Scott Adams posted (Wait! Don’t read his post first, or mine won’t seem funny) on the benefits of getting old — one of which is that you appear to others to be smarter than when you were young.
But on the flip side, as you get older you keep finding out just how little you really do know. It’s a long, cruel journey from the teenage delusions of grandeur, through the early adult overconfidence, into the middle-aged realization that you’re just another hairless ape that can type — and not all that well at that. I’m not looking forward to where this is going by the time I retire.
Along the way, life places plenty of opportunities to discover your own ignorance smack in the middle of your path where you’ll stumble over them. But sometimes you just have to go hunting for more anyway.
Like the time a few years ago when I tried out for Jeopardy!
Sitting at home in front of the TV, I can usually get about 80-90% of the questions right depending on the category, so my wife thinks “easy money” and sends me off to a contestant try-out in Seattle. She had my first $100,000 in winnings spent by the time I set foot on the ferry.
The test was comprised of 50 answers on 50 different topics. As each answer was flashed on the screen, you were given about 8 seconds to write (yes, with a pen, for crying out loud) the question. 70% correct required to advance to the next level. That was the toughest test I’d taken since even before college (Mr. Terry’s high school U.S. History exams were the hardest. For example, one question on an eight-page test was “Explain in detail the eleven causes of the War Between the States”).
Anyway, even though I knew that I didn’t get a few of them right, I figured no way I missed more than 15.
But my name was not among the chosen.
What is “dysphoria”.
They let me keep the pen as a souvenir of my humiliation.
I rationalized that perhaps my bad handwriting had occluded the brilliance of my responses. But in the end I had to admit that the primary lampshade involved was composed of the grey matter inside my skull. I’m just not quite as bright as I’d like to believe.
Should we try to become a contestant again? Easy, quick money…!!!
I responded with ‘I like this “we”.’
No, “we” are not going to perform another ritual affirmation of “our” cluelessness.
I’ll take “Wisdom of Silence” for $1000, Alex.