Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mutual Ignorance

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.  Where conversation is concerned, a little bit of knowledge can perpetuate intercourse (sorry, wrong synonym) repartee ad infinitum. Lack of facts on any given subject leads to speculation which, when driven by a few hoppy beverages can fuel a single subject conversation that lasts upwards of ten minutes.
The second someone injects actual facts into the conversation, it immediately shuts the subject down.
I am not the originator of this concept.  I was enlightened by author Patrick McManus many years ago, in one of his deeply philosophical short stories.  While his story was written as humor, the concept is absolutely true.
When I was young, I participated in such conversations.  As I await delivery of my Curmudgeon Union Card, I find I have no patience for such.
I've become adept at discerning ignorance on the part of the other party in a sprouting conversation within one statement or so. If I have insufficient knowledge on the subject at hand, I shut the fuck up, listen, and fact check later.
I've also learned to shut said conversations down by immediately expressing a few facts on the subject as soon as it's my turn to talk. It's a defensive response to manage my acid reflux.
At worst, three facts is the maximum required.  Usually, two will do.
I was reminded of this whole concept this morning by an older associate attempting to discuss current events.
As I'm writing this snarky diatribe, an epiphany fell out of my right ear. I've missed an opportunity to educate a woefully under informed individual.  I could have engaged him in series of leading questions, slowly but gently educating him on the actual facts of the issue at hand, waiting patiently for the light bulb to illuminate.
Nah.  Not enough years left in my life.
It's a Cold Civil War, soldiered by an army of zombies.

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