By Asher Hancock:
In Part 1 of this series, I explored two examples of tactics that are guaranteed to infiltrate the mind of your enemies and destroy them from the inside. I wouldn’t be a genius if those techniques were all I had stowed away in the metaphorical pirate’s chest at the foot of my metaphorical race car bed covered in metaphorical stuffed animals, my favorite one being Gregor the Gecko. Not only do I intend to cover two more techniques, but they are even more beautifully parasitic and malicious. However, I will warn that the following tactics require significantly more time, resources, fossil fuels, copper wire, silly putty, silly bands, and energy than the previous two tactics and a little bit less than my Bar Mitzvah. I will start with another quote since the one in my last brilliant and charming introduction was so well received by that guy behind the neighborhood Chili’s who always invites me into his cardboard box for a tea party (Don’t accept his invite. The “tea” is urine. You know what they say: “Once you make a mistake twice, try not to drink the “tea” a third time no matter how fun he makes the tea party sound”).
This edition has two quotes from a personal icon of mine, second only to Danny Devito in the M&M’s commercials, Sun Tzu: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” and “Do not interfere with an army that is returning home”. The second one doesn’t have to do with psychological warfare as much as it is a piece of wisdom that I find to be very applicable to everyday life.
Ye Old Switcheroo
This is a personal favorite of mine, but is truly challenging to pull off properly. This tactic is guaranteed to make your victim constantly ask themselves “Am I the problem?” and if used well enough could lead to self admittance into a psychiatric institution. This is one of many that you can read about in my new children’s book “Green Eggs and I’m in Your Head” and its long awaited sequel “Horton May Hear a Who, But I’ll Make You Hear Voices”.
To prepare for Ye Old Switcheroo, you and at least one other person have to become fluent in a language, ideally Japanese. Russian, German, and Swahili will also have a similar effect. The more people who learn the language the better. Let’s say you work with your victim. We’ll call her Smurfette. You and a buddy might be standing at the water cooler, when Smurfette walks up and starts chatting. You and the buddy would randomly switch back and forth between English and flawless Japanese. As both of you are not Japanese, (if you are Japanese, do a different language), this will be utterly confusing to Smurfette. As she stands there bewildered, continue your conversation as if you’ve been speaking English the whole time. When she asks if you and your buddy know Japanese, give Smurfette a look of utter confusion, shake your head, and go right back to your conversation but after a minute switch back into Japanese. When she questions you on it further, fervently deny that you were speaking anything other than English, but deny it in Japanese.
If you really want to make her think she’s insane, go to the cute barista at her local coffee shop and pay him to learn Japanese. Then when she goes to order coffee, he will randomly start speaking Japanese to her and baffled, she will turn around and bump into a man who starts yelling at her in Japanese because you also paid him. Slowly pay more and more people to start speaking Japanese, not all the time, but enough so that Smurfette loses some sleep over it. Hack into her computer and phone and make everything she sees or reads Japanese. Replace all her books with books that look exactly the same, but are totally in Japanese. She’ll probably start taking Japanese classes and once Smurfette becomes totally fluent in Japanese, switch over to Russian.
By the time you get to a third language, Smurfette will likely spend most of her time curled up into a ball, rocking back and forth asking for her mommy. When her mother finally comes, they will embrace and go get a meal. Smurfette will feel at ease for the first time in a while, because her mom is speaking English. When they pull up to the restaurant Smurfette will realize it’s a Japanese restaurant and will become excited that she can finally put her new skills to good use. Smurfette will walk in and ask “2人用のテーブルをお願いします” to which the host will respond “Este es un restaurante mexicano”.
The Truman Show
As a disclaimer I must say that if you attempt this you must commit fully and be prepared to remove all emotional stability from the man or woman (psychological obliteration knows no gender) that faces your wrath.
This one is pretty self explanatory, a wonderful example of social puppeteering, a form of mental harassment in which a victim’s (puppet’s) perception of reality is deliberately distorted by a “puppeteer” for his or her own private amusement. If you haven’t seen The Truman Show, it is a Jim Carrey movie in which the main character, Truman, is really part of a massive TV show which he is the star of, but he doesn’t know it. From birth everybody around him has been an actor and everything around him is really just a set, and he slowly discovers it as the movie progresses.
Obviously, you can’t build a massive set and maintain total control over your victim’s life as in this movie but you can hire actors to be most of the people in their immediate life. Focus on the main characters, like close friends and significant others but ultimately what will really torment your victim, who we’ll call Gimley, is the idea that the barista he’s seen every morning for the past ten years was just a New York city gal with a big dream trying to make an honest living.
Ideally Gimley’s entire job should be a fraud and his office is full of actors and all the work they do accomplishes nothing and is thrown out at the end of each day. You should make it so a promotion seems just out of reach for Gimley but is never actually awarded to him. The company may always be struggling in a way where Gimley will accept lower pay just to keep working at a job he loves with the people he cares about who in reality don’t reciprocate those feelings.
At this point there is no turning back. Have Gimley meet a woman in the coffee shop, classic rom-com style, and they’ll date for a few years. Eventually they’ll try to have a baby and she will ultimately get pregnant. The child will be paid from a young age for their involvement and the goal would be to get them fully in on it. When Gimley is in his 70s, sitting happily on the porch in his rocking chair with his wife, kids, and grandchildren you will rip his reality to shreds.
You will have inserted yourself into the narrative many years before by becoming his neighborhood mailman. Obviously, you’ll know him from the past from when he wronged you to an extent deserving of revenge and to him it’ll just be a funny coincidence that you end up his mailman. On this day when you deliver the mail like usual, you give him some of the scripts that his family has followed on previous days and stand there as he reads them. It will take Gimley a while to comprehend what they mean because subconsciously he knows they will ruin him. His family will then all leave him and he will be left alone. Eventually, he’ll move into a retirement home and meet new people, who will also be actors and you’ll do it all again. This one probably requires millions of dollars and heartless actors who, to be fair, are a dime a dozen in LA these days. There will be no cameras, no people that love him like in The Truman Show. There will just be you, hiding in plain sight pulling the strings from dusk till dawn.