I have been a keen student of scumbology over the years, having wittingly or unwittingly made the acquaintance of some of its finest exponents over the years.
So this short essay is culled mostly from personal experiences, not first hand, of course, but from observations.
As a subspecies, scumbags are usually not the smartest cookies in the world.
But what they lack in intellect, they more than make up for in their acute understanding of the human mind.
And this is crucial to their modus operandi.
Which is sucking up to get what they want. (In some parts of the world, this is referred to as holding a log.)
To suck up to someone, first, you must know the person’s weaknesses.
For example, if a person is vain, you have to appeal to that vanity.
Or if a person is insecure inside and need constant validation, accord him special respect, stroke his ego, and he’s yours from then on.
But what’s wrong with according someone special respect or making him feel good?
Nothing wrong except that in the field of scumbology, there’s an essential added component which we might call the “flipside.”
This flipside is crucial, without it, a potential scumbology action will not qualify as one.
The flipside is this.
For every show of respect you show someone, you must show an equal disdain for someone else.
If you show respect to everyone, irregardless of who they are, you are just a nice guy.
To qualify as a scumbology action, your schmoozing must be selective.
In other words, the scumbag differentiates between people.
(In Chinese, this is often referred to as “look at people.”)
He reserves his special attention only to a select few, those who he thinks deserves his respect.
And the rest of the world? Well, they’re losers so they deserve only his disdain.
And this is what really separates scumbags from the rest of the world.
To the scumbag, the world is divided into the haves and the have-nots—those who “have” his respect and those who “have not” his respect.
In the former category is anyone who is useful to him, powerful people, his bosses, his superiors, maybe a school principal (so he can become the head prefect), or maybe a rich patron, (especially someone he once knew at school).
In the latter category are those who have not attained any great status in life, people who are beneath him at work, people who clean his offices, former friends who he deems to have lost to him in the game of life. In other words, the losers (in his mind) of the world.
Once he has neatly divided the world into these two camps of winners (according to his criteria of winning) and losers (according to his criteria of losing), then he simply accords to them the appropriate actions.
Knowing the art of scumbology is useful in all areas of life.
It’s particularly useful in the workplace.
Don’t waste any time on the lowly janitors, or the clerk, or that secretary. Treat them like the losers they are. Be short and abrupt with them to keep them in line. You know if you’re too nice to them, they’ll start climbing all over your head.
But your superiors? Keep a smile ever ready for them. Every morning, greet them with a warm friendly smile. Ask them how they are. Ask them about their family. Be prepared to laugh at the slightest joke.
You want them to know you’re the friendliest and most helpful guy around.
Scumbagging is important too outside the workplace.
Especially when you need something from someone.
If you need a favor from anyone, make sure you give them the full treatment too—the charming smile, the ever ready laugh, the jovial attitude, the helpfulness.
But of course, once you have accomplished your goals and gotten what you want from them, don’t forget to turn on the flipside.
Toss them onto the dungheap of losers where they belong.
Sure, you’ll make a few people unhappy with this kind of abrupt about-face but life is too short to worry about people who don’t mean anything to you.
Best to put it down to jealousy—they’re just jealous you’re getting on in life while they’re not.