Thursday, 27 March 2014

A Liar and a Cheat

I used to cheat at card games, especially Magic.  A lot.  After searching a deck I'd see cards I wanted, or I would see them while cutting a deck while shuffling.  Once I'd seen a card it was very hard to completely lose it in the deck so I was put in a position of choosing where to put it.  Now I'm not a magician and I can't shuffle a deck and end up with a particular card 23rd from the top, but I can certainly know if it ended up on top or not, or if it had a good chance to end up on top of not.   The amount of shuffling it took to fix that - to make it so I genuinely had no idea - was a lot.

However I justify it or rationalize it, and whether I was cheating to make myself win or to make myself lose, or to just make the next turn play out in a certain way, it was still cheating.  I'm sure people I played against noticed this sort of thing sometimes because, as I said, I'm not a magician, but I never had anyone say anything to me about it and I don't think anyone went out of their way to cut or shuffle my deck any more than they did anyone else's.  Sometimes it was probably more subtle and sometimes it was probably quite overt.

I don't know what it says about people that they were willing to accept cheating at a game we were supposedly playing for fun as a non-fatal character flaw.  Then again, for all I know this could be part of why some people didn't and don't particularly like me.

I guess this fits in with my general pattern of lying a lot and affecting feelings a lot.  When you know the outcome of option A and option B it is hard not to choose between them without telling everyone to hold on a second while you flip a coin.  Pretty much everything seems like a cheat or a manipulation.  Sometimes that's a rationalization to go ahead and cheat because I can't avoid it, or for trying to make sure things are as equitable as possible, or for making sure I come out last.  I think a lot of people solve this problem by being themselves, and maybe a little bit by not paying enough attention.

1 comment:

  1. I have felt this way many a time. I deliberately do a thing where I compartmentalize my consciousness to avoid cheating at games, especially silly games that aren't things other people would recognize as games. It is tricky to do, to have a brain both playing the game and not playing the game simultaneously but with practice I have become able to do it pretty successfully.

    On the other hand I didn't cheat in the way that you did and I didn't detect you doing it. Given that I suspect that mostly nobody else had any idea either and they weren't ignoring it, just totally unaware. I guess you are a better cheat than you thought?