Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Conditioning of Mr. Know-It-All

   So…there I was wondering about what I would talk about this month. I was scouring my brain for recent experiences and lessons learned for discussing, when life simply presented me with the content I was looking for. It’s wonderful how things fall into place and all you have to do is be open and aware to capture the opportunity.

   Let me start off by saying that there is a good chance we all know someone that thinks they have all the answers, or knows everything there is to know (no matter how illogical such a fallacy is presented). We also probably know someone, or are ourselves, so conditioned in a certain circumstance as to be unwavering in our routine, even when it’s completely appropriate to do so. All that said, I’m not really writing this to tear anyone down, but if a careful observation of this experience can help us to look at ourselves in hopes of preventing similar acts, then I think it’s worth discussing.

   Yesterday I was at work talking with a co-worker when they mentioned that their dog had been skunked while taking his 5 am walk. I remarked how it must have been a process cleaning his four legged companion before coming to work (work does not start until 8 am….but the culture of the job sees a majority of the members arrive no later than 7:30 am). He replied that he had not yet cleaned his dog and that he had left the dog outside until his return home the next day.


   I mentioned an option of cleaning his dog and arriving at work by 7:30 am, a two and a half hour window to deal with the issue. He wasn’t hearing it…since he was in the habit of arriving at work at 6 and viewed arriving at 7:30 am as being “late.” But…what about the dog?

   See…he explained to me his history on the job and how he felt he had to present himself, and so ingrained was this passive indoctrination that he could not fathom any deviation from this routine, even for the most unique and extenuating circumstances. But…what about the dog?

   I thought maybe it was me. Perhaps I was not getting the wisdom of his decision, so I asked other co-workers, both dog owners and non-dog owners and all of them said they would have cleaned the dog prior to coming to work. Needless to say, this conversation expanded as word spread and the number of people inquiring with concern and disdain increased. I don’t know if any  impact was made on the conditioning of a man that thinks it reasonable to leave a dog skunked for twenty-four hours just to arrive at work two hours early…and drink coffee.

   As if that wasn’t bad enough, this same co-worker decided my assertion that my genetic makeup did not include Chinese was actually a debatable subject. Logically, I expected him to ask me how I knew such things, but instead he just kept asserting that I did not know…until I told him I’ve had DNA testing. You’d expect such a revelation to end the debate, but when you know it all, the only real end can be that you are right…even when you are wrong.

   Of course…such a humbling did not stop him from making another assertion later on at dinner that I had Italian sausage on my plate, even though I assured him it wasn’t and it’s a well know fact throughout my job that I don’t eat meat. 

“I know Italian sausage when I see it”

   Apparently not…as it is Lightlife Gimme Lean meatless veggie sausage (and tastes oh so good). Seriously though, you can’t make this stuff up and the twist is that he is an older man you would think is given to careful contemplation through wisdom…but age does to equal wisdom, and thinking you have the answers does not equal contemplation.

   Learning is a life-long process…and ignorance is ultimately willful.

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