Fabricating a fascinating heroic you is American as apple pie among all occupations, but this is University Diaries, so we follow in particular academics who make themselves out to be far, far more than they are.

Always overcoming appalling upbringings, ever duking it out on the world’s dirtiest battlefields, ceaselessly being summoned to the offices of the great for advice, these inspirational disrupters are pleased to deliver pep talks to the rest of us as we model our paltrier lives on theirs.

But – and you know UD has been saying this for years – you will only successfully forge a longterm career as a total fraud if you follow a few simple rules.

#1: Do not fly too high. The mistake Sergio Garcia, bigshot chief of staff and senior vp at SUNY Upstate Medical University, made was becoming bigshot chief of etc. The higher your profile, the more likely the local press is going to want to get to know you. Certainly Garcia’s bet that a university which hired David Smith as president would blindly hire a sociopathic liar was completely correct; he overlooked the local press, however.

#2: Choose a really cheesy school. As a product of the local culture of Albany politics, SUNY could hardly be called non-cheesy. It remains however a mildly respectable sort of location – the sort of school where, once the fraudulence of high-ranking administrators is revealed, someone on campus will actually care. Place yourself instead in a school (Southern University; Chicago State University; almost any university in Saudi Arabia) where no one cares.

#3: If you must join a non-cheesy school, make sure you are besties with the school’s president. James Ramsey protected generations of fellow scammers at the University of Louisville; and though this is hardly a guarantee of serious longevity for you (since presidents like Ramsey may themselves have rather short shelf-lives), it’s your only hope. Like the protagonist of Black Widow, you are going to have to find out what the president loves – handball, hockey, humpback whale watching, whoring – and do that thing with him so as to create an unbreakable bond.

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UD thanks Eric.

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