trick Harvard into accepting him.
In the end, Dash did deserve his grade because of measures like exams and classroom behavior that has no easy copy and paste genies.
Today 2018, he is still trying to pass community college at the ripe age of 27 with an ever-growing fascination with Tokyo drifting, sports cars, and bikini models…but will never finance anything more than a run down Honda…anyone know the type of Asian wannabe hoodrats I’m talking about?
At least his pants are pulled up now, kinda.
2. It was unfair to other children who did do their homework.
Nah, the kids who wanted to do their homework will have done their homework. That’s called personal responsibility. You can drop a kid into the best school but you can’t make them learn. I took no knowledge away from him because he wasn’t going to learn it. Especially if they’re determined to dress and act like a wankster. Easily influenced, easily fooled, simple-minded Dash.
It didn’t depend on Dash, or me, or anyone — and the class was not graded on a curve. I will always encourage learning but I’m not stuffing learning down the throats of those who don’t want to. Why bother? If Dash can’t possess the mentality to push him past maturity, then let the nature of the world do its thing.
3. I robbed Dash of opportunities to learn.
First, he begged me to help him & I got paid. Freedom of choice. Second, Dash is determined to be a gangster. His motivation was zilch except social pressure to prove his gangster-ness. If I said no because of conscience, he’d ask someone else or continue not doing his homework (or barely), and I remain empty-pocketed.
What’s the fun in that? I had a market price for a skill and now it’s middle school business.
His goal was to rid himself of knowledge he didn’t want to learn anyway. MY goal was expanding my precious collection of Dahl books and movies. Wouldn’t you say I had my rights and opportunities to learn too and especially if I can make them happen?
4. Ricky could have gotten hurt for tattling.
Ricky was no hero, I know him enough to understand revenge disguised as a martyr.
He had ZERO moral qualms about homework trust me.
He just hated Dash like everyone else. Dash made fun of Ricky for needing a tutor because it meant he was ‘proven stupid.’ It was a bullseye on Rick’s feelings of insecurity. If a kid has a tutor = they’re stupid is the middle school logic. Little Rick has been fired for revenge ever since and he can’t stand Dash getting a possibly better grade without the work either.
No one liked Dash, he was 4 foot 10 and chubby. His fake homeboys included 2 other guys who were (somehow) even dumber and fatter. They’re all talk…because…well they’re wanksters. If you took them to Bayview (the real ghetto) they would wet their pants crying for mommy.
5. Doing it for money is especially wrong. You should have offered him tutoring instead.
Um…tell me how the heck this world worked again? I had a service, he had a problem. Profit!
The tutoring makes sense but he didn’t want to learn, that was the point. I could use my spare time to reach out and make him understand math…or I can just let the guy who picked on his peers…rot.
Like Rick, I was waiting for a kind of revenge myself. We had more in common thanks to the unification of hating Dash.
The only downside that I was caught. I could have made some more money to save up. I certainly would have appreciated that money more than Dashy boy.
Readers, do you think it’s wrong to do another person’s work for money? Is cheating on homework always bad? Have you ever done something borderline expellable in school?
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