Did anyone see the interesting story in the New York Times the other day about the fake Buddhist monks in Times Square? Apparently, there are a bunch of charlatans dressing up as Buddhist monks and nuns and aggressively pan-handling on the street. Pressing bracelets on tourists and then demanding $20. Badgering people to donate to their “temple.”
Naturally, actual Buddhists (and others) are appalled. Some real monks have approached the fake monks and asked them about the Five Precepts of Buddhism — only to discover that they couldn’t name one. Most of them when questioned just run away.
But this particular tidbit stuck out for me.
One woman dressed as a nun said her temple was in Taiwan, but declined to give specifics.
“I cannot tell you where my temple is,” answered another woman dressed as a nun, who said her family name was Lin and that people called her Little Lin. “I won’t tell you. But it’s not that I don’t have a temple.” At another point, she grabbed at the sleeves of her robe and said, “If I didn’t have a temple, why would I be dressed like this?”
GOD! I thought THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!
I suppose there are only so many ways to con someone. Being a mark on the street in my opinion is really not that different than being a mark in your marriage.
How many people can relate to that exchange with the “nun”? I know I can.
“I can’t tell you where I was last Friday. I don’t really remember. But really why should I tell you? Are you the Friday police? Of course I care about my marriage. I mean, I’m HERE aren’t I? Why would I be here if I was cheating?”
Mindfuckery is really so unoriginal.
My cheating ex used to do this schtick that inspired the cartoon above. He’d say “If you think I’m that sort of person, you shouldn’t be with me!”
Meaning — how DARE you insinuate I’m some sort of liar and cheat! If I were a liar and cheat, well, you wouldn’t be with me, would you? But AHA! You ARE with me, so ergo, I couldn’t POSSIBLY be that sort of person!
Yes, he really was a gassy gasbag of a gaslighter that one. You could cause an explosion from the combustible gassy lies that came out of his mouth.
I love how the faux nun tugs at her sleeve to “prove” she’s really a nun. Hey, if I didn’t have a temple, would I be dressed like this?
Yes, yes you would if you wanted to defraud someone into giving you money because they believe you are a nun. The nun get-up is a disguise. The real you is a con. How do I know? Because you won’t answer really basic, inoffensive nun questions like “What temple do you attend?”
Or “Where were you on Friday?”
Of course, being a chump, I don’t want to believe that the world possesses people so debased that they would dress up as Buddhist monks and nuns to shake down people. It’s a much nicer world if I believe that people who dress as nuns are actually nuns. If I believe the appearance of nun over the substance of my experience — the unanswered questions, the non sequiturs, and the defensiveness.
Un-chumping requires us to trust our senses over what we want to believe. This lesson is as old as the expression “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
A con in nun’s clothing.
A cheater in a human suit.
This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!