Monday, February 16, 2009

How To Be A Con Man (Cliff Notes Version)

Currently, I am reading the book "The Big Con" circa 1940. Apparently some linguistics professor wanted to study the vernacular of grifters and like a cheap movie plot he became completely captivated by the world of the con man. He writes very glowingly of their exploits and is adept at translating the swindles into readable stories. What's funny though is that this little book apparently has been a secret Hollywood source book for years. Stuff I'm reading in here has been ripped off verbatim for everything from "The Sting" to "Alias Smith and Jones" to God knows what else. Interesting to see those kind of cons actually were pulled off in real life. But I digress.

Heyes and Curry!

There are certain realities to life that many either do not admit or have the capacity to know. (Bear in mind, everyone has the capacity to be honest). Con men are old souls, they've been through what you're going through many lifetimes ago. That's what gives them their edge. And with that greater knowledge of the needs of the human soul and the workings of the human mind, one's self-deceptions provide fertile grounds for their cons. Their livelihoods exist in the shadows of the human ego.

Con men hear conversations differently than we do. They know that every human life must have a direction, either thriving or dying. Below is a short list of key words and their opposites. By listening to your use of these words - or even by your avoidance of them - a con man can strip you naked and spot the areas where you're most vulnerable:

Love - Silence
Hate - Expressing
Liberal - Political
Conservative - Mature
Kinky - Healing
Straight - Revealing
Useful - Used
Abused - Growing
Rage - Tears
Dreams - Lies
Religion - Reality
Integrity - Bribery
Interesting - Fleeing
Sexy - Cowardly
Clingy - Confident
Warm - Passionless

So as a con man do I want to approach a sexy lady as a mark? Heck no! Her nerve could very easily be my undoing. But the clingy one has fear and that can be used against her (she will most likely call her weakness a strength in a relationship). Religion is a direct disinterest in reality and you can find some really juicy pigeons there (but you must know how to define religion). But there are also certain degrees of self-deception. Here are three broad categories:

1. "There's no such thing as the truth!"
2. "I sure do wish I could do better..."
3. "Only dummies tell the truth!"

Group 1: Low hanging fruit there! Agree with everything they say and they'll end up spreading their legs like a two dollar whore.
Group 2: Realizes the concept of truth but is seduced by the idea of wishful thinking. Make them think their wishful thinking is real. That's their irresistable dream.
Group 3: Liars always think lying makes them smart (Hello A-Fraud!). Show them you's a dumb ass moron what don't know no better. The more the liar feels he is in control, the more in control you really are.

There's also such a thing as Mirror Questions (and also Mirror People and Mirror Issues). It's just like holding up a mirror and having the person tell you what they see. For example, I'll get nowhere asking a woman what she thinks of her husband if she wants to project a happy marriage ("Oh, he's wonderful!"). But what if I ask what her opinion of men is? ("Men don't communicate well. They really need to grow up." "Oh, you got that right, chile! Tell me all about it.") Cognitive dissonance is a con man's gold!

So have I ruined the game for the con man here? Not at all! This is due to the Peter Principle. But here's a good little axiom to remember: the difference between a wise man and a fool is the wise man knows he's a fool. There's people out there who know a whole lot more about the truth than you do...

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