On Sneakiness: Reclaiming the art of being sneaky for good, not evil

Sneakiness is often associated with badness. For example, we all know that robbers sneak about in the night and mice sneak into kitchens to steal crumbs. We believe that to sneak is to perform an act of deceit or betrayal. But perhaps it is not the sneakiness that is evil here. A robber could still rob houses at night by being loud and obvious rather than sneaky. And mice could still enter a kitchen with fanfare and trumpets rather than with sneakiness. It’s just that sneakiness makes it easier for badness to go unnoticed.

There are plenty of good people who sometimes act sneakily. Ballerinas, for example. They sneak across the ballet stage on their tippy toes trying not to be heard. And yet ballerinas are good people, even if their clothes are often a few sizes too small for them. This in itself almost proves the point – sneakiness doesn’t cause badness, badness causes badness.

So it is about time we reclaimed the art of being sneaky to the good side of the force. And there are plenty of good reasons to be sneaky. For example, you may want to sneak a bunch of flowers into the letterbox of your favourite boy/girl. Or you may want to sneak up on a friend with hiccups and scare them. Or you may want to sneak away from your mother before you hurt her feelings by saying you don’t like it when she licks a tissue and cleans your face.

Now some people say that sneakiness is used to spy on people. And spying is bad. But spying, like sneaking, can be good. Just think of all the good spies there are – Maxwell Smart, Harriet the Spy, the Spy Kids and the Spy Kids in 3D, among many others. Even the Famous Five did their fair share of spying and those kids were made of pure good.

So if we are going to properly reclaim sneakiness from the kidnappers and politicians of the world, we must learn the art of sneaking inside out. And despite all this talk of creeping about in the dark, the best way to be sneaky is not to be sneaky at all. Because the best sneaking happens when nobody realises there’s sneaking afoot.

Firstly, do not walk around on your tippy toes with a hunched back. This is a dead giveaway that someone is being sneaky. Walk with your back straight like a lighthouse and your feet flat like the ocean. No one ever suspects right angles of being sneaky. Also, don’t smile while you’re sneaking. Smiling is for people who have something to hide. And for happy people. But mostly for those hiding something.

Secondly, don’t try to be sneaky by hiding. Only cartoon characters can get away with carrying a bush around and hiding behind it whenever anyone looks at them.

As you can see above, blending in with your surroundings is the best way to be sneaky. It’s the perfect way to hide the fact that there’s sneaking afoot. So if you’re at a skateboard ramp, strap on some kneepads. If you’re in a library, talk in a hushed voice when you’re on the phone. If you’re at the ballet, walk around on your tippy toes. Actually scrap that last one.

If we all concentrate on being sneaky in the appropriate ways and for the appropriate reasons, I’m confident we can take sneakiness back from the rodents and bogeymen of society and move about unnoticed (ie. sneak) in the name of good, not evil. Who knows, sneakiness may even save the world one day. Although the sneakiness involved in saving the world would probably be so excellent that we wouldn’t even realise there was sneaking afoot.

(Special thanks to Leanne Hall for her appearance in the controlled-sneaking experiment photos)

4 thoughts on “On Sneakiness: Reclaiming the art of being sneaky for good, not evil”

  1. This is a most excellent introduction to the art of sneaking. Another tactic I’d employ is to take on the appearance of a henchman.

    Nobody ever suspects a henchman of doing anything more than patrolling about, making sure all the henches are in place.

    Also, chameleons are very sneaky, yet you wouldn’t call them evil. I think we need to call a meeting with prominent chameleons to get some sneaking tips.

  2. Nicki Greenberg has an upcoming book for babies about naughty monkeys, which features a chameleon. The chameleon is based on a true person: Poppy. Poppy is DEFINITELY not evil. Therefore Andrew’s post above is true. Bravo, Andrew. Bravo.

  3. Excellent work. Particularly enjoyed your wrap-up:
    “Who knows, sneakiness may even save the world one day. Although the sneakiness involved in saving the world would probably be so excellent that we wouldn’t even realise there was sneaking afoot.”

    All too true.

    Perhaps you have another example or two of some good things sneakiness could be used for. Apart from saving the world maybe. What are you sneaking about for today? And what did you sneak in the above photo? It looks edible?

    At present I am sneakily working through the bills and balancing the books. Is there a good way to sneak out of such things? Later I hope to sneak my kiddos into a swimming pool if they don’t object. These are altogether good things overall.
    Here’s to sneaking and the reclaimed art of such.

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