The Honour System

Whyadda y’all think about The Honour System?

Here’s how my good friend Merriam-Double-U defines it:

a system (as at a college) whereby persons are trusted to abide by the regulations (as for a code of conduct) without supervision or surveillance

I think it’s great.  I dropped off a bag of crushed beer cans at The Beer Store yesterday, and the guy behind the counter asked, “How Many?”  I told him the number and he gave me my deposit.  No questions asked.  Honour.  Trust.

In the summer, I frequently take a journey to a family cottage, located in my old stomping grounds.  On the way, there is a country road in the middle of nowhere.  On that road, there is a long driveway.  At the foot of that long driveway, there is a sign that says, “Pop $1”.  Beside that sign are a small box with a slot in it and a cooler (I presume full of sugary, carbonated drinks).  There are no cameras.  No drone surveillance.  No one watching.  Just the honour system.

I just noticed it’s 2:22 PM.  This is a special number for me.  I see it all the time.  To me, it means I’m on the right track.

Today I noticed I’m ten followers shy of one-hundred on NotSheepMinded.  Just like 222 tells me I’m on track, a growing number of followers tells me that blogging the days away might be more than just a waste of time.  I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could hit one hundred by the end of the weekend?”

Maybe with the help of the honour system, I can.

So here we go.  This remainder of this blog post is like the can of delicious Mountain Dew in the icy water of the roadside cooler.  It’s all yours, but pushing the follow button is the Loonie you put in the slotted box.

For those not living in Canada, a Loonie = a one-dollar coin.  It’s called that because instead of displaying some cool all-seeing-eye/pyramid/Illuminati symbols, the back side just shows a loon floating in the water.  A loon is like a duck.

So if you believe in the honour system, follow my blog and I will tell you a story.  If you’re already a follower, thank-you.  You truly are the reason I get out of bed every day.  Without you, I would be getting black-out drunk while solving Rubik’s Cubes in my pyjamas all day.

As an added bonus, I will give you a link to a hilarious video about the honour system,  with the caveat that it might not play in your region.

Without further ado, here is my story:

Ontario, Canada.  January of let’s say 2006 or 2007.  It’s cold.  The snow is deep.  The ice is thick.  A Black Sheep calls in sick to work.  He’s not in the mood for any work nonsense today.

The Black Sheep’s girlfriend follows his lead.  She doesn’t want to work while he sits around solving Rubik’s Cubes in his pyjamas all day.

They decide to take a drive.  A four-hour-long drive.  To the middle of nowhere.  To a National Park that is frequented in the summertime, but barely used in the winter.  They travel North along barren highways until they arrive at their destination.

They park the car and get out.  The camp registration booth is boarded up.  Their tire tracks in the day-old snow are the only evidence of human existence.

They go to enter the park and encounter a sign that says day-use visitors must pay five dollars.  No guards.  No gates.  Just a request to please pay.  Beside a slotted box, some envelopes to record some basic information on, and a chain that used to tether a pen to the box before it was torn off.

With no one around, it would have been easy to sashay on into the park without paying, but they believed in the honour system, so they walked back to the car, found five bucks and a pen to fill in the envelope.

Was skipping work, driving four hours, paying five bucks, and hiking a couple kilometres into the bush worth it?

A picture speaks a thousand words:


Now as promised, here is a link to that video about the honour system that may or may not work in your region:

Norm MacDonald SNL Skit – The Honour System

5 thoughts on “The Honour System

  1. This reminds me of an article I once read about a fridge at an institution of higher learning where you could buy soda for $1. It was not on the honor system. The fridge was locked.

    This institution of higher learning in question was … a seminary. (A university for pastors!)

    The reason: At seminaries, they understand human nature. They have this little doctrine called The Fall of Man. Which means they realize that even seminary students, if they are allowed to take a soda now and pay later, will eventually rationalize that since no one is checking up on them, the seminary must not care all that much and must intend to give the soda away for free. Pastoral students = Big Fat Sinners.

    I like the honor system. It’s a compliment when someone puts you on it. But I think it works best for short-term or occasional stuff, like the national park. If the honor system is being used for something you access every day, like a soda while studying, there’s this sort of erosion of people’s honesty that happens over time.

    And I think this especially applies to food. Food is really hard to resist, and for some reason, many of us have a feeling that, really, it ought to be free.

    Great skit, by the way. I’m sure that’s what all the tests are like at seminary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You see numbers, too, huh? I see a lot of 11s and 34s.

    The honor system is for honorable people just like laws are written for the honest.

    We have some local farmers that put produce sheds at the end of their driveways. Prices are on the produce, and eggs, and they are cheaper than the stores. People still steal from them. Some have put up cameras. If you can afford a brand new car and fancy clothes, you can pay for the eggs & tomatoes you just stole. And, smile. We got your license plate number.

    I wouldn’t dare. I grew up on a small farm. I know how hard it is to work.

    Gorgeous picture.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s