Everybody cheats. No, we're not talking about in a sexual way -- this ain't Cosmo. We're talking, say, fudging a few cents on your tax return or sneaking some notes into the exam room, or maybe making sure your friend got the shitty controller when he came over to play Smash Bros. But there's a momentous difference between finagling your way to the top of your fantasy football league, and defrauding your way into a job where you're responsible for other people's lives.
Yet, in positions that decide life and death, you still find people cheating their way into the job. And it's way too fucking easy.
5The People Babysitting Our Nukes Cheat on Proficiency Tests
Alessio Bogani/iStock/Getty Images
Chances are you don't give nukes a whole lot of thought -- the Cold War is over and done with, after all -- but by some estimates, the U.S. is still sitting on over 7,000 nuclear warheads. And when you've got that many apocalypse rockets sitting around collecting dust, you've also got to employ a well-trained staff to keep an eye on them and make sure they don't, you know, stop sitting around collecting dust.
Department of Defense
"If our B83s can't drown in cobwebs in peace, then by God, the terrorists have truly won."
Manning an air force nuclear launch station may not have ever been the subject of a badass Tom Cruise movie, but standards and expectations are still somewhere way up in the clouds. These bases aspire to a "zero defect" culture, meaning that the officers at the station are subject to monthly proficiency tests. They're expected to score 100 percent, and anything below 90 percent means failure and getting relegated to polishing the ol' warhead, which is a punishment we just made up because it sounded funny. These extremely high standards, plus low morale led to nearly half of the launch crew at Montana's Malmstrom Air Force Base saying "fuck it" and simply texting each other all the answers -- a fact that only came to light when, holy shit, those very same officers were being investigated for illegal drug use.
Leandro Maldonado/iStock/Getty Images
"Aim high ... real high."
And if you're not huddled beneath your desk just yet, widespread cheating on security exams also compromised the safety of nuclear materials at the Y-12 National Security Complex near Oak Ridge, Tennessee (aka one of the places that produced the Big Ones we dropped on Japan during World War II), where an 82-year-old nun was able to stroll right up to a building containing bomb-grade uranium and splash blood all over it, because apparently when nuns vandalize things they do it in the creepiest manner possible.
The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images
"The blood of Christ be with us. The blood of diseased pigs and rats be with you."
We're not quite done yet, because this cheating-enabled nuclear peril doesn't end with weapons facilities, but extends to nuclear reactor-powered aircraft carriers as well. Several Navy crewmen aboard the USS Nimitz were so busy working 100-hour weeks that they "cheated on tests of their technical knowledge of the aircraft carrier's nuclear reactor operations and procedures." And it's probably good for all of us that they came clean, too, because they had also strongly considered sabotaging the ship's reactor ... just so they could get a day off.
Those fantasy football teams won't manage themselves, after all.
4Thousands of Doctors Cheated to Get Their Job
When you entrust someone with the very survival of your mortal meatsack, you really hope that person went through some head-scratchingly difficult assessments of his or her knowledge in order to earn the privilege to look at that weird rash on your junk. And, to be certain, they did ... what's not so certain is whether they knew all those answers, or if they simply had enough scratch to be able to afford them.
There are four main tests required to achieve a physician's license, and back in the mid-1980s, the FBI discovered that physician wannabes were rampantly cheating on three of them. It seems a student could either A) study his or her ass off, or B) cough up $50,000 to buy a stolen copy of the test and memorize it. And if they happened to be one of the lucky first few buyers, they could recoup their investment by reselling it to a secondary group of students for 10 grand a pop, who could then turn around and sell it for five grand in a scheme that one doctor described as "just like cutting heroin" -- otherwise known as the exact opposite of the type of behavior one wishes to observe in young people who aspire to a career in prescribing drugs.
Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty
"Take two every four hours, but take four every two hours if you want to get real fucked up."
And the cheating was even more prevalent in those who attended foreign medical schools. See, American medical schools are goddamn difficult to get into -- there are scads of hopefuls attempting to claw their way into a scarce few openings -- so students who can't get into a school at home will often complete their studies abroad. And when officials with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates took a close look at the exams from foreign med school graduates applying for American internships and residencies (a test that only one in three normally pass), they found that anywhere from a quarter to over half of them cheated.
The others simply insisted that "Ooh-ee-ooh-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang" was a legitimate cure for a broken leg.
"But that all happened forever ago!" you say. "Why should I be worried about it now?" And to that we say, first of all, that the '80s were not forever ago (now get off our lawn). And secondly: think about your doctor. How old is he or she? If he's, say, in his mid-50s, he would have been in his residency right around the time all this wanton cheating was going down. And just to illustrate that this medical test fuckery didn't end way back when, a 2012 investigation by CNN revealed that dishonest radiologists -- you know, the people who make a living pelting your body with potentially deadly and/or superpower-inducing doctor rays -- have been sharing the answers to their certification exams for who knows how long.
"They got this section on Cancer, but I'm a Gemini. Little help?"
It's like a grown-up version of your middle school "study guide" racket, if little Jimmy from sixth grade was who you trusted to reinsert your spleen after a motorcycle accident.