Too Good to Be True? - Ecotrain's Question of the Week

Being back in a place, which for all its shortcomings provides me with generally pleasant temperatures and humidity, usually reliable internet, and most importantly lots of opportunities for sitting or lying down without getting dirty or being eaten up by insects. Oh, the simple pleasures of life...! It's only appropriate that under these conditions I get back into the habit of answering the QOTWs.

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(Not) Too Good to Be True

This week's QOTW by @ecotrain wants us to relate our experiences where we encountered a classical case of too good to be true but in the end it wasn't. Wow, I could not have returned to a more challenging prompt! Here's why I think so:

Life is Too Good / Too Bad to Be True... But Many Time It Isn't

Yes, I have heard my share of precautionary tales of situations that seem just simply too good to be true, and in the end they turn out to be. Usually, this involves some con-artist-types setting up such a situation on purpose, in order to cheat gullible people out of their money. No doubt about that. But at the same time, there are at least as many stories showing the opposite: how life can indeed seem like a too good to be true scam, until it turns out to be completely real, offering you to have your cake and eat it at the same time, or similar incredible deals.

Exceptional High School Exchange

One of my first encounters with an unbelievably favorable situation happened during my exchange year at a high school in the US. Starting at my arrival, I had been insisting on wanting to graduate, even though I had only completed grade nine in Germany the previous year. At the same time, the board of education insisted that as an exchange student I'd have to attend grade eleven.

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In the end I sat down with a few competent heads to transcribe all the classes I had taken in Germany and the grades I had received into the American system. The result was, as it turned out, that I had already completed almost all of my requirements to graduate. (Thanks to the insanely high standards of the Bavarian education system.) Other than a US government and US history class, I could fill my schedule with a relaxing guitar class, or challenge myself with college level courses. Sweet! So in the end they did let me graduate, though for a long time I was convinced there was a catch somewhere... It never materialized.

Hitchhiking: Going All The Way!

Catching rides as a teenager contributed to teaching me the same lesson: we just don't know what might be coming around any moment. Sure at times I had to stand hours in one place, getting rained on being burned up by the sun... but then, suddenly a ride may appear who offers to take me all the way to the coast, or wherever I was headed.

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Sometimes, particularly in Germany, this ride could be an "spaceship", as we liked to refer to slick BMWs or Audis, cruising somewhere between 200 and 300 km/h. Or it could be a colorful bus full of fun-loving people, who you may share the next couple of days with. I've had it all, but most importantly, you never know about the if and when, or about the cases when in fact the offer can be too good to be true. Always keep your whits up when hitching, but at other times too! Life does have its dangers.

The Perfect Job Does Exist

Another example in this regard I would like to mention is job with excellent conditions I once landed (almost). It was not too good to be true, only for me. Still, I think it's not completely out of place here. It happened in 2005, when I first tried to work as an ESL teacher in Mexico, just after getting my teaching certificate. Following a rumor about the UMAR university on the coast of Oaxaca, I spent a few days riding buses all the way down to the region of Mazunte, Zipolite, Puerto Angel, etc. I didn't even have an appointment, only showed up at the language department, inquiring about openings.

The American looking department leader called me into her office excitedly, explaining how they had four openings and that I would be paid 10,000 pesos a month. Not a bad way to start a job interview! Back than it was worth around a thousand USD, but seeing the local prices, it would go a much longer way. I remember 50 pesos was what I paid for a night in a comfy cabin, 50 pesos for a meal at a restaurant, and 50 pesos for the beer and smokes I'd consume in an evening.

The deal became even sweeter when she told me that I was expected to spend merely twelve hours a week in the classroom. Additionally, it would nice (not a requirement by any means) if I could spend about eight hours a week in my office, in case my students had any questions. An office? Sure, I'd have a fully equipped office with teaching supplies, a computer, internet... Of course, under these conditons I promised I'd be there at least for those eight hours a week, if not more.

Another perk that I didn't even know how to appreciate back then was that they would take care of all my work permit, something that many foreign teachers struggled with, as their employers had them do the whole bureaucratic rigmarole. So I felt pretty good: I'd find a nice chilled placed to live, teach a little every day, and hang out at the beach bars, learn to surf, enjoy the good life, while earning and saving money.

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In the end this whole story turned out to be true to the letter, except for I was not eligible for the job due to my German nationality. What an irony! Still, for citizens of the only seven English speaking countries in the world (US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) this was all true. I even told an American friend and colleague of mine about it, and she actually went there and tried it. Certainly, there were a few things she did not like about that job, but at least every single part of that offer was as good as it was true.

Insane Deals in the Cryptosphere

Finally, to close this list with an example blockchain bloggers can relate to, I want to mention the few lucky breaks I had dabbling in cryptos. When I first bought into Bitcoin, its price was just under 2000 USD. Though I was ready for crazy volatility, I'm glad to say that neither of its price drops reached that level ever since. That alone is something worth mentioning, especially for this QOTW. But looking carefully, I remember a number of similar cases. The Digibyte pump-and-dump, where I bought and sold at the most perfect moments. The hardfork that brought us Bitcoin Cash. And last but not least, the recent fork that created HIVE. Sure, it quadrupled the value of my blog, but that's just part of it.

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Could a dedicated group of users and coders organize themselves against some tech-giant-millionaire to counter getting bought out, simply by starting a new blockchain? Now we know they can! Though honestly, this seems awfully like a utopian fairy-tale. But it's not! And that's the point to take home and ponder: Life is soooo full of cases where a situation just looks like it's so good that it simply can't be true, but in fact it is. So why rob ourselves of these wonderful opportunities? Let's be vigilant to avoid actual dangers, while at the same time let's not doubt the abundance that life just may want to bestow on us.

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