In June, photography major Finnegan James realized everyone in the whole world is faking it.
It happened at a museum downtown, where he accidentally wandered into through a door he wasn't supposed to go through, and then, after he left, witnessed a guard lecturing an obvious tourist who tried to sneak in to the same room.
That night, he scribbled it into his moleskin - "secrets to the perfect photograph: get the angle. look like you know what you're doing."
Finn tried it out a few weeks later, when the president was in town for a visit. Without a sideways glance, he strode confidently onstage, lifted up his camera, and snapped a few quick frames.
They ran in the next day's paper - front cover.
Two months later, he had quit his filing job was and was freelancing for most major U.S. papers and a few overseas. The competition couldn't figure him out - a rookie photographer fresh out of school with a knack for getting within two feet of pro quarterbacks and world-famous vibraphonists.
With the money pouring in, Finn began taking advantage of other situations. He stole drinks at the pub simply by coolly hopping over the bar and snagging a beer. He met famous people all over the world by looking more important than their assistants. He touched paintings. He wandered into vaults. It's not that he knew more about anything than anyone else - he didn't - it's just that he knew that everyone else was as blind as he was. He knew that everyone was just looking for a person who knew what was going on.
And then one day, dawdling an hour or so away with his feet propped up on the pope's desk, he met another. A girl wandered in wearing an old t-shirt and jeans.
Finn had long learned that the best defense is a good offence. "What are you doing here?"
"I need to speak with the pope," the girl answered casually, walking over to the window, "what are you doing here?"
He responded. "Family emergency."
There was a brief pause, and then the two met eyes.
"How did you figure it out?"
"I strolled out of a Best Buy with eleven flatscreen televisions. How about you?"
It got awkward pretty fast, so he made some excuse about being an astronaut and left a few minutes later. Sometimes he wishes he had asked her for a number.