Five Spark Plugs!

September 24th, 2010 · No Comments

It feels like almost a zillion years ago that I bought my first car. As expected, I was bursting with excitement and played little Miss Independent, until reality set in.  My car conked out somewhere but I thought luck was on my side when  a mechanic stepped up to offer his services.  After the car had been serviced, I proudly told my Dad how I managed to get my car fixed all by myself and blurted that the mechanic had charged me for “only” five spark plugs.  My dad in his usual calm manner said: “Iha, congratulations! You have just gotten your first lesson on being conned.  There are only four spark plugs in your car.”

I have since had a crash course on what’s inside the car but admittedly, that wasn’t the last time I’ve been hoodwinked.

On reflection, the times I fell hook line and sinker where times when I acted like I knew it all; was too embarrassed to ask questions for fear of revealing what I did not know; or was too emotionally attached.  

Now older and so I hope wiser, I’ve learned to question till they go blue and my radar is definitely up. I sure can spot them coming a mile away; detect those fake flashing smiles; and I hear those alarm bells on approach. Those sloppy supplications and puppy dog looks no longer wash.  But sadly, I still see good people falling prey to pretenders in the simplest ways. Even the best of us, title holders included, have not been exempt from the phonies. 

It may start with a harmless beefing up of a resume; then courses are added for effect; then  some add a few masters to impress until they graduate with a doctorate in crapology.  Some amend alma maters to schools they’ve never stepped into or only got as far as the toilets.  The braver ones go into full speed ahead manufacturing whole new careers.  Some start believing the lies they’ve perpetuated and that’s pretty scary as that’s bordering on the pathological!

Some careers are more difficult to fake what with licences required but some brave hearts do dare and no one really bothers to check until it’s too late.  However, the arts are more predisposed to imitation.  After all, anything creative is subjective and how can one check.  The inability to tell the real from the fake in itself shows the lack of knowledge . But there are ways to tell. 

We can’t stop the mentally warped but  it is up to us to remain alert. We should stop enabling them and expose them for what they are – or those crapologists will go on overdrive and run us over!  It is best to stop and check prior to committing before making decisions based on our limited knowledge and within the confines of our own judgment. 

Here are a few signs of when headlights are flashing.

One. Beware of people bearing gifts.  Gratitude and appreciation is fine but superfluous gift giving  and praise do nothing but flatter egos and blur emotional lines.  The reverse however is just as dangerous.

Two.  Con artists rely that nobody will double check.  I know it’s such a waste of time and we all take each other at face value but the problem is that some of these people really have no face! So if it’s a matter of importance – do check. 

Three. Look for pattern and consistency.  Words should match action and vice versa.  If they don’t match, there’s something not quite right.  Most careers develop their own terminology and habits.  So if there are conflicting elements in their story, then yes, put on your ‘Colombo’ hat and please proceed to doubt.  Tickle them with questions and watch them get undone. 

Four. Watch out for those who suffer from verbal diarrhea and swamp you with words that you can’t remember any.  Words without substance is simply gas-bagging!

Five. Watch for temper outbursts especially when questioned.  If they aren’t matured enough to answer a question reasonably, then there’s something not quite right.

So, If they say they’re an artist but their colours don’t match …

If they say they’re a ballet dancer but their toes don’t point right ….

If they say they’re a poet but there seems to have no rhyme…

If they say they’re a writer but the grammar just ain’t there…

If they call themselves doctor but they’re positions don’t match…

Then my dears, you’ve just been duped!!


And lastly,  remember that not all those spark plugs really ignite. 

Tags: Grey Matter