Table of Contents
Chapter One Dress For Diversion
Chapter Two Mimic the Masters
Chapter Three Take The Offensive
Chapter Four Fear Failure
Chapter Five Plausible Deniability
Chapter Six One Way Trust
Chapter Seven Personal Distraction
Chapter Eight Get Better Or Get Caught
Chapter Nine Come Out With Flare
Chapter Ten The Skeleton Curse
Chapter Eleven The Skeleton Cure
They don’t just come out for Halloween. Most of the time, they stay hidden and impatient in our closets. Skeletons are secrets from the past or present that haunt a person’s happiness. Some are minor but embarrassing indiscretions perfect for coffee room gossip or neighborhood jokes. Other skeletons, however, would make a priest choke during confession.
Some closeted skeletons sit quietly behind old coats and stacked boxes. Others scratch and rattle doors, trying to slip out of their cells at all hours of the day or night. They play a perpetual game of hide and seek, but are clearly more interested in being found.
Skeletons have their own agenda, and they are largely misunderstood. When their owners want them to be quiet, they aren’t. When their landlords want them to disappear, they come out to play. When people try to forget about them, they find new ways to show up. They are uncooperative and unpredictable. This is both good and bad news.
The Good News: Skeletons are truly fun to discover and play with…when they belong to someone else. They are like an extra 20 pounds: You hate your own, but it’s kind of fun to see them show up on your frenemy or snooty co-worker. Is there anything more delectable than a skeleton that slips out of the right person’s closet? How about the person who stole your boyfriend? Wouldn’t you love to know a secret about the person who reported you to the boss? Our personal favorite is catching sight of a skeleton in the closet of that morally superior prude (they always have the best skeletons by far). Discovering these skeletons is like Christmas morning when you were a kid.
There is no question—other people’s secrets have long captured our imaginations and fueled our amusements. Where would gossip be if not for great secrets? How can you beat finding out that Ms. Perfect spent the night in jail for drunk and disorderly? What’s better than hearing Mr. Macho faints at the sight of blood?
This book is full of skeletons—real ones: the kinds that have haunted people for years. What you won’t find here are those that represent real tragedy: injury, abuse, or criminal offense toward others. There is no amusement in fugitive skeletons.
The secrets we are going to share will make you laugh and cringe. They are closeted confidences that represent thoughts, feelings, and actions that, if discovered, would be very embarrassing or problematic to relationships or reputations. Some of these skeletons are cultural or social taboos, and others are personal idiosyncrasies from which others might recoil or decide to renegotiate a relationship. In other words, we are going to tell you the secrets common to humankind; the ones that you would find in every friend’s closet if they let you look.
The Bad News: This book is more than reality literature, however. We are not exposing skeletons for the simple pleasure involved. We are also fascinated and frustrated by the ways people try to keep their skeletons safe. A few are successful, but most closet keepers don’t have a clue!
So here’s the bad news: YOUR SECRETS ARE NOT SECURE!
The REAL reason we wrote this book is so that YOUR skeletons don’t end up doing the striptease on social media, or choking your grandma when she hears about them during Thanksgiving dinner. With cameras and recorders on every phone, there are a million opportunities for your skeletons to be discovered.
Please believe us. You won’t be able to enjoy hearing someone else’s secrets if you’re not protecting your own. Make sure you stay on the laughing end of this arrangement because the weeping end is no fun at all. We have written this book to help you become an expert at closet security.
Do you realize how much money people spend to protect their identity from theft? We also pay to protect our homes, our financial assets, our bodies, and our lives. But guess what stays unprotected? The secret that could turn the rest of your life upside down! What are you thinking?
You need to take positive and practical steps to protect your good name. Haven’t you worked hard to shape your reputation? It could be gone with one slip of the tongue. It could crash with one errant text or post. If you care about your public presence at all, take steps to protect your persona. That’s what The Skeleton Code is about. Other books tell you how to keep your body healthy, and we tell you how to keep your closet shut.
Imagine your skeletons are in a federal witness protection program. They are given new identities and taken far away from those who might like to find them. The Skeleton Code contains proven methods to move your skeletons to a place where they can’t be found by friend or foe. You simply can’t be sloppy with secrets or they will find a way out.
You might also think of your secrets as inmates who need maximum security complete with razor wire, electric fences, observation towers, armed guards, and trained dogs. Our book will give you the equivalent of these safety measures.
How did we get this expertise? We learned it from the masters and perfected it in our own lives. We have secrets (of the non-criminal variety) no one will ever find. Instead of being objects of suspicion or scandal, we are trusted confidants. How do you think we heard all these secrets we are about to share? We have worked with people who decided they could tell us very personal details about their lives. How great is that? We get to hear juicy stories while our skeletons are tucked away in Fort Knox. Of course, we have changed names and details to protect the identity of our friends and family who have given us a peek at their closets.
If you follow The Skeleton Code, you will stay off the gossip grapevine at work or in the family. If you practice the principles we suggest, your closet will be more secure than your portfolio, and you can be the laugh- er instead of the laugh-ee.
Should you, against our advice, ever decide to come out of your closet, and again, we strongly urge you to maintain appearances, then we also conclude this book with some advice about coming clean. We do recognize that some people say they enjoy life more when they are transparent, but we don’t believe it. Yet because we are equal opportunity advice givers, we thought we should include something for those who think it’s important to be real.
We hope you enjoy comparing your skeletons to those in this book. No matter what you have in your closet, you’ll find something interesting in this one. Enjoy!
Additional Guidelines For Reading The Skeleton Code
For those readers who may not appreciate the subtleties of satire, we offer this advice:
- Do not follow any expressed or implied methods in this book to commit illegal acts;
- Do not use the ideas in this book to engage in covert behavior against any government;
- Do not practice any of the techniques in this book to the detriment of other persons;
- Do not use the skills in this book to become a successful politician;
- Do not hide this book in your closet;
- Do not operate heavy machinery while reading this book;
- Do not use this book to start fires, literally or figuratively;
- Do not use this book as a traditional or alternative medicine;
- Do not start a religion with this book (a fan club would be OK);
- Do not try to figure out the true identity of the people we talk about in this book;
- Do not use this book as a weapon, a pillow, or a flotation device.