Cheaters never win

By now we’ve watched Melania Trump’s speech from Monday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

And we’ve all analyzed it. Dissected it. Lampooned it.

And we’ve all made some sort of hot take regarding the consensus belief that Melania Trump, the wife of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, may have ripped off Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Some consider the evidence circumstantial. New Jersey governor Chris Christie claims that “93 percent” of the speech was original content.

Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson told The Hill:

“These are values, Republican values by the way, of hard work, determination, family values, dedication and respect, and that’s Melania Trump. This concept that Michelle Obama invented the English language is absurd.”

Re-read that quote. No, it’s not from The Onion. The Hill is a respected D.C. publication.

But with the furor surrounding Melania Trump’s speech, a former high school classmate of mine brought up a point:

“… spoiled girls are notorious for copying off the smart girls who actually do the work. It’s who they are. She probably doesn’t even get why people are upset.”

And it made me think of an instance from the fall of 1993, my senior year of high school.

I was sitting behind two of the “popular” girls in a school assembly and watched as one girl handed the other a manila envelope for a college-level class. The other opened the folder, looked at the paper … and began copying everything her friend wrote onto her own loose-leaf paper.

No wonder all those girls got good grades! They all were doing the same work! While many of us were juggling our grades, sports, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs and college applications, these two girls gamed the system, in front of many of their classmates.

And in witnessing it, we were complicit. I was complicit.

I’m all for the “old girls network” but do it the right way. The fair way. Don’t go pulling strings for each other while stabbing other people in the back.

I know who you are. I saw everything that happened. I have no qualms about telling the story. I can tell you their names, the class they cheated in, the color of their hair, the sports they played, the clubs they were in and what they were wearing that day. And I sort of regret not ratting them out.

And it completely proved my friend’s statement from earlier today.

So anybody who cheats? The world knows. And people don’t forget.

And if all the “cool kids” or those “popular girls” from high school want to come back and skewer me for telling the truth? Whatever. Fine. Do it. It can’t be any worse than the way you treated people 20 years ago.

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