Yolanda de Lucchi, a law professor at Spain’s University of Malaga, recently shared photos on her Twitter account showing the most impressive exam cheating attempt she had ever encountered. One of her students tried to cheat on a law final by etching the criminal procedure law on eleven BIC pens. You can see what the pens looked like up close above. Here they all are:
If the student had put half the time into studying the material that he devoted to his baroque cheating technique, he wouldn’t have needed to cheat anyway. I was immediately put in mind of several Ripley’s “Believe it or Not!” oddities involving meticulous engravings of text on grains of rice, like this one, featuring the Lord’s Prayer:
It strikes me that cheaters who put such effort and creativity into cheating are prey to a peculiar unethical mindset: they view cheating as a challenge rather than a necessity, and see it as art or competition rather than unethical conduct. In this weird category I’d place the MIT students who tried to pull off an elaborate card-counting scheme at Vegas casinos, some of the more gifted art forgers, incorrigible swindlers (some of whom we may never have discovered), hackers, and maybe even Barry Bonds, an already great baseball player bound for the Hall of Fame—a man who cheated because he could, and because it would make him even greater than he already was.
The most sinister example of this phenomenon probably was the murder team of Nathan Leopold and Dickie Loeb, two brilliant young men who decided to commit a random murder to prove that they were smarter than the police. Ironically—if there can be anything funny about the horrible story, this is it—one of them dropped his expensive, custom-made eyeglasses at the scene of the crime, police quickly traced them to their owner, and the young men were caught almost immediately.
As with Leopold and Loeb, the brilliant BIC-engraver’s scheme failed too. He was caught, and flunked. But he can take solace in the words of Salvador Dali, who said, “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”
Pointer: Oddity Central