So, I really suck at keeping secrets. I just bought tickets to (I can't tell you because you'll ruin it) to surprise Mitch. I'm worried he'll figure out what it is, because he knows it's October 28 and I had to buy tickets for it. Is it bad that my fiance has to tell me to stop talking before I give away the secret? Are there any methods for practicing keeping secrets to myself? I just get so excited and I know he will be excited too, but for freaking once I want to keep a secret and surprise the darned boy!
- Future SIL
SIL huh? Future Soldier in Love? Future Spock Impersonator Legit? Future window sill? Future Soviet Intelligence Lieutenant? Ah, that's it - you're a Commie. I understand. In fact, it is likely your insolent Russian background that would prompt you to make such a bold-faced and, quite frankly, demeaning statement, "I can't tell you because you'll ruin it." I am bordering on agape with shock. Perhaps you are not well versed in the literature I've penned on the very topic of secrecy. There was the informative pamphlet, Don't Tell A Soul. There was my instructional filmstrip called Ways to Resist Torture, or Cause It. And let's not forget my highly touted series of books, Keeping Secrets to Yourself, Keeping Surprises to Yourself, Keeping the Keeping of Secrets to Yourself, and the admittedly weak finale, Keeping This Book or Some Taffy to Yourself. In short, I'm a veritable swath of information about secrecy, and I'm insulted that you might think otherwise, you vile Russian harlot.
That having been said, your slippery secret scrape is no small issue at all. Keeping secrets is an artform in the truest sense of the word, except for the most common definitions of the word 'art'. There are a few tactics to really enhance someone's surprise. And they are all illustrated by famous military strategies.
First, there is the tactic of intimidation shock, which was clearly illustrated by Hannibal during the Second Punic War against the Romans. Here, Hannibal employed hundreds of elephants in a historic march across the Alps and, as most historians put it, scared the bejeebers out of the Roman army. Thus, the element of surprise was the catalyst for victory. Now, I'm in no way telling you to amass an army of hundreds of elephants with which to scare your fiance (as you spelled it, you Russian ingrate). A few dozen should work fine. Whenever you find yourself slipping and about to give away a vital piece of information (or worse yet - if you already have given away a vital piece of information), release your few dozen war elephants upon him, and I can almost guarantee that you won't need to worry about him piecing together any of your surprise. Perhaps he might need to piece together parts of his fragmented skeletal structure, but certainly not your plot.
Another tactic is the method known as Subliminal Surprise. It's a simple method that's being employed even today by our current president, George W. Bush. Here's how it works - get a reason to go to war (or, in your case, to have an event). Then, engage in a completely unrelated war under the guise of the premise of the initial war that needed to be waged (or, in your case, convince this "Mitch" that the event on the 28th is actually connected to a larger series of events, beginning in a completely unrelated venue at another time). It couldn't be easier! So Mitch will be expecting something on the 28th. But on the 19th, take him to a landfill for an hour and then drive home. It's all part of the bigger picture. On the 22nd, for instance, you could go to an exhibit on moss reproduction. On the 25th, you can kill innocent civilians out of sheer defense (or, another way to put it, megalomania). On the 27th, try ice skating. Then on the 28th, he'll have completely forgot any clues you might have dropped along the way. And your approval rating will go up (at first, at least).
A final method is the Swift Flight Technique, patented by Stonewall Jackson in his Valley Campaign during the Civil War. In this infamous time, he managed to motivate and rally his 17,000 troops to march 646 miles in less than 7 weeks and continue an onslaught of attack while he, the general of it all, stood around "like a stone wall" (as exclaimed by rival Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee Jr.) And most of you thought he was just unpopular at parties. How does this apply to your surprise of "Mitch", or Mikael as we'll call him, since that's likely his full name? Simply, you need to use the element of speed as your benefactor. If your surprise on the 28th (which I'm guessing is tickets to see Tesh: Unmasked) begins at 8pm, and it will take you at least three hours to do dinner, park, and get in your seats, then what you need to do is wait until 7:49pm to leave, and get there and do all that in the following 11 minutes. Mikael, who will likely think he knows what you're going to, will begin to question it as the time to get there becomes scant. Before long, he will question his beliefs and assume you are taking him elsewhere. Then when you manage to transcend time and physics, won't he be in for a HUGE shock to find out that John Tesh, for some reason, now wears a mask?
In terms of practicing keeping surprises to yourself, I of course recommend my illuminating how-to audiocassettes, What to Do With 50 Pounds of Cheap Foamy Stuff. Another simple thing you can try is to gather top-secret information from the CIA. This can be done in various ways. The first, and least likely to work, is to outright ask them for it. Much more effective ways to do it include covert operations, thorough spy work, and torture (which you can learn more about in my lecture series based on my popular instructional filmstrip). Once you possess this knowledge, which is distinctly secretive, it will be important, nay invaluable, to not divulge any of it, at the risk of your life. If that doesn't make you better at secrecy, nothing will.
I'm sure at least one of you out there has thought, "But Fats, why are you giving out your patented secrets? Isn't that a bit counter-productive?" That's a good question, reader. A very good question indeed.
That about wraps it up for this installment. I know this site gets many hits a day - there have to be a few of you out there whose life isn't perfect - at least one or two - preferably not Commies. Lemme hear it. I'm here to aid and assist, clearly.