i don't remember the particulars of this story, as it happened some 20 years ago, but i will say it as i see it.
i was in first grade in nevada, iowa. we came in from recess and the teacher [who's name i do not remember] called us all together, because something had been stolen. she asked who did it. no one responded, and so i raised my hand and said that i did it.
why did i do that? i didn't steal whatever was missing.
i think it was because someone had to take the blame for it, and i figured i would. it just seemed like the best way to aleviate the problem and move on.
it didn't occur to me until later that the teacher may have known who the culprit really was, because she looked at me with some surprise and said, 'jeff, did you really do it?'
'no.' i put my hand down.
whatever gene or wrinkle in my brain that causes such a response from me has remained, as i see evidences of it in me to this day.