Enemies of the Slate: a glance into a life of lying and protein shakes
by Freya Ebeling, Bea Ricketts | June 8, 2023
The stereotypical student must live in rat-infested quarters, survive on PotNoodle, and often tragically turn to side hustles like tutoring and OnlyFans, rather than spend time on more important ventures like making LinkedIn connections and going to Park End.
I was that student, until I found out about PuraLife. The initial fee is only £150 for a starter pack of diet shakes full of a fantastic 45g of protein; sell them onto your friends and you’ll be making thousands in no time. I personally expect to retire my parents and pay off their mortgage within the month. Ask fewer questions, make more cash!
No, do not be silly. This is not a pyramid scheme. It is a multi-level marketing scheme.
With this sales pitch we had several Oxford Union hacks ready to open up their wallets. Here’s how our duo’s scheming made us Enemies of the Slate.
The idea for our secret life was conceived at a speed dating event at the Oxford Union, where the scenes were – as expected – rather dismal. Now, given that neither of us had a Union membership, we snuck into this event (it was Hilary, and there was nothing better to do). We knew nobody, and let’s just say the polite introductory chit-chat wasn’t particularly riveting. The only way to save this depressing evening was to reinvent ourselves: soon we were personae ranging from a mum of three with a ketamine addiction to a German zookeeper, fanatic about star signs. The latter went down especially well with the male species, who contend with pomposity that astrology is made up. After one too many successful ploys, this innocent escapade became an addiction.
The inevitable next stage in our subterfuge was to birth a permanent character for our Union universe. Our brainchild was Clément, a feisty French exchange student from the XVIième arrondissement of Paris. The fictional Clément was intent to understand what the Oxford Union was from any willing Union hack, but unfortunately, his English was a bit rusty: he could only understand when it was spoken much louder and much more slowly. At a Union “slate social” (of course, we had the jargon down by this point), your average hack will thankfully torture themselves through any length of conversation in the hope of a measly vote. Consider the time we decided to invite our Northern Irish friend to join us. Ironically, she picked up the role of Clément fabulously well, but the heavily accented tones of “bonjour” and “quoi?” were not picked up on by our victims.
It wasn’t long before Clément had developed a mind of his own and went to cause mischief alone, so we needed to devise a new story for ourselves. Now, Harry Hill – he really exists. We all know and love him from his You’ve Been Framed days. And, if you had come across us one fine Michaelmas evening, you would have found out that he’s also our godfather. Unfortunately, according to our tall tale, he’s also a raging alcoholic who eats the raw meat set out for our dog. “No, Harry! That’s for Fido!” we acted out with sobriety.
But Harry Hill was too believable a relative, and we were looking for a greater challenge. So we segued onto what any sane person would do if they were in a bar full of self-important boys in chinos and Ralph Lauren quarter zips: we claimed that Liverpool FC’s sweetheart midfielder Jordan Henderson was our dad. Both being blonde, it wasn’t hard to get the sibling lie across. Now, Union hacks are not always the sharpest tools in the shed, but we were not naïve enough to think that they would eat this up without legitimate receipts. That’s where the ingenious deployment of Snapchat stickers became involved. We never expected to frantically search up “Jordan Henderson in casual clothes selfie with fan” on a Wednesday night, but in a treacherous profession like ours you never know what’s around the corner.
Admittedly, our stories were sometimes forced to screech to a panicked halt. On one occasion, claiming to be cousins of the Union president, we suggested that during childhood he was a founding member of the Rita Ora fan club and had a growing interest in Scientology. It turns out we had been telling this with gusto to none other than the president in question’s sister, who was shocked to discover she had two long-lost cousins.
This honest enterprise has culminated in PuraLife, our most recent invention. It is our beloved protein pyramid scheme, sometimes sold while we claim to be swingers desperately hunting for a third, and maybe even a fourth. Although these two schemes ostensibly have nothing in common, you’d be surprised how many victims gave us their number, or a LinkedIn. Speaking with discretion, Oxfess would have a field day if it knew of some of the hack combinations that agreed to help us spice up our falsified ‘relationship’, or wanted to buy into our ‘multi-level marketing’ scheme. On days fuelled by a protein shake, we sometimes allowed for a crossover in the universe: after a tough day with Harry Hill, Clément orchestrates the swinging with a French flair. Perhaps we fooled everyone, despite their objections that “that’s not how business works”, or “you two don’t look like swingers to me…”. Or perhaps, exasperated with our nonsense and desperate for a vote, these poor hacks chose resignation. They bought us some drinks, nodded in agreement, and joined our invented pyramid scheme just to shut us up.
So, if you ever decide to get into the business of hacking, do look out for a rogue beret amongst the crowds. And if you think all of this would set off alarm bells in your head, maybe hacking isn’t for you.
But that’s enough about us – how about making some quick money on the side? If you’re interested, email [email protected]. See you in Forbes.
Words by Freya Ebeling and Bea Ricketts.