I once watched a couple of confidence men do a shakedown using walnut shells. They were slick… and evilly dishonest. Even at my young age (ninth grade) I was able to recognize the scam. Some of my friends were all about jumping in and betting on a ‘sure thing’… and they got fleeced right along with the con-men’s original ‘marks’.
It was a valuable lesson I was never to forget. My natural skepticism was reinforced by the earthy realism of my grandparents, who were grounded in experience garnered during two world wars with a worldwide depression thrown in for garnish. The message was always the same. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. So, like the con-men in my youth, the ‘Mark’ has to convince himself that the confidence game is reality.
It’s unfortunate that there’s something in the human psyche that leads some of us to seek an ‘easier, softer way’. These individuals are seen as the legitimate prey of those who would take advantage of ill-informed or uneducated people for the acquisition of personal power and wealth. Often, the victims of these crimes have to have a willingness to dismiss the evidence of their own senses. read more »