That's right, I'm blogging while at work. Sue me. It's 12:45 a.m. and I have nothing else to do but entertain... well, myself. And this seems as good of an outlet as any. They won't let me shoot automatic weapons in the hotel lobby, so you're stuck with some late-night ramblings.
So, interesting story has developed over the last month regarding one of the most elaborate cases of deception I have ever come across. It involves a guy that I came into contact with about a year ago through some training and subsequently worked with several times since. It breaks down like this: since knowing this person, he has gradually but steadily relayed accounting's of his background, which normally involve some sort of high-speed, secret-squirrel tactical operation that he has been involved in. Toward the end of our last detail together, however, certain "signs" started appearing which led several people to raise an eyebrow of concern. He was let go from the detail due to some less than professional conduct and subsequently lost his mind.
Fast forward to about two weeks after the end of the detail, when yours truly attended some training where the aforementioned character had spent quite a bit of time. Through conversations with the instructor, my brain began to spin out of control into a "Red flag! Red Flag!" drill; much of what he relayed about our mutual acquaintance was not only different, but contradictory on an epic scale.
Once myself and a few others sat down and began comparing stories and doing some research, it became apparent that this guy had woven quite a tapestry of un-truth. The truly crafty part about it all was in how he did it; his stories to everyone were tailored based on who he was telling them to. So if he were talking to a former Special Forces operator, he wouldn't talk about things like teaching guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan; if he were talking to a former SEAL, he wouldn't talk about attacking a beach, etc. He would actually figure out what your background was and craft his history accordingly. Pretty amazing actually, as it took a fair amount of intelligence to think that far ahead. What he apparently never thought of though, was that all of these people he talked to would ever communicate with one another.
Once we all compared notes, it was quite astonishing how deep the rabbit hole went. Everything from claiming to have a Master's degree (never finished his bachelors) to an intricate web of lies involving a search and rescue operation, Hurricane Katrina, and various ventures to Central America to do... whatever it is that super-secret agents like him do. Actually fairly impressive, if looked at objectively. His resume was even done overly vague, giving him an out should any of these questions arise.
The truly amazing aspects of this whole episode to me were that he was in his mid-forties (this is something you would expect from a 25 year-old kid), and also that he was a ridiculously nice guy. Most of the time when you run into people who make up stories and lie like this they are a massive pain in the ass to deal with (we figure this is why he was so successful at getting people to buy into his hype). What the hell makes someone create an entire background in his forties? One does not become a pathological liar overnight, so there had to be a pattern formed much earlier. But where? Was he in another field making up stories there? As near as we can tell, there are no records of him in the security field dating back further than 3 years. That means three years ago he had to have said "I know, I am super-secret operator man. Starting... now!" The psychology involved there is pretty fascinating to me. I'm really not even mad any more about being duped by someone I thought was a friend because it's more just a curiosity than anything else at this point. I want to know what makes a guy like that tick.
Once it was all said and done, a number of us basically felt swindled due to buying into his story. The saddest part of the whole episode is that he actually had the ability to perform his job at a high level. Well, until he started taking pictures of girls with soda bottles in their... uhh... special area and showing the pictures to people. Apparently that is what some refer to as "tacky" or "unprofessional" in the corporate world. Whatever. Next they'll start saying that you can't call a girl "toots" while slapping her on the butt and telling her to make some coffee. Ok, so maybe the guy was exhibiting signs of Loony-Tunes long before I noticed, but then again, have you read my blog? Spotting crazy is not exactly my forte.
Good stuff, though. Makes for a great story. Now I'm headed out to free all of the members of the Asian Dawn movement. Wolverines!!