On Doing Laundry:
The Idiot’s Guide to Undertaking Naughty Deeds and Getting Away With It
Heartbreak and genocide have more in common than you’d first suspect. Seen correctly through they should both involve thick amounts of absolving. Absolve is defined as to set free from an obligation or the consequences of guilt. To absolve someone of something can be a heavy experience…occasionally the heaviest. After the 1994 Rwandan genocide the country held truth and reconciliation tribunals. The killers were given a platform to admit to every killing they committed as well as the accompanying gruesome details. The slaughter of 800,000 people1 there in one month was a burden so crushing that the only way to move on from it was to have the murderers speak and the world listen.
To absolve someone is not always so heavy, actually it rarely is. The infinitely more common case is someone absolving a cheating lover or car thief. In most cases people typically focus on the victims and their stories, dismissing the perpetrators as psychopaths or detached from reality. This ignorance belies the fact that some people just like to do bad things because they are bad people and don’t care about the well-being of others.2 It has nothing to do with being detached from the world around me, quite the opposite I believe in fact. I am one of these people. I commit terrible acts and, in almost every instance get away with it. If you’d like to join in on the fun I suggest you take my advice on a few things.
The ways to say coming clean are fairly abundant and each comes loaded with its unique subtleties and nuance. Getting something off your chest is a frequently used idiom expressing much the same. The common thread of these idioms is the crushing weight they imply of which the ultimate and only liberation is to confess. This, however, does not apply to everyone. The first pangs of guilt are like far off storm clouds hinting at a future downpour. Ignore them. If you’d like to be any good at committing unspeakable acts you need to embrace step one immediately. Step one of how to undertake naughty deeds and get away with it- get rid of all that empathy.
“…for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.”3
If you’re going to do something despicable you should really work on conditioning yourself to discount the thoughts and opinions of others. I don’t mean to say you shouldn’t care what people think- I mean you shouldn’t involuntarily relate to them. You should never put yourself in their shoes lest you feel whatever pain or suffering you may have caused (or are about to cause). The only time it is even slightly permissible to do this is as an exercise in figuring someone out enough to more thoroughly manipulate them. Succumbing to their emotional contagion on your own terms is a powerful tool to have at your disposal if you wish to gain the trust of others.4 Who should know that I’m doing this you may be wondering. There is a very simple answer to that and it happens to be step two: tell no one the absolute truth of anything.
“18 rules for not getting caught. 1-17: don’t tell anybody. #18: not even your clone.”5
When I suggest you lie I don’t mean to say you ought to constantly conjure up gigantic whoppers and fabricate entire experiences for fun. Quite the contrary if you’re going to be any good at this. You must be subtle and deceiving to the point of mastery, even your closest friends should never know your genuine truths. Maybe you don’t quite know, but we’ll get to that part in step three. One important thing to mention here is that people should feel like they do know what you’re up to. Make a select few feel as if they’re privy to your world through exclusive information about your self or your devious plans. This ensures that those closest to you won’t go digging or speculate with others. They’ll all have a version they think to be the genuine article. Doing this requires you to stagnate and layer your lies as not to get caught in one and to make sure two people with varying versions of your lie(s) never cross paths or happen to be in a situation where they might flesh out any of your discrepancies. This depends almost entirely on how well you execute step three: Have a plan, have a story, stick to both.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” 6
If you’re going to get bad, I mean really awful, you need to have a plan. Do first and ask questions later works in so many circumstances… getting away with naughty, terrible deeds is not one of them. An architect will spend weeks, months or years meticulously laying ground-work for a building or structure. You need to be the unrelenting architect of your misdeeds. Tedious task-driven overlord of the optimally solid foundation for a devilish plan of action. There’s a saying that goes man plans…god laughs. Be it true or not you must plan and just as important is the fourth and final step: execution.
“If we go and do it now then we’ll never run the risk of running out of time”7
You could find hundreds of famous and quite inspirational quotes that essentially say this: plans don’t matter if you can’t execute them. There’s another aspect of this truism though and it’s something that you can only learn through experience: you have to be able to react to changing circumstances. Maybe you planned a heist, you accounted for every small detail from the security guard’s background to the optimum time to commit the crime in accordance with the amount of cash they would have or the police response time. Something will go wrong. It almost always does. Maybe one of the people in the bank will be an off duty police officer with a concealed gun. There is no way to train for the unknown unknowns during the execution phase, you can only try your best to be on the look out for them.
If you don’t have the stomach to accept the consequences of your actions you can either not partake in them, or, guilt stricken after the fact, come completely clean. Air out your dirty laundry in order to be judged by all in the light of day. My honest and humble opinion on doing laundry is that it’s only necessary when your stink is so rotten that you can’t even hide it from yourself. It takes a lot for me to feel that way but it does happens from time to time.
2 Dike, Charles C. (June 1, 2008). "Pathological Lying: Symptom or Disease?"
3 Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
4 Hatfield E., Cacioppo J. L., Rapson R. L. (1993). "Emotional contagion" (PDF). Current Directions in Psychological Sciences
5 Jarod Kintz, 99 Cents for some Nonsense
6 Abraham Lincoln