After such an inflammatory blog title, I should add that there are plenty of times it is not ok to cheat as well. Yet, in the absence of any truth with a capital “T” in the big black void of existence, it can be confusing knowing just when exactly it is ok to cheat. So rather than succumbing to a fit of existential despair at the meaninglessness of it all, I invite you to think of this post as a handy checklist of just when exactly it IS ok to cheat!
Generally you don’t want to cheat when it comes to your personal fitness. The whole point of going to the gym is to lose weight, gain muscle or gain strength. Any cheating done at the gym will only hamper your progress towards your goals.
This is especially true for weight lifting. So, you, over there, touch your chest with that bar! Get that full range of motion! You on the squat rack, all the way down! You want to work your hamstrings too don’t you!? Now, I don’t want to say you should never cheat at weights. Oftentimes, it is impossible to do an impressive amount of weight without cheating. So, in some rare cases it is acceptable to bounce that bar off your chest, do those reps quickly, use poor form, lift with your back and not go all the way down in your attempts to impress those around you. Be aware that this will not fool many people though and will most often make you look like a…fool. Trust me on this one.
Abdominal crunches are a special case that can be situational. Again, usually you do crunches to strengthen/tone your abdominal muscles. So any cheating in your technique is going to defeat the purpose of your exercise. But, for those of you who play sports (I know this from my years of wrestling); practices usually end with some final round of conditioning exercises (often including a great deal of crunches). Now, if you have grappled hard for the last couple of hours, you really don’t need to do any more working out, so in this case, cheating on your crunches just makes sense. It’s all about positioning yourself at the correct angle to the coach, exaggerating your arm and head movement without actually lifting your upper back off the mat and of course making the requisite grunting sounds. Practice at home and next time you hear the coach say “crunches!” relax and remember that it really means “break time!”
This is a tricky one. On the one hand, if you pull it off you won’t really have to do any studying beforehand, buy any books or even attend class to maintain a nice GPA and get your degree. On the other, you won’t actually learn anything, and if you get caught the consequences could be dire. So should you cheat on tests? You gotta know, but for those gamblers out there stuck in a major they don’t care about that just want to get their degree already, I have taken the liberty to outline some of the main concepts:
Cheat sheets, while useable in a pinch are probably your least desirable option. Not only are they unwieldy to use, but they are also hard evidence of your evildoing. But if you have to, the following tips will help:
– Make sure you write them with a non lead based pencil since you may well end up having to swallow your cheat sheet if things go south.
– A cheat sheet on half a sheet of typing paper surreptitiously inserted into the pages of your test booklet is probably the hardest to detect–hide those things in plain sight! You can often get away with having a whole semester’s worth of notes hidden inside your bluebook if you trim off the margins.
– Taped upside down on the inside of the bottom flap of a button down shirt is an option with a bit more style that can work just as well.
A simpler and more direct method is to copy another person’s test. This is also much safer as people rarely get kicked out of school for straying eyes. Before even attempting this method, you will need above average peripheral vision and slightly longer hair to cover your roving eyes (especially if you attempt it on anything other than a multiple choice test) since even in today’s overcrowded classrooms, the professors tend to spread students out on test day. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips:
– Do your prep work! Make sure you go to class at least a few times and find that guy or gal who answers all the questions. Scan the homework when it is returned and see who is getting the highest grades. Come test day, show up a bit early with a few candidates in mind. When they show up follow them in and grab a good seat diagonally behind them. This is the most important step; no one wants to accidentally copy the test of the only guy who got a 34% when the next lowest grade is an 84% just because they didn’t have a game plan on test day. That can look a bit suspicious and will make you the worst cheater in the world.
– Don’t copy the test exactly! Make sure you change a few answers. If you have done the first step correctly, the person shouldn’t miss too many questions, but if you have been paying attention in class you can probably answer a few that they might not know. So read the questions and answer the ones you think you know–you might even get a better grade than your mark!
– Copy, compare and evaluate multiple tests if you can. It always helps to pull your answers from the largest sampling of tests possible. Practice staring at small objects in the distance out of the corners of your eyes to improve your peripheral vision if the task of reading all the tests around you in a 10 foot radius becomes too daunting.
Finally, there are more extravagant methods of cheating. Call in sick to an important final (make sure to get a doctor’s note! Food poisoning is a good one for the campus medical center if you have to…few teachers can say no to “explosive diarrhea”), have a friend show up to steal a copy of the test for you when they pass out tests (if the class is large enough) and then make a cheat sheet for the make-up test in the professor’s office (they’ll never expect cheating there!). Be creative, there are many more ways to cheat just waiting to be discovered out there!
Bottom line, there is nothing wrong with taking the cheating road to a college degree. No one else can really complain; after all, they didn’t risk getting kicked out of school and they actually learned a few things too. So just who is the real winner after all?
Let’s start with video games since it is a tricky one. Video games are designed to be a challenge, but they are also huge wastes of time. So typing in a cheat code or two might be just what you need to get to the end of the game without wasting hundreds of hours trying to beat the boss at the end of level 7. Also, the very existence of these cheat codes in the game itself seems to indicate that they are “inside the system” and therefore acceptable to use. The whole thing is very confusing. There is at least one case where cheating is undoubtedly acceptable though. That would be for grade school sleepovers. Who doesn’t have fond memories of renting a game genie and then staying up all night walking through double dragon on invincible mode with a friend?
Board games are another story however. The whole point of playing a board game with a group of people (aside from socializing) is so that you can all match wits under a universal set of rules. Basically, board games and calling shotgun are the only two instances where social contract applies. As soon as one person cheats, the entire system fails and there is no point for the other people to play the game. So, again, if you are going to play a board game, what you are really doing is attempting to manipulate a specific rule set to your favor. The whole thing becomes an exercise in pointlessness at the moment you put yourself outside the system.
On the other hand, if you are unbeaten against that snotty neighbor kid in over 200 games of Risk, and the current game is not going well…in that case, do what you have to do.
Finally, when you decide to play any game for money with strangers then all bets are off (to pardon the pun). Contrary to popular belief, there is no binding social contract in the game of life (the real one, not the lame board game), which means that there is nothing that is outside “the system” when it comes to gambling. Of course there is a minor downside of people not liking it when others don’t play by the rules and end up taking all their money. Also the people who are in the gambling business are usually not the kind of people you want to piss off. So as long as you don’t mind potentially getting your thumbs broken or getting gut-shot, go right ahead!
One of the most common uses of the word “cheat” involves messing around on your significant other without their knowledge. At the point at which you enter into a relationship with someone you are assuming a mutual compact of trust. So once again, to break that trust is to make the whole thing moot so why be in the relationship in the first place? Of course for those who just have to start something new while keeping the old thing going, that is fine. There is nothing wrong with being a sociopath; you just might have to do without that minor little thing called “real human companionship” in life. Like all forms of cheating, there is usually a price…this one just happens to be a little worse than “gutshot” and it happens even if you don’t get caught.
This is the one thing you always want to cheat. Smoke for 50 years? You should be dead, so if you are still alive I can only pat you on the back and say “nice job cheating!” Pretty self explanatory really. Also if you find yourself forced to play a game of chess with death try to talk him out of it. Chess is really hard to cheat at (though it would be acceptable since playing for your life falls in the gambling category). See if he would be up for a stomach crunch competition instead.
So, let’s sum up. Cheating IS NOT ok when it comes to weight lifting (most of the time), games (unless they involve gambling, video games or the snotty neighbor kid), and personal relationships. Cheating IS ok (provided your friends are not involved and with varying degrees of bad consequences should you get caught) when it comes to: academics, gambling, the snotty neighbor kid and death. Cheating can SOMETIMES be ok when it comes to video games and abdominal crunches. Hope all this helped!