The Sad Tale of the Plagiarizing Poet

The Sad Tale of the Plagiarizing Poet

Once there was a student named John whose teacher told him he had to write a bunch of poems. John didn’t like writing poems, but knew his teacher would give him a zero if he turned nothing in.

Every day in class they wrote poems, but John didn’t come to class every day, so he didn’t write any. After a couple weeks, the students were supposed to turn in at least eight poems they had written.

John had other things to do, so he got on the internet and found eight poems that someone else had written.

He told himself, “It’s just a bunch of silly poems. It’s not like it’s brain surgery or something. Besides, everybody cheats. That’s how people get ahead.”

John’s teacher realized that the poems weren’t written by him and gave him a zero.

John told him, “It’s only poetry. It’s not brain surgery. I haven’t hurt anyone, have I?”

“You’ve hurt yourself,” his teacher replied. And he gave him a lecture about plagiarism.

John had heard all this before. Still, he said to himself, “Copying assignments doesn’t hurt anyone. As long as I don’t get caught, I will continue plagiarizing because it’s much easier than working. Besides, everyone cheats.”

One day John got sick. He had a terrible headache and kept throwing up. After several hours of agony, he went to the emergency room. A doctor examined him and sent him for a cat scan.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor said when he saw the results. “It looks like you have a brain tumor. You’re going to need surgery.”

John was worried, but he had no choice. He would die if he didn’t have the operation.

As he lay on the operating table, the surgeon leaned over him and said, “Don’t look so worried, John. I may have cheated my way through medical school, but I’m googling ‘brain surgery’ right now. A lot of surgeons have done this operation before and I’m sure I can just use their instructions. After all, it’s only brain surgery.”

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