The Duncan Banner

October 14, 2012

We’re lucky to live in a society of ‘experts’?

The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — This journey into elderdom is turning into a real adventure. Now I have to write sticky notes to remind myself where I’ve stashed the other sticky notes that serve as my memory:

I never cease to be amazed by how many people are certain they “know what the American people think” or their opinion is “what everybody around here believes.”

Am not talking about radio talk show hosts, news analysts on TV, newspaper columnists or politicians — those know-it-alls get paid to be pompous.

I’m talking about someone like, oh, a next door neighbor you encounter at the back fence. He proceeds to pontificate on every subject from health care to immigration; from how to fix a leaky faucet to how to improve public schools; from how the street department screwed up repairing potholes to what the Founding Fathers were thinking when they drew up the Constitution.

If these folks can find one other person who agrees with their, uh, expertise — a spouse, a friend, a talk show host, someone on the other side of the fence, etc. — it validates their self-appointed status as the representative of “what the American people think” or “what everybody around here believes.”

One thing about living in a free country: Anybody can declare themselves an expert on any subject they choose, because there’s no law against pretentious self-delusion.

Of course, I’m not including myself in this group of sanctimonious windbags.

- “Boy, I’ve got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.” A line by Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.

- Is every exciting kickoff or punt return in college and pro football called back because of a holding or illegal blocking penalty? Or does it just seem that way?

- I still don’t care to eat it, but okra has been used to increase a cow’s milk yield, to stanch bleeding, to clean metal and even to unstop drains. (Cleaning metal and unstopping drains may be why I shy away from ingesting okra.)

- Be careful when someone says they love you just the way you are. It’s a sure sign they settle too easily.

- Back in pre-camera days, one’s image was either sculpted or painted. When portrait painters were setting their price, it wasn’t based on how many people were in the picture, it was set by how many human limbs had to be painted. Hence came the expression, “It’ll cost you an arm and a leg.”

- Among the wonderful insights scribbled by the late Chicago journalist Sydney J. Harris was this: “If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?”

- Didyaknow the first televised football game was a clash between Fordham University and Waynesburg College in 1939? Fordham’s Rams battered the Yellow Jackets from Ol’ Waynesburg, 34-7.

- Which is correct: “ever so often” or “every so often”? Actually, both. According to The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, “ever so often” is used when referring to “a great many times,” while “every so often” is used in reference to “once in a while.”

- Publicity is like arsenic — it won’t poison you if you don’t swallow it.

- There’s a thin line between colorful, eccentric characters and people you hope won’t reproduce — and both species can be found after midnight in the aisles of all-night department stores.

- Count me among those who think Tony Romo would be considered one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL if he was surrounded by a better team. Let’s face it, since winning their last Super Bowl in 1993, “average” and “disappointing” have defined the Dallas Cowboys.

- I’m always suspicious when someone says they want to revise “revisionist history.” The usual motivation is because they don’t think “revisionist history” tells the story the way they want it told.

History is fluid; there’s facts, and then there’s perception and slant added to the facts, usually by the people running the show at the time. It’s always been that way — just ask American Indians.

- “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein said it.

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