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August 10 2019

Everybody does it.

That’s what we tell ourselves when we bend the rules. Everybody fibs about their weight, daily alcohol consumption, and favorite novel. (It’s never really Moby-Dick.) Everybody shades the truth on Tinder profiles and tax returns. In certain Zip Codes, we can almost understand how some parents persuade themselves that it’s O.K. to bribe a college-admissions officer: everybody else in Calabasas is greasing their child’s way into U.S.C. on a made-up varsity letter in lacrosse; they’d be saps to hold back. And let’s face it, anybody worth more than $50 million eventually claims a Florida residence—and not for the weather.

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