#7,788- Teach Your Sons To Cheat

Let me first say that I include daughters in this Step, but having the title gender specific just sounds better.  Firemen, not fire fighters.  Just works better for me in my brain.  So yes, also teach your daughters to cheat.

On face value, this seems to go against most of the points I’ve made, so, allow me (and forgive me) to use an excellent quote by one of our more intelligent Presidents to make my point:

‘In matters of style, swim with the current;  In matters of principle, stand like a rock.’
-Thomas Jefferson

It’s pretty clear what he is saying, but not perhaps how I am using that in reference to this step.  In fact, back when I wrote about step number 2,335 (Play Sports Not Like a Dick), I seemed to completely contradict this step.

But that’s why I’m using President Jefferson to make my point.  On matters of principle, yes god damnit, your ideas and way of conducting yourself should be set in stone.  You should not cheat while playing sports.  Sports are one of the last great tests of honor left to people in this great world of sin we’ve created, so don’t cheat, don’t play dirty, and win or lose, keep your head up.

But in just about all the other aspects of life, to quote from my favorite Indiana Jones movie, ‘And in this sort of race, there’s no silver medal for finishing second.’  There are not a lot of times when you get a polite golf clap for doing your best and coming up short.  ‘You almost cooked that steak nicely’-but you didn’t, and it tastes like a tire.  ‘You got the closest to the right answer on that multiple choice test’- but you didn’t, minus 1.  ‘You almost managed to avoid that jackknifing tractor-trailer’-but instead you just nicked him, which caused you to hit another car, so I hope you have insurance, ’cause you’ll be paying out the ass.

Frankly, I believe cheating is just another form of problem solving- of finding the right answer by whatever means necessary.  Today, we have the ability to look up almost any fact nearly instantly, anywhere.  This doesn’t make the facts less important, it simply means that they are less important than memorize than grasping overall concepts.

It sort of goes hand in hand with what I was talking about with apologizing- people, especially when it comes to something important, aren’t looking for excuses and almosts, when something must be done and must be done a certain way in a certain time, they are going to care less about how you arrived at your solution than whether it is correct or not.

So, while it might mean a whole lot to a third grade teacher that you memorize your multiplication tables, when you’re a 25 year old accountant, no one is going to give a shit how you multiplied 2,335 by 7,788, as long as the math is right.

So teach your kids to find the right answer- if it’s in their brain, excellent.  If not, it is somewhere- give them the tools and mindset to help them ruthlessly find it, and, find it without getting caught.  The better they are at cheating, the better they will ultimately be at complex problem solving.

Educators often talk about giving children the right tools to help them succeed.  But in job interviews, there are resume keywords, there are body positions and hand gestures and stupid fucking riddles that have a conceptual answer.  You don’t need to be qualified for a job, you just need to manipulate the interviewer well enough for him to like you, your attitude, and for him to think you’ve, ‘got what it takes.’  Once you’ve got the job, you don’t need to have all the right answers memorized, you just need to be able to find them quickly, efficiently, and if necessary, subtly.

People talk about entry level jobs these days that require previous experience, and how that seems to be cyclically blocking fresh graduates from getting into their desired career field.  But they write their own resumes.  They have friends with cellphones.  They have the ability to falsify a little experience.  Get your foot in the door as ruthlessly, as corruptly as necessary, then prove your worth.

In the military, in boot, when a recruit fails to complete a task, the drill sergeant will ask him why he failed.  There is only one acceptable response- ‘No excuse, drill sergeant.’  No one cares that your shoes came untied or your rope broke or your rifle jammed.  It doesn’t matter.  If you failed for any reason, you failed.  In boot in means getting bawled out, in combat the stakes are quite higher.  You could have had a perfect score on the physical part of your entrance exam.  Then you tear a muscle, roll an ankle, and it doesn’t matter how good you are on paper- because in this moment, you’re not getting it done.

So cheat.  Teach your kids that ultimately, after school is over, there are no ‘Nice Try! with a smiley face’s, no, ‘Good thought, but’s, there is only right and wrong, and no matter how you get there, if it’s done you are doing your job, and if it just needs a little more time, you can easily be replaced.

The Step-  Teach your kids to find the right answers by any means necessary.

Have I Done It Yet-  I don’t have kids.  Probably a good thing.


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