Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Having Fun With Bullshitters

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is subjected to more bullshit that a police officer. It is a river of lies that flows like the Nile every day of our working lives. I have seen some academy award winning performances in my time, performances that fooled me and I have seen some ridiculous efforts that don't even merit an honorable mention.

So I think it's ok to screw with the bullshitters once in awhile. 

You cannot underestimate the ability of people to spin a yarn. People lie. That's what people do. Bullshitting is a symptom. People avoid punishment and consequences as they go about their lives seeking rewards. People will do anything to get what they want. This is universal. You just can't ever take this personally because it's not personal. This should never be a mystery to you. Since I have been hearing my fair share of bullshit lately- what I thought I'd do- is tell you about three creative ways to put the bullshitters on notice without actually confronting them. Calling people on their lies is not 100% fool proof. Once in awhile you might be wrong and that can be embarrassing. Or the bullshitter will take a stand and start a one up flame war. So I wrote this piece to minimize that damage. If you are actually wrong, which is actually more rare than you might think, you can escape with a face saving out. So let's have a little fun at the bullshitters expense.

The Voice Vacuum

This is a technique used by police "interviewers" which is actually very simple. I have used it often. It is situational. I tend to use it when some conversation is heading for a logical conclusion wherein the target is starting to feel the heat. He or she has told some bullshit story and as you meander toward the riveting conclusion- there are going to be operative questions which will tend to prove the veracity or truthfulness of what they have just told you. Most likely they are going to have to lie some more. When they do- don't say a word. Do not nod your head. Stare at them for a moment and then look away. Force yourself not to say anything. Let the tension build. The target will inevitably start talking again as he/she assumes you don't believe them or they believe that you are too stupid to fall for their brilliantly crafted lies. Often, they get in even deeper. Sometimes, you may have to simply end the conversation without saying a word. Leave it hanging and exit. I have squared a few accounts that way.

The Modified Voice Vacuum With Enhanced Spitting Techniques

I saw this used once in real life and I never forgot it. I laughed so hard that I committed this enhanced technique to memory. I have used it a few times. Mostly for laughs.

I was present one hunting season when a co-worker was telling us a fantastic story about an elk he killed at 700 yards. He was telling this story to a former Marine Corps sniper (Mike) who had done a lot of shooting. I too have done gobs of precision shooting, although I generally do not consider the earths rotation as part of my shooting repertoire or calculations.

So our bullshitter is telling this story of the 700 yard single kill shot. My friend Mike asks him a couple of questions. Caliber of gun, how he was resting as he shot, terrain, where the bullet struck the elk, etc. It was clear as Mike asked him questions, that this guy was full of shit. He was stuttering, making shit up, and clearly he had not rehearsed the story very well. When he was finished, Mike never said a word. He cocked his head sideways, looked at the story teller with one eyeball, looked down, spit on the ground, and walked off. Our story teller was embarrassed, I was laughing. It was so rude and so appropriate I couldn't help myself.

Catch a Bigger Fish

You should always have a giant story in reserve whenever a bullshitter fabricates some yarn and delivers it. It should be so sufficiently outrageous that even your dull cousin can figure it out.

The delivery is everything. Right after listening to some tall tale, utter one of your own. I use an old one we got from a family friend, Bob the Nazi. I have modified it over the years. It goes like this. (I used this just last week)

One day when I was a kid on our family farm in Montana, I was coming out of the barn. Just as I did, I watched as a hornet landed on the ass of our family's bull which was grazing by a haystack. The old bull picked up his head and turned to see the hornet just as the hornet stung him on the ass. This scared the bull so badly, that he shit and ran around the haystack so fast- that the shit hit him in the face.

Tell your story with a straight face. If anyone questions the story's veracity just tell them that you believed their story. You'll know you have run into a professional if they counter with an even bigger story. You may have to revert to the voice vacuum and spitting technique. 

Sometimes when I read garbage, like maybe something on Huffington Post, I call bullshit. I still comment there and to my credit, I still have ZERO fans. That makes me an anti-bullshit Super User. If I ever acquire a fan or two on Huffpo, I am going to shoot my computer. At 700 yards with a .38.

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