“The Guy in the Glass” was first published in the American Magazine in 1934 in answer to a readers question to the Editor: “Why he should be honest”. The authors descendants have a website that discusses the origin of the poem and it’s proper original wording.
The Guy in the Glass
Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf*,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgment upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.
*Pelf is an Old English word for money or wealth regarded with contempt or acquired by reprehensible means.