I was at my favorite convenience store a couple of weeks ago. Since I’m in there almost every day, I’ve gotten to know the manager. She told me she found a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill while preparing her cash drop for the bank.
I asked her how she knew it was a fake. She said, “It just didn’t feel right.”
She handed it to me. It looked fine, but like she said, it just didn’t feel right. I can’t explain it exactly, but after handling the genuine article for so long it’s easy to tell when something doesn’t feel right.
If we mixed in and handled enough of those counterfeit bills, after a while, we might get to where we couldn’t tell the difference—or even know which one was real to begin with.
It’s the same with our attitudes, outlooks, and actions. When we react in a way we know is wrong, even if we get away with it, it just doesn’t feel right. We know it.
Counterfeit money is illegal, plus it harms the overall economy. A counterfeit person is perhaps even worse. It’s not illegal, necessarily, but it’s a crime nevertheless, a crime against ourselves and those who are counting on us. And we’re not fooling anyone, at least not anyone who is familiar with the real thing.
Like our old pal, Shakespeare, said via Polonius in Hamlet: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”