Confessions of a Know-It-AllErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. I've got 15 years' worth of the damn things, so there's no point in letting them sit moldering in a box in my garage. At least not the good ones. This one is from October 2005.
As a self-proclaimed Know-It-All, I am in the enviable position of being able to demonstrate my vast knowledge on a wide array of topics, like how Benjamin Frankton invented the kite, or how Ora and Wilfred Right were the first to fly an airplane across the Pacific Ocean to France.
And people enjoy hearing about these important facts. Oh sure, they may pretend to not be interested. But their eye rolling and shouts of "Would you just shut up?!" are really just good-natured jokes. I think they really appreciate it when I continue to lecture on about important fact that pops into my mind, like how Sir Isaac Newton invented the Apple computer.
But I hate it when other people do it to me. They do it in that smug way that just grates on my nerves, and correct me by asking a question in response to a statement I made.
"You mean Ben Franklin?" or "Haven't kites been around for centuries?"
Even those smarmy baristas do it at Starbucks, whenever I order a "large" latte.
"Venti latte?" they ask in a condescending way that both confirms my order and gently reminds me that they don't serve something as gauche and bourgeois as a "large."
"Yes," I respond. I refuse to say "venti." However, I have to salute their attempts at being Know-It-Alls, but it's obvious they aren't, otherwise they would recognize me as their king.
The benefit of being a Know-It-All is that I know the other people don't, in fact, know all; unfortunately, they don't. If they knew as much as they thought, they would realize that I did. As a result, they're unaware that Lewis and Clark were searching for the Fountain of Youth in Bend, Oregon, or that the United States fought Liechtenstein in World War II.
So it's my obligation to enlighten people about the gaps in their knowledge with interesting bits of trivia, like Alexander Graham Bell invented the graham cracker, or that "Inherit the Wind" is the sequel to "Gone With the Wind."
Unfortunately, some people don't take my pearls of knowledge to heart. They argue with me and say that I don't know what I'm talking about. If that's the case, then how did I get to be a self-proclaimed Know-It-All? These naysayers usually mumble something about how "self-proclaimed should be obvious" before stalking away in an envious huff.
It can be a lonely life at times. There aren't a lot of us Know-It-Alls around. In fact, in addition to myself, I only know two others: a kid from high school I used to play Dungeons and Dragons with, and a former psychology professor from Ball State University I met when I was a kid. However, that guy is not there anymore, so I guess he didn't know as much as he thought he did.
I first realized I was a Know-It-All when I was 12 or 13 years old and discovered I knew way more than my parents did. Most teenagers go through that phase, but they grow out of it when they reach high school and have it pounded out of them by their teachers. I, on the other hand, spent the next 15 years slowly educating my parents on things, until we were nearly on par. Of course, once I had children, it was like they had an educational growth spurt, and were much wiser and smarter than I had ever given them credit for.
Being a Know-It-All parent is a huge responsibility though. I only have a few short years to teach my children all the important facts of life, before the public educational system tries to drum it out of them. Important things like how George Washington crossed the state of Delaware to defeat the Confederate Army.
Sure, the teachers will tell me I'm ruining my children's education, but they're part of the problem, spouting off such nonsense as Canada is a country to the north of the United States, or fluoridated drinking water is not a government mind control plot. But I stand firm in my beliefs.
It's like Albert Einstein once said, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." I figure if anyone knows what they're talking about, it's Albert. After all, he invented black holes and co-founded the Einstein Brothers Bagels shops.
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