2012-08-16 / Lifestyles

Good for the soul

Lois A. Corcoran

As I waxed on about the importance of integrity, it occurred to me that I preached to the choir. My son possesses far more of that virtue than his parents.

Still, I continued to lecture and as I did, a long suppressed memory invaded my thoughts.

Two decades ago, I worked as a secretary for a firm that boasted modern, state-of-the-art equipment. My favorite, hands-down, was a super dooper, top-of-the-line photocopier. It reduced, enlarged, collated and, I’m fairly certain, washed dishes as well.

While it’s primary function was to duplicate our clients’ important documents, it also served as a source of entertainment for partners and crew alike.

This was years before Photoshop, and when the spirit moved us, we’d literally “cut and paste” to make copies of co-workers’ faces with, say, Elvis’s body. Employees could also reproduce more boring fare like the occasional recipe, etc.

It happened that I worked on a personal project during that era and felt a deep need to duplicate it. So I spent my lunch breaks in front of that mammoth machine. And by the time I finished, I’d copied a few hundred pages.

It was wrong and I knew it but did it anyway, all the while peering around to avoid being discovered.

When the memory of that deed surfaced periodically over the years, I managed to sweep it under the rug. That is, until the aforementioned integrity discussion. Suddenly, it reared its ugly head and refused to be dismissed.

My son listened attentively as I relayed my indiscretion.

“...And I’ve felt guilty ever since,” I told him. “Why, I’ve got half a mind to apologize and give them back their paper.”

“Why don’t you?” he said.

My mind reeled as the question hung in the air. Are you nuts?, I thought. You want me to humble myself in front of my former employer?

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. So I bought a ream of paper – double what I swiped, but fair considering accrued interest – and made my way to town.

I finally worked up my courage after all these years, only to find the office nearly empty, the Powers That-Be gone. So I left my peace offering and e-mailed my confession.

And made peace with my long lost integrity.

Return to top


Do you agree with the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioner's decision not to support the DNR land acquisition in Hiawatha Township?