I believe in being completely honest. This began when I was a sophomore in high school. My history teacher had a poster with a picture of monkeys making funny faces and underneath it was a quote by Mark Twain that said, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” At the time these words didn’t mean much to me but for some reason they always stuck with me.
A few years after high school some friends and I thought that it would be reasonable to vandalize the house of a person that had wronged us once before. We reasoned that it was merely revenge and that this person deserved it. When we arrived at the house I did not partake in the devilish activities of leaving it spray painted with vulgarities, broken widows, an up-rooted garden, and trashed cars. I instead stayed in my car and acted as the getaway driver. When all was done I sped off thinking that revenge had been made and there is nothing to worry about.
Two weeks after the incident the police came knocking in my door. They came to question me about my involvement with the vandalized house. I panicked and made up a very detailed story about how I was with my girlfriend that night. The police believed me and went on further with their investigation. I took a deep sigh of relief and thought that I got away scot-free until they came back a couple of weeks later. They again asked about my involvement in the crime. I tried to tell them the same story that I told them before but I could not remember it.
It was right then and there that the monkeys popped into my head and a voice recited the Twain quote. These words could have never been so impacting to me then at that exact moment. It finally made me realize that the reason they stuck with me for so long is because that is the way I must live my life.
Ever since then, whenever a situation arises in which I feel the urge to lie I think about the monkeys. The image of their funny faces, along with the voice, pops out and compels me to be completely honest. I have noticed a drastic change in my life since I have began living honestly. I feel happier and more excited to live life. It as if the pressures of guilt have been lifted off of me and I am as light as feather; ready to peaceful float throughout life never having to worry about a thing again.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.