Proportion

A sense of proportion is always helpful. I have been offshore in an aircraft carrier and a ketch. You are uncomfortable on the carrier in a big blow, while you could fear for your life in the ketch. In one, you ship a bit of water over the flight deck, and in the other, you could be down among the anemones momentarily.

Not to make this a lecture, a sense of proportion is handy to have and exercise. Our sometime friend John, the con artist, was a big fan of proportionality. He maintained that there were several classes of fish, marks, and saps available for cons. Their vulnerability to a scam was proportionate to their susceptibility. The skeptic was as likely to fall prone as anyone; you would pitch it differently. An education he maintained was only an obstacle to be gotten around. But he insisted that there were people that were off the charts.

John was adamant that it was dangerous to deal with conspiracy nuts. So if a potential mark ever mentioned the communist infiltration of the government, aliens running the big corporations, the Elders of Zion, or other similar topics, John would fold his hand and get out of there. ” A lamp is of little use to those who won’t use it.” John, of course, had very high regard for his products.
Being naive, I mentioned that it would seem that they’d be ideal for a hustle; their sense of reality was already suspect. John held up a hand and said it was dangerous to mess with people like that because they were not innoxious people moving through life. They weren’t innocent, innocuous, or peaceable. Their conviction was some group was out to harm them or society. If they suspected you were a dupe or part of the conspiracy, they’d attack you.
I mentioned they must be the people you most want to avoid getting involved in a scam. John looked at me like I was an idiot, ” hell no, Wes, much worse are the people who spread the conspiracies.”, ” But aren’t they just another form of a con artist?” I asked.

John now looked enraged. At last, he mastered his anger, ” good lord no! All I want is their money. The conspiracy spreaders, zealots, and politicians are after their minds, hearts, and souls!” Even con artists have standards.