family is story

I’m a Cheater

I'm a Cheater

Currently, I am the reigning Dominoes champion at our weekly game with the retired neighbors across the street.

Charles and Pat are a wonderful couple who have warmly welcomed Nathan and me into their home each week for dinner and Dominoes.

For the first four or five weeks of this come-to-be-ritual, I lost to the sum of hundreds of points. I was often the worst, or the second worst, player of the four of us. It was discouraging.

Then, about a month ago, I hit my stride. I strategized. I focused. I paid careful attention. I grabbed opportunities. And I barely lingered in second place before establishing my recent domination in the top spot.

The first week that I won first place, I won it by one point. The second week, I won first place by less than 10 points. The third week . . . I cheated.

See, I was ahead the whole game—by a comfortable margin. But during one round, one of the final rounds (the game is 13 rounds, double 12s to double 0s), I questioned my husband’s move. He was about to lay down a tile on a spot that I needed in order to go out on the next time it came to me. There were two spots available for Nathan to play. When he went to put his tile down on the particular spot that I needed, I asked, “Are you sure?” He considered moving it for me and asked Charles and Pat if they cared. They said they didn’t. Pat actually said, “We’ll leave it up to her.” To which I replied, “Okay!” quickly snatching up Nathan’s game piece and moving it to the other spot so I could unload a tile.

And for the rest of the night, I felt weird. I had cheated. Pat’s statement of leaving it up to me was a calling for me to step up to integrity, or step down to dishonor and cheating. I stepped down. It was just a game, and rather than trust my ability to overcome a blocked move, I manipulated the outcome.

When I looked over the final scores, with mine at the top, I realized that, had I lost that round of Dominoes, I still would’ve won the game by a few points. I didn’t even need to win that round to win the night. I can’t help but feel like I lost that night, after all.

Have you ever cheated or taken a shortcut on something that was somewhat insignificant? How did it feel? Did you make an attempt to set things right?

©2013 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.