Bob Goldman

Well, it's pretty darn clear -- the army needs to totally rethink basic training. It is no longer enough to teach soldiers how to march, how to salute and how to shoot. These days, soldiers also need to know how to have an affair.

I don't know who is going to teach this vital skill. Somehow, I can't see the archetypical drill sergeant passing on the subtleties of clandestine love. Ordinarily, I would suggest outsourcing the subject to a government agency that specializes in secrecy -- like the CIA.

Don't think that is going to work either.

All this leaves me to suggest the army leaves the training to Lizzie Crocker, a researcher and reporter for "The Daily Beast." It was in the Beast that Lizzie wrote, "Rules David Patraeus Broke: Seven Tips for a Top-Secret Affair."

With Lizzie's rules, even a mildly sadistic drill sergeant can teach raw recruits how to become successful philanderers. And if we can teach the privates how to keep an affair private, maybe, someday, even the generals will catch on.

OK, troops -- let me hear you sound off.

1. "Don't write anything in an email that you hope to keep quiet."

This may come as a shock to many people, but email messages are somewhat less secure than the gold in Fort Knox. If they're not found on the hard drive of your paramour or captured in transit by eavesdropping cyber-elves, they will be stored on your own computer and available 24/7 to any passing nerd or government agent. So, if you insist on emailing to your amorata, don't open the door to an FBI agent, especially if he is shirtless.

2. "Communicate furtively on the phone."

You have to be diligent if you want to enjoy a worry-free dalliance. Before you leave those salacious voice messages your love bug so enjoys, fill your mouth with marbles or M&Ms or cheeseburgers. That way, all that will be left on your darling's answering machine is incomprehensible mumbling, which they will instantly identify as Ozzie Osbourne, or y-o-u.

3. "Develop a cheating 'strategy' and make it your new religion."

Fooling around must be taken seriously. Before you start your affair, memorize a list of excuses. Flash cards can help here. Be especially careful not to overuse an excuse, such as "I have to work late." Everyone knows that you never work, late or early. Also, watch out for the "I have a doctor's appointment" excuse. Your boss, at home or at the office, may demand a doctor's note or a diagnosis. And no -- "crazy," won't cut it.

4. "Make time for cheating."

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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