Sometimes deep down inside Thieves with PhDs are astute enough to realize that what they’re doing is intrinsically wrong. However, thankfully, most of the time inheritance heisters are more adept at suppressing and perverting the truth and by doing so manage to artfully scam even themselves.
Self-scamming is a good thing because malfeasance coupled with heart felt contrition is not a good mix, especially if there’s pallet full of money to be pilfered.
If an inheritance heister has committed himself or herself to a slow crawl toward a big pay off, the last thing they need is self-reproach rearing its ugly head causing second thoughts right before they’re safely across the finish line.
Yet despite the best of efforts, unfortunately, sometimes good planning and delusionary self-convincing can go awry, especially if ambushed by an annoying set of deep-seated scruples.
Take for instance if the relic-ative you’ve stolen from falls ill, is in need of 24-hour care, but is totally impoverished thanks to your overseeing their long-term care funds. What do you do? If you give back the money because you feel sorry, in a way you’re admitting you knew taking it in the first place wasn’t the right thing to do.
So whatever you do, always follow the Thieves with PhDs Golden Rule which stresses: Self-control and never, no matter what, ever return purloined money. Restoring missing funds to a depleted bank account is a dead give away (no pun intended) that you’re aware you’ve done something wrong. So at all costs resist the urge.
If you’re struggling, it’s always best to stem the tide with a tried-and-true conscience easing trick. Tell yourself you really want, and should, give the money back. Then, put off returning that pile of pesos for at least one week.
Repeat the exercise every week and, if need be, do it for months. Procrastinating may buy you time and with any luck Auntie Diluvian will join the fossil record and after she does, it’s off with the kids for a couple of weeks in Dinosaur World where cotton candy and petting a dilophosaurus should cancel out all traces of residual remorse.
Worse than give back guilt, hopefully, there’s no next of kin standing between you and the money. Third parties pose an even bigger problem, especially if the person happens to be kind, loving and above reproach and you, try as you might to deny it, know deep down that that’s the case.
Having to make the good guy a bad guy could produce formidable misery. Someone like, oh… let’s say a church going cousin, or maybe a relative who if you didn’t wangle the old fogy into conferring everything to you would be the rightful legatee.
It would be a lot easier to legally and financially stick-up overweight, beer-swilling, wife beating freaks. But, if by chance gramps had early signs of dementia and you were able to agree with, or persuade pops that sonny boy was a cad, when you knew full well he really wasn’t, that could, thanks to guilt ridden nights, make you miss the train to work where you selflessly help the helpless.
In that case, unless you can recall memories when cuz’scribbled with a yellow Crayola crayon on your black patent-leather Easter shoes in 1964 , or stuck his tongue out at dear old mom, behind her back, over dessert, you may be in a bit of a penitency pickle.
Three years after you deposited the lion share of the legal tender into your bank account, who needs some disenfranchised loser’s face coming to mind when you’re spinning around on the dance floor with a frosty Pina Colada splashing all over Hector? Who, when they’re about to dive into the pool at an exclusive hotel, needs to see a flickering reflection in the water of the dumb sap you did wrong.
Who wants to spend their whole life feeling like they’re trapped in regret for past sins and lusts. Not you. So if conscience threatens to put a damper on the festivities, don’t let it, remember the poignant quote from The Picture of Dorian Gray, where someone just like you sold their soul to the devil:
The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Remember that the Thieves with PhDs temptation you yielded to was justified. It was either you or them – self-preservation or self-sacrifice – one or the other.
If you’re feeling pangs of compunction, keep remembering, with all that money just crying to be taken, no way could you have resisted. Even the honest son of your benefactor, the one who never took advantage of his parents, if you didn’t get there first, likely had plans to empty the family safety deposit box when Mom was on life support.
Truth is, if Oscar Wilde was right and you resisted temptation, your soul would have grown sicker than it already is. You would have longed for the forbidden things and desired what you managed to acquire, which is an 18 wheeler full of coinage not originally designated for your use.
But nonetheless, you did it; you yielded to that which ‘monstrous laws’ have made ‘monstrous and unlawful.’
But regardless, whether you are guilt ridden or not, you did manage to do something, even the people you pinched would have to admit is downright respectable, which is: you managed to make off with all the money a father worked for all his life and hoped to leave to his son and by doing so you successfully defied those ‘monstrous laws’ that make plundering someone’s monetary heritage, vicious and unlawful.
That aside, for that feat alone you deserve a big round of applause and as a reward you should push the image of those you wronged out of your head, spend a few of those stolen dollars and commission a conscience-easing portrait of yourself that, over time, will reveal to the world, as well as yourself, the real you.