They say a lot of things, and one of the things they say is that there exists a species of hominid known as The Expert. Maybe it’s more of a tribe, really. An eternal secret society.
I picture them now – The Experts, I mean – standing around somewhere, experting. They’re wearing woolen hoods. Dark, woolen robes. The robes are tied at the waist with long golden ropes. You can’t see their faces, and if you did see their faces, you’d probably turn to stone for all the wisdom coming at you. And the eyes, the eyes sparkle with the knowledge that is full to bursting in the space behind them.
There might be nimbuses involved.
These Experts, we don’t ever really see them, of course. You don’t and I don’t, that is. It’s probably because we don’t hang out in the right places – we don’t hang out in ivory towers, on mountain tops, or wherever it is The Experts in those aforementioned long, dark woolen robes, with their hidden eyes, wherever it is they all hang out.
Would you… could you… ever deign to join their ranks?
Out here – in the mean world of flesh and blood and cum and virus – I can’t find any Experts. Not even one. Not even using a flashlight, a rape whistle, and a pick axe or two. Not even a lousy mid-grade journeyman Expert who hasn’t earned his robe yet. Out here, I can’t even find anybody who can help me locate the rogue sheet of paper in the copy machine when the copy machine gets jammed.
Seven people standing around, toner up to their elbows, shaking their heads sadly.
And then the Copy Machine Man comes out and for a moment, you think, “Aha! Finally! The Copy Machine Man! Maybe he’s one of The Experts.” You think maybe he is just on the downlow. Like he’s trying to throw everybody off by wearing a nametag and a clip-on tie instead of a dark, woolen hood. Clark Kent with a staple puller.
But five minutes later and he’s yelling at you – yelling at what is now a crowd of eleven employees moping around the copy machine. He’s yelling, “Your problem is you’re using bad paper! So long as you use bad paper, you’re going to keep having paper jams!”
Bad paper? But it only gets jammed once every other month. Is the paper moody?
Bad paper? Hey, don’t blame me, buddy. I didn’t make it. The package said “Hi Quality!” The “Hi” was emphasized. Blame the trees, I guess.
Q: What are you rebelling against, Bad Paper?
A: What’ve ya got?
Online, though, it’s a-whole-nother story. Online, everybody is one of The Experts. And not in just in one area – oh no! – these folks are all among the Universal Brotherhood of The Experts on Everything. Just check out the comments section of any news site and you’ll see ‘em. I don’t know how they do so much typing. Those woolen hoods must be a bitch to keep from blocking the view of the monitor.
Politics, law, and medicine.
Economics, history, and automotive repair. Chemistry. Astrophysics. Any religion you can name or any religion that has ever existed or any religion that anybody’s ever dreamed of starting up!
They are all Experts on birth certificates. Statistics and botany and micro-psychopharmacology! Linguistics and electrical engineering and carpentry, welding, and glass-blowing, too!
They are online every day, 24 hours a day and seven days a week because, as you would expect, The Experts are all independently wealthy and do not need to work. And most of them post anonymously, just giving this knowledge away! That’s because they are so modest, I suppose…
Online, everybody is the smartest person in the room.
The other day, I was reading a blog and the blog was about huge population changes here in the Western world. About who’s having kids, who’s not. And I have to say, it was sure interesting stuff and the kind of information I’d never be able to cite for you, or not off the top of my head, anyway. I commented on it, because when someone puts time in to posting a blog and I put time in to reading it, I figure, hell, they deserve at least a “Hi”…
So I read and I thunk, and then I gathered up all my nerve, put my fingers to the keys and I posted this comment:
“That is some wild stuff. The thing is, when it comes to future population changes, I don’t think we have a model to base any predictions on. So we don’t know what these changes will do on down the line. Climatologist James Lovelock says that the earth can probably permanently sustain 100 million people living at a 1st world standard of living, but there’s no way to know for sure! What will 2052 look like?”
And this blogger, he wrote back to me. He wrote:
“That’s hogwash. Lovelock is an idiot. EVERYBODY KNOWS that the more the Earth’s population increases, the less UNDERpopulated the planet becomes. I have studied this extensively. There doesn’t need to be a model to prove that. You commies and your eco-religions are wasting my valuable time!”
It turns out this guy was one of The Experts! He did not need a model. I had wasted his valuable time.
I am not an Expert on anything.
But I’m looking out the window today and I am watching all of the people who are walking along the downtown Houston streets. There sure are a lot of them! Watching all of these people go by, it makes me wonder: Which ones are The Experts? I mean, what does an Expert look like when he’s not wearing his woolen robe?
How about that guy over right over there? The one wearing the sideways baseball cap and typing on his iPhone. Could he be the 4-star General/Purple Heart recipient/economics PhD/black belt in karate who spends 22 hours a day telling other commenters on World Net Daily how the liberal media has lied to them about everything?
Could the woman wearing a winter coat in hundred-degree weather be the one who could finally rig up my cable box so I don’t lose the signal every time it sprinkles outside?
Could that kid with the iPad make my Bad Paper go Good?
Experts are everywhere, but you can never find one when you need one.
Maybe we all just need to start wearing nametags listing our areas of personal expertise…