The Number Of Times I’ve Been Wrong…

Three, as I remember ; 1964, 1966, and 1984. I won’t burden you with the details but suffice it to say someone suffered for it.

Not me, I hasten to add. I benefited from the errors immensely. I was able to realise the mistakes I’d made and correct myself for the future. And place the blame for the unfortunate consequences onto other people. They’ve been released since and I hope have been able to pursue humble careers afterwards. At least no memorial notices have come to my attention.

Making mistakes is a natural human proclivity. You may not find them in the activities of the chief executives of any nation but rest assured their opposite numbers in Washington, Canberra, or London will be able to make a list. Mistakes made by chief executives in Moscow or Beijing are are removed in vans and their relatives told to keep quiet.

The main thing to do when you see you are wrong:

a. Stop doing it. No sense digging a deeper hole if you are just gonna be climbing out of it anyway.

b. Clean up the mess. If reparations will assuage the hurt and relieve your guilty feelings, pay them. Pay in cash but get a receipt.

c. Hide the error. Remove all traces. Destroy the evidence. Find out who knows and silence them.

e. Invent a good alibi for where you were at the time that the mistake occurred and why it could not possibly have been you. Remember that simple lies are far preferable to complex ones – you can repeat them more accurately and are less likely to be caught out with discrepancies.

f. Find a scapegoat. This need not be someone you hate – indeed friends are actually a better choice as they will not suspect you when the authorities come to take them away. You can visit them in the condemned cells to check on whether the frame fits without it seeming an odd thing.

g. Learn from your error. Either learn not to do it again or how to do it again…successfully. All the world’s a schoolroom and somewhere the teacher is keeping the sweets and jack knives she’s confiscated from the students. Find that stash and you’ll be set.

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