How to Succeed in a Life of Crime

First, some disclaimers:

  • I am not a criminal nor do I aspire to become a criminal.
  • Committing a crime is, by definition, wrong and should be avoided.
  • I do not encourage, advocate or support anyone’s pursuit of a life of crime.

Last week there was a news story about 3 men who were arrested somewhere in North Carolina on various drug charges, including producing methamphetamines. This, in and of itself, is a frequent occurrence and rather unremarkable, but the devil is in the details.

It seems that late one night, one of the men, “Sonny,” called police from his cell phone because he was lost in the woods. Police located him using the signal from his cell phone. Sonny told police that he and 2 friends were out in the woods investigating paranormal activity. The friends made their way back to their apartment, but somehow Sonny had gotten lost.

The police were suspicious of Sonny’s explanation and upon further investigation they quickly learned that the 3 men had been in the woods producing meth, not ghost hunting. (Kudos to Sonny and his buddies for having the good sense not to be cooking up meth in their apartment.)

I’m hardly an expert on crime and criminals, but I think we can draw a few conclusions from this cautionary tale. If you wish to be a criminal, then:

  • Try not to be too stupid.
  • If you will be committing crimes in the woods in the dead of night, it helps if you are a former Boy Scout or Girl Scout who has earned merit badges for wilderness survival and compass skills.
  • If you will be committing crimes with others, choose people who will not leave you behind to fend for yourself. If you need help during the commission of your crime, try calling your crime buddies instead of the police.
  • Sometimes things don’t go as planned. When coming up with alibis and/or excuses, plausible explanations are generally best. For example, “Officer, I went into the woods to relieve myself because there were no restrooms available,” is a more plausible explanation for your whereabouts than “Yo, dude, Bigfoot chased me into the woods.”  (Politeness counts.)
  • If you believe that investigating paranormal activity is a plausible explanation for anything, consider the possibility that your judgment may be impaired by the meth you are producing.
One of the many exciting alternatives to a life of crime.

One of the many exciting alternatives to a life of crime.

Always remember that crime is a very stressful occupation with a high risk of negative consequences, including incarceration (few people look their best in orange jumpsuits), poor health, lack of stable income, limited opportunities for advancement, negative personal relationships, injury and death.

Finally, consider alternatives to crime — go back to school and learn a marketable skill; make unique craft items and sell them on Etsy; become a real paranormal investigator and get your own reality TV show; become a park ranger so you can enjoy the woods in a more positive manner – really, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and the degree to which the meth has eaten away your brain.

Be good.

230 thoughts on “How to Succeed in a Life of Crime

  1. Valuable advice – I think I’ll stick to writing about crime. My chair is comfy, my house is warm, and there’s cold beer in the fridge. Explosions and incarceration always look better on paper.

  2. I think Breaking Dad sets a very poor example here. People will believe any ridiculous story Walter tells them and he gets rich from it. In the real world, good meth cook or nay, he’d have had a .45 in his head after the first 10 minutes of his career in the world of drugs, Yet actual criminals continue to follow his rather poor examples of making it up as you go along and not planning for any eventualities which are even remotely likely to happen.

  3. Valuable career advice. I don’t know what’s wrong with our high schools that counselors don’t tell students the relative merits of careers as meth producer vs Boy Scout vs paranormal investigator vs college graduate.

  4. It’s hard to find a good meth producer any more. Perhaps it is as you say that they spend too much time with their product. Of course wandering around lost in the woods can’t be great for business either. Unless of course their clients are bears and deer.
    Ah, the life of crime…not all it’s “crack”ed up to be.

  5. Yeah, I dunno. Your advice about avoiding prison by not being a criminal is solid but, you never touched on how to succeed at or in prison. If prison is a likely outcome of crime, it would pay to know how to do well in prison. If you can’t cover this area from personal experience, you need to find a professional jailbird to give you the proper insight. Try a re-write. Good Luck.

    • Successful incarceration is a whole separate chapter and only relevant to those who are unsuccessful in crime. As to whether or not I have the personal experience to discuss this important topic, I hereby choose to invoke my 5th amendment right to remain silent😀

  6. Great read! And so very insightful…I know you don’t intend to offer advice to criminals, but I’d say this would make a great first chapter in a yet to be published book entitled ‘Producing Metaphetamines for Dummies’.

  7. See: Darwin Awards.

    There are certain places where paranormal activity and meth production and/or distribution collide, including, but not limited to, actually concocting the meth in haunted houses as a deterrent to undesirable visitors dropping by unannounced. Except ghosts, of course.

    See: Portland, Oregon.

  8. I know, if ghost hunting is your alibi, then there’s a bigger problem.

    It’s not really a life of “crime” when dealing with drugs, it’s more of their egos, emotions, insecurities and additions they’re dealing with. When someone resorts to drugs and is trapped in that, it’s a dark place to be. Unfortunately, they’re not thinking straight at all.

  9. I am temporarily a permanent (conundrum!) resident in Mid-Missouri. Meth labs are such a huge problem here. I probably wouldn’t be so worried about how other people choose to spend their time in this venture except for the fact they rarely affect only themselves with their choices. Its frightening!

  10. Great post! “Try not to be too stupid” I think is the hardest part. Everything else follows if you can get down “Try not to be too stupid”

  11. I had a student once one robbed a liquor store with a gun. Got there on a bicycle, robbed the place after saying hello to the owner who was also his neighbor. Got a few bucks. When he got home he was arrested by the cops who were waiting for him. The judge could not believe the kid was so stupid and was lenient on him.

  12. Or there was a case of a criminal who left his cell phone at the scene of crime and unfortunately for him his mom called. TIP: Keep ur cell phone attached to ur belt (..prev. comment)

  13. So funny, when you see criminals ‘stuff up’. I don’t understand how people can be so stupid sometimes.
    We’ve all seen a video of a cash robbery and them running into the glass door on the way out!
    We need those people. i suppose the crafty ones don’t get caught!

  14. Really, I don’t find it implausible that these particular gentlemen – based on what we know of them – were indeed out there investigating ghostly doings. The cop may have found any statements to the contrary suspicious. Probably didn’t help, though, when the dude offered the officer some crystal. Btw, great pic!

  15. I take your points and good blog though there are also grey areas in crime. As a first amendment writer, I am interested in this interface where there is no bright line between what is considered criminal and what I not in self-expression.

  16. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 60: I Think We’ve Made The Wrong Decision | A VERY STRANGE PLACE

  17. I agree with much of what you say here. However if it is your lot in life to be a “career criminal” (do they have a difficult application process? Is there an industry body that represents them?) the most obvious suggestion and advice would be quite simple. DON’T GET CAUGHT.


  18. Given all of the new laws, rules and regulations imposed on us, not to mention the incredible tax system which hangs over our heads, I find myself in some form of ‘criminalized’ activity from the moment I wake up. Less Laws and more Freedom!!

  19. I am very interested in the topic you touched on in this article. I am concerned about just how these people get from where they are to being a contributing member of society. Most of them have no money or the behavioural skills to change. So how is this gap breached ?

  20. I’m just amazed at how many people choose a life of crime when they are obviously not cut out for it. It doesn’t seem too hard from my perspective to get away with most crimes… just a little planning ahead. Heck, TV has surely taught us that in the last 20 years, hasn’t it?

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