One time when I was six or seven years old, my family took a quick trip to our corner drugstore. Obviously, we did this more than just that one time, but this story is about a particularly significant trip. We must have needed something urgently, because everyone on a budget knows you don’t shop at a drugstore unless you have an emergent need. So there we were, on the hunt for something—my parents, my sister, my cousin and I. As is the case with all our family adventures, a bit of controlled chaos ensued. My parents were trying to check everything off their list, my sister was asking for snacks, and my cousin was trying to entertain the both of us.
We finally made it through the aisles and my parents started to pay for everything. I was rummaging through the candy racks, because I can’t stand to wait in lines. At the bottom of the rack, I saw a broken candy package. A few things went through my mind in quick succession. First, “that looks delicious.” Second, “my parents will never buy me candy like this.” Third, “no one else will want this, because it’s already opened.” And, finally, the nail in my criminal coffin, “I might as well just take this.” I was so good at justifying bad behavior as a child. (Never as an adult though, duh.)
I grabbed one teeny tiny piece and stuck it in my mouth. It was red and tasted like sweet, sweet danger. I slipped the rest of it in my pocket.
I pulled the candy out again once we were in the backseat of the car and offered some to my cousin. Being older and having a stronger moral code regarding thievery, she was appalled. She asked me where I got it and, after hearing my answer, told me I had to throw it away. I thought about how incredibly wasteful that seemed, but when I popped another piece into my mouth, it tasted terrible. I felt so guilty, I threw the rest out the window. I was just happy she didn’t rat me out.
I learned one important lesson that day. Dishonesty makes everything taste bad.