Integrity can be defined as ‘doing the right thing when no one is watching.’ I am put in mind of the time when one simple act popped on my moral lightbulb: late in the eve as I left my office, I was clearly the last one out as I traversed the hall, reading last few lines of a bulletin on the company parking policy that I carried with me as I walked. Satisfied with the read, and anxious to start my weekend, I crumpled the bulletin and attempted a hook-shot at the last waste basket near the exit.

As the automatic sliding door opened for me, and the buildings HVAC over-pressure nudged me out into the night, the crumple bounced from the rim of the basket. I turned my head to the dark as I stepped out… and I heard the flat ‘plops’ of wadded paper hit the floor, rather than sonorous tin of the freshly voided waste basket.

“La-la-la, I heard nothing… tum tum-dee-dum!” …weekend, here I come!

“Sigh,” I paused in disgust, rolled my eyes and card-swiped myself back into the secure building. I stood glaring down in disdain at the balled bulletin, floored a scant foot from the basket goal. I flipped it in. Gazing down the yawning hall as the lights went to half power for the weekend, it dawned on me that I may indeed have a shred of integrity. That, or I was truly affected with a major strain of OCD. “I’ll take the former for $1000.00, Alex.”

That ‘moment of clarity,’ whether imaginary or truly perceived, would make many return visits to me, posturing itself in my conscious, with hands on hips, one toe tapping, and the stern look of a mother to a son whose bed was not yet made. “Pick up the crumpled piece of paper Geo,” would resonate in my head at recurring intervals.

Did I check the chamber of my weapon as required to ensure it was clear? Bah, no need; I’m quite sure it is clear. “Pick up the crumpled paper, Geo.” Right, right, right… and I check chamber—all clear.

Did I brush my teeth this evening before bed? Fogettabouttit; I haven’t missed a day in years, and all I had was soup anyway; soup doesn’t get stuck between your teeth. “Pick it up, Geo; pick up the wad of paper.” Aw, Jesus… and a brushing we do go.

Shall I identify individual targets to minimize collateral damage, or spray and pray, because everything to my front deserves to die anyway? “Pick it up, GDI, PICK IT UP!”
Look, squeeze, BANG… look, squeeze, BANG. Never before did a wadded up company bulletin about parking POVs (1) ever have such a marked influence on an individual.