It’s pretty tough to be born smart. There’s a whole lot of science involved (genes, splicing, superconducting super colliders… too complicated to explain, really), and – at least for now – we don’t really have control over how many thinkbeans we get. Luckily, after completing your state-mandated education requirement, actually ‘being smart’ matters not at all; in the real, non-academic world, the thing that really distinguishes the rags-to-riches success stories from the Harvard-educated homeless vagabonds is raw, unfettered bullshit. If you can figure out how to act smart, then, genius, you are smart. It’s a true thing of beauty. Obviously we wouldn’t expect you to be able to accomplish this on your own, so we’ve created this short guide to get you started. Hoooooooly awesome.

Bullshit Bullet Point 1: Argue with Gusto
Arguing like a pro is a one-way ticket to smartsville. You can’t expect to seem smart when you start fiddling with your Blackberry every time the dinner conversation turns to current events; while you may think you’re looking pleasantly aloof, everyone else at the table knows that you have absolutely no clue what anyone’s talking about. However, like masonry or motorcycle repair, arguing is just another skill, albeit one you don’t learn in trade school. Just follow a few simple rules and your friends, coworkers, enemies and frenemies will cower in fear as you come at them with your two-ton truck of verbal hurt.

• Stand your ground
As sure as the sun rises and sets in one direction or another, hesitating during a heated debate will send you packing with a giant neon L-card. At some point during an argument, most people forget what they were talking about in the first place and begin to navigate solely with their seventh ‘winning-at-all-costs’ sense, so the key to success is knowing you’re right, even if you’re wrong. Again: to bullshit your way through an argument, you must believe that you are right, even if, or when, you’re wrong. Think about it: if you’re completely convinced that you’re right, then there’s no way bonehead Joe can argue with what you’re saying, even if he has truth, facts and real knowledge on his side, because you’ll just keep going until he has to concede. 99.9% of arguments are won by people who are so sure they’re right that they’ve convinced themselves (and everyone else) that anything they say is the last word in whatever subject they’re arguing. So, just practice knowing your inherent rightness, and your next argument will end in a shiny, platinum-plated W.

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• Master the game-changers
When attempting to bullshit your way to victory, you need an arsenal of game-changing phrases and actions that can be whipped out when your opponents get too cocky. Just give ‘em a little taste of the beat down they’re about to encounter, should they choose to proceed, and their resolve will melt like a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. Declare things “categorically untrue” (this works for everything); knock over a glass in passionate anger; slam your fist on the table and yell “cretin!” – it’ll stun everyone enough to let you figure out what to do next; and pace back and forth while shaking your head, which really makes people nervous.

Bullshit Bullet Point 2: Beef up your Vocabulary
Have you ever noticed how ‘smart’ people are always slingin’ around big words like cowpokes makin’ ready to wrastle somethin’ to the ground? (Once you start with the old west lingo, it’s damn hard to stop.) Of course you have. You’ve noticed it, and you’ve been annoyed, because it makes your mono-syllabic grunting seem like the stuff of under-developed early man. Thusly, assembling a thick, juicy vocabulary is vital in your quest to appear to have an ounce of intelligence floating around in your head. Here are a few good words that’ll help you in any conversation; make flash cards if you must, but learn them and insert them into your rotation post haste.

• Egregious (ih-gree-jus): adjective meaning outrageously bad. As in, “that last shot at the strip club was an egregious error in judgment.” Use it when you’re talking about things the Bush administration did wrong or how fed up you are with Wall Street bonuses.

• Unequivocal, unequivocally (un-ee-quih-vo-kul, un-ee-quih-vo-kul-lee): adjective or adverb meaning clear and unambiguous. As in, “I unequivocally support the legalization of {insert currently illegal substance here}”. Use it when you talk about what the government needs to do to combat terrorism or turn the economy around.

• Expound (ex-pound): verb meaning to explain further or comment upon. As in, “would you care to expound upon your claim that blondes have more fun?” Use it when you need more time to come up with something smart to say in conversation. It will keep people talking for-ev-er.

• Sovereignty (sah-ver-in-ty): noun meaning the act of controlling oneself, free from outside dictatorship. As in, “please respect my sovereignty and don’t cancel my subscription to xtube”. Use it when discussing whether or not the US should meddle in other countries’ affairs (you can pretty much refer to any country or territory as a ‘sovereign nation’ or ‘sovereign people’, to which there isn’t really a counterpoint. If someone argues against you, just tell them that they’re the reason the US is unable to respect other nation’s sovereignty. Boom.)

Bullshit Trick #3: Take a Stance
Your homework for next week is to brush up on an of-the-moment issue (like health care). In fact, how about you just learn something about health care? Here’s a place to start, and it doesn’t even require a lot of reading. Find two key points to either agree with or disagree with and throw them into every conversation you have on the subject. (Make sure to use your new vocabulary words, too.) Up until now, you probably thought you had to actually know a lot about an issue to converse about it, but it’s actually much simpler than that: all you have to do is be able to quote a few facts and figures and people will think you know way more than you have time to tell them. They’re not going to know anything except what they heard on Fox Business Network anyway, so you can stay well ahead of the curve by knowing 1% more than 99% of the population.

So, there you go, now you’re a little bit better equipped to go out into the world and make like a smarty-pants. If you’re good, there’s even more where that came from. Stick with us and you’ll never be laughed out of another town hall meeting for acting like a crazyface asshat.