Well, it's pretty darn clear -- the army needs to totally rethink basic training. It is no longer enough to teach soldiers how to march, how to salute and how to shoot. These days, soldiers also need to know how to have an affair.

I don't know who is going to teach this vital skill. Somehow, I can't see the archetypical drill sergeant passing on the subtleties of clandestine love. Ordinarily, I would suggest outsourcing the subject to a government agency that specializes in secrecy -- like the CIA.

Don't think that is going to work either.

All this leaves me to suggest the army leaves the training to Lizzie Crocker, a researcher and reporter for "The Daily Beast." It was in the Beast that Lizzie wrote, "Rules David Patraeus Broke: Seven Tips for a Top-Secret Affair."

With Lizzie's rules, even a mildly sadistic drill sergeant can teach raw recruits how to become successful philanderers. And if we can teach the privates how to keep an affair private, maybe, someday, even the generals will catch on.

OK, troops -- let me hear you sound off.

1. "Don't write anything in an email that you hope to keep quiet."

This may come as a shock to many people, but email messages are somewhat less secure than the gold in Fort Knox. If they're not found on the hard drive of your paramour or captured in transit by eavesdropping cyber-elves, they will be stored on your own computer and available 24/7 to any passing nerd or government agent. So, if you insist on emailing to your amorata, don't open the door to an FBI agent, especially if he is shirtless.

2. "Communicate furtively on the phone."

You have to be diligent if you want to enjoy a worry-free dalliance. Before you leave those salacious voice messages your love bug so enjoys, fill your mouth with marbles or M&Ms or cheeseburgers. That way, all that will be left on your darling's answering machine is incomprehensible mumbling, which they will instantly identify as Ozzie Osbourne, or y-o-u.

3. "Develop a cheating 'strategy' and make it your new religion."

Fooling around must be taken seriously. Before you start your affair, memorize a list of excuses. Flash cards can help here. Be especially careful not to overuse an excuse, such as "I have to work late." Everyone knows that you never work, late or early. Also, watch out for the "I have a doctor's appointment" excuse. Your boss, at home or at the office, may demand a doctor's note or a diagnosis. And no -- "crazy," won't cut it.

4. "Make time for cheating."

There's nothing casual about casual sex. Put your illicit rendezvous on your calendar and sync it with your iPad, your iPhone and your iDivorceAttorney. Treat your cheating time as a hobby, explaining your hours out of the house or the office with an easily explainable activity, such as taking judo lessons or meeting with your scrapbooking club. Just be sure you can prove your presence at this bogus activity. Come home from scrapbooking with library paste on your fingers. Come home from judo with contusions and concussions. (If you can't manage the contusions and concussions, don't worry -- your spouse will provide them.)

5. "Perfect your poker face."

With all the hours you spend "scrapbooking" (nudge-nudge), your spouse may begin to feel unloved. That means you may have to turn on the lovin' to turn off the suspicions. This may not be easy after all that "scrapbooking" (nudge-nudge), but you don't have a choice if you don't want to be found out. Who knows? You might actually enjoy sex with your spouse. Of course, you'll have to find a good excuse so your lover won't get jealous.

6. "Always pay with cash."

You don't want your illicit activities to show up on your credit card bill. On the other hand, those Jeroboams of Chateau Melvin Champagne at the No-Tell Motel could add up to a lot of miles, which you may need when you have to fly to Argentina to escape your angry spouse.

7. "Don't screw around with someone at work."

Your loyal co-workers already think you're a lazy, worthless barnacle who should have been fired long ago. Don't give them the ammunition to make it happen. If you must mess around with a co-worker, make it someone in HR. They're not very attractive, and they're not very sexy, but when it's time to fire your sorry butt, they'll do it with love.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com. To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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