Couldn't break away without adding this one...it may save a career, or a life! DON’T TAKE THE HEAT FOR THOSE WHO CHEAT! In this day and age of high technology, email, and global messaging, the only thing that spreads faster than fast is the value of one’s name. Let a man dishonor his country, his city, or his family, and his name is dirtier than the mud which he has rolled it through. Read your daily newspaper or surf the Internet and you have a thumbnail sketch as to the truth of my column’s opening statement. It has become fashionable for wrong to become right, and right to become wrong. We, as men, are being told by the mainstream press, public policy wonks, family members, social conservatives and environmentalist liberals that the end justifies the means. I don’t know about you...but, I’ve reached my saturation level. Like the cartoon character Popeye used to say before he reached for his Spinach: “I stands ALL I can stands...and I can’t STANDS no more!” However, instead of a can of Spinach, I’m reaching for my trusty keyboard. Stand by for some sure ways to get rid of the cheaters who have been showing up in your life; like vultures who have been moving in for the kill. BACK IN THE DAY: Not that long ago brothers, a man’s word was his bond. However, his NAME was his passport. Not only did it get him around the highways and byways, but it covered his wife, his children and his extended family. When you heard a family’s name, everyone knew the patriarch and treated those covered, or associated with that name, accordingly. Sadly, in far too many cases, those days are gone. We have been treated to a stead diet of chad-counting, toe-sucking, intern-pouncing and big-oil/corporate suit-wearing CHEATERS. The only reason WHY they flourish is that they count on the honest, upright, and moral members of society to stand by, shut up, and allow their antics to continue. Well, if God has blessed you with two strong lungs, two strong legs, a pair of lips, and a healthy supply of backbone like he has me, we need to start cutting cheaters off at the pass AND letting them know, in no uncertain terms, that we will no longer shield them from the justice that is hunting for them--no matter how bleak their prospects may be when the payment comes due. NO LONGER ‘A COVER STORY’: The incident that ‘pumped my ink’ for this column was a fellow writer getting tech-bombed for giving out truthful advice to the wrongs of married folks ‘getting their itch scratched’ by those outside of their marriages. Now, I realize that adultery has been around since the dawn of time--but so has the following saying: “If they will CHEAT with you, they will CHEAT on you!” Brothers, the reason why adultery has flourished is that--while many of us have been giving solid advice against it; SOME of us have been willing to serve as ‘cover stories’ for those who are playing around on their wives and sweethearts. Thus, we may be talking one way, but we are subsidizing the sin our friends want to wallow in. The reason WHY some of us willingly serve as cover stories is that, secretly, WE wish that WE were doing the ‘tipping around’! Unfortunately, when the scheme explodes, guess who is going to be summoned to appear before the wronged party? YOU ARE! Want to increase the value of your family name? Want to make sure the stock of your future ancestors is as good as gold? Don’t risk associating your name with present or future adulterers or adulteresses! You may lose a friend, but you will save not only their marriage--but your family name. Refuse to be an accomplice to those who have to get their kicks at a motel on the other side of Route 66! SET A FIRM ACCOMODATION LIMIT: Now, I can understand when a friend or family member runs short of cash. If you are like me, you don’t mind helping out every once in a while. But, when the same folks line up at your house when you get paid ever other Friday, asking to borrow this and they will ‘pay you back’, its time to put the ‘CLOSED’ sign over your wallet or purse. You see, there ARE those who know you have a giving heart and a kind spirit. They know that you are a Christian, or, at least visit the church house more than twice a year. They know that you don’t ‘flash your cash’, always seem to make your income stay on the black side of the street, and know how to shop, save, and work. They, on the other hand, like to take the ‘easy’ way through life. You, my brother, are marked by them as the ‘easy’ way. Put a DETOUR sign out on the communication lines; let them know in no uncertain terms that you have sprung for their bail the last time, have paid for them to ‘clear up’ those bad checks, covered for them in their last class, and have stopped paying for their trips to the nearest ‘shadetree’ businesswoman, or businessman. You’ve worked hard for your grades and/or your money. Let it spend more time with you, than with your cheating friends. WEASELS, SNAKES, AND HURRICANES ON THE JOB: With the economy as bad as it is, the LAST thing that you need is to get a pink slip because you have become the office ‘chump’. I’ve learned--sometimes through unemployment--that there are three types of people on every job who outlast the office ‘chump’--the person with the good heart who seems to have their doors, wallet, and calendar opened for everyone--except meeting their own deadlines! Here they are in no particular order: *Weasels: These critters are the people who can either be male or female co-workers who steal your great ideas to present to the front office ahead of you; or male or female supervisors and bosses who change company policy so they are protected, and you are unemployed--even if you are right! Weasels HATE having the lights turned on them. Be light. Keep all your good stuff to yourself and WATCH them DIE when YOU present it! *Snakes: Brothers, where there are Weasels, there are Snakes. These are the folks who like to entice you, tempt you, trip you, and then bite you. These are the critters who wander into your office with lust, dust, and mistrust on their minds. They are easy to recognize, while Weasels are not. I’ll give you one clue as to how to deal with a Snake; let your wife come to the office with a Mongoose attitude, and point that Snake out! Mama CAN kill a Snake! You may get fired--or promoted--over it, but it will be a cat fight to END all cat fights. Plus, there may be some other wives--including your boss’--who may want a piece of ‘Long Tall Sally’ out back, Jack. Nuff Said. *Hurricanes: One big bag of wind won’t work against a house of bricks, or a door of wood. Keep your office door closed as much as possible. If you have a cubicle, keep your chair with the back to the entrance. Keep your outside stuff outside--especially personal business. Keep office contacts to professional and courteous levels, and monitor your email, snail mail, client lists, and even your trash can. I keep a shredder next to my desk, and it does WONDERS for making sure that my mistakes, leads, and investigations go where no man or woman can boldly go--into confetti! Dumpster divers exist in the workplace. Don’t become an office ‘chump’ based upon someone finding something in your trash that you don’t want found. LIVING THE STRESS FREE LIFE! As I have gotten older, I have found that worrying about what so-and-so is doing with my name is more important than what they are actually doing in the first place. A lot has been said about ‘identity theft’. People have made quite a bit of cash by stealing someone’s bank account numbers, background information, or even addresses and phone numbers. However, one can steal your reputation from you without lifting not one electronic tidbit--by tying your name to their heinous activity. Don’t bust open a can of Spinach...just watch who has access to your name! Learn to live a stress-free life. Close your door to cheaters. Your family, and your descendants, will thank you for your courage. Mike Ramey is the author of: ‘The Manhood Line’. A biblical, business, and common-sense column, written monthly for men. The column appears on the Internet and in print. Comments welcome to [email protected]. (C) 2002 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications (7).