Nothing incriminating to reveal here, although I do kinda blow Rules 1 and 2 below.
Feels like almost since birth I have been counted on to keep secrets. Maybe everyone has. Hard to tell; the best of ’em never let on.
Whether it’s a lifetime of private romantic affairs, or watching a million dollars of contraband being cut up, weighed and bagged in your bedroom, or digging tunnels underground at night to circumvent OSHA, constructing bullet-proof aliases for assets, or, hell, lets even add going to second grade with your cereal-box Ped-ometer® hot-wired, to silence that tell-tale ‘click’, fearing its confiscation or theft by bullies, keeping secrets… yeah, it’s who I am. Without further ado:
Rule One: Never, ever, divulge the Truth. A kind of ‘duh’ foundation-premise. The devil, though is in the details, as usual.
Rule Two: Don’t even let on that you ‘have’ a secret. We could call this ‘Poker-face 101’. Prepare, in advance, diversionary talking-points for when you feel threatened. Both to lead the adversary astray, and equally, to keep your own mind and facial expression off the subject.
Rule Three: The toughest one. Learn to portray yourself widely as a simple-minded dumb-fuck, to whom no one in his or her right mind would share anything worthy of confidence.
And therein we have The Problem. I am nothing if not a machine on two legs which thrives emotionally on his public image as a quick-witted, over-endowed thinker. ‘Smart enough to pretend convincingly to be stoopid’; sounds easy on paper; I cain’t seem to pull it off well these days.
I could go on about Technique: Dirtying ones hands believably before using the ‘flat-tire’ excuse for lateness, the standard Scotch-tape on the door-frame, raking the sand smooth, ready for footprints, behind yourself on every exit, carefully checking sight-lines, work-habits, plate numbers…
One small agricultural test-plot here might raise questions; I’m undecided between using
A) “Hmm.. looks like whoever farmed here before had some monkey-business on the side.”
B) “Yeah, that’s a rare Purple Aster, it’s called ‘Mock-cannabis’, whatever that means.”
Or C) “I’ve never seen Okra come up looking like that. Think I oughta ask for my money back?”
I’ll decide, when the time comes, in extremis I guess. The truth, ‘not for me, for a friend’, only makes things worse, I hear. And greenery is only a small side-show among my challenges.
One could say that eternal vigilance keeps you on your toes. Pins and needles is perhaps more accurate. The little pricks and wounds sometimes become infected.
But the newly-understood down-side, and why I chose to write this, is that ceaseless fabrication relentlessly drives out true memory, especially at my advanced age. I am currently working over-time trying to remember and reconstruct every possible detail of my life with the dear girl pictured in the last post, and I find myself repeatedly ‘remembering’ vignettes, only to realize that they are/were, in fact, tactical cover-stories, useful at the time and then not cleanly erased.
‘JB’, a dear friend and successful ‘merchant’ in his day, once revealed one of his tricks: ‘Tell a guy three things he already knows, in ‘confidence’, so to speak, and he’ll almost always knee-jerk tell you something you didn’t know.’ It worked well for him.
He also told me once : “You couldn’t do what I do.”, without explaining exactly why not. Hurt my feelings at the time, but I may now be starting to understand. Nothing, no earthly reward, is, for me, worth the price of presenting myself as a clue-less out-of-the-loop player. It goes against my grain, and he sensed that.
Wu: Readers are lining up as we speak to play against you in poker, knowing now that they’ll see your current hand reflected in your eyes.
Me: Aw, I’m working on it, Wuzie. Practicing once again in a mirror.
Wu: But your heart’s not in it anymore, right?
Me: What heart?