What Is an Expert? It Ain’t Me, Babe

Once a week I play trivia at my ‘hood bar and grill not only because I like the food, the camaraderie, and the challenge, but because I’ve collected years of worthless information in my head. Make no mistake, I could never be a Jeopardy champion, but I did have a liberal arts undergraduate college education. I know a little about a lot of things; yet, I’m a master of none. Fortunately, I play on a team of four to six people with different careers and of vast age differences. Of course, some times we argue or negotiate about an answer, but the team member with the most conviction and expertise usually prevails. In fact, last week I insisted. The discussion went back and forth to the point I declared,”My answer is correct. If not, I’ll buy dinner!” Everyone acquiesced, and I was right.

In direct contrast, I had a chat last week with a friend, whose daughter is a resident in a local children’s hospital. Her daughter is not only a talented singer, dancer, and actress, but a physician to be. Her end goal has always been to become a pediatric physician, who could not only heal, but entertain children in need. However, she recently revised her plan and has applied across the country for Neo-natal fellowships. Why? She’d be just what the doctor ordered for children!

“Mom and Dad, as you know I’ve wanted to be a pediatrician since I was six years old, I love kids. But I can’t.”


“I can’t deal with Know-it-all parents who question my suggested treatment. I’m spending far much time justifying my care plan and listening to their arguments against it. I’m so tempted to say to them ‘Why did you bring Johnny to see me if you know what to do about his ear infection?’ At least in the Neo-natal unit, I can exercise my best judgment for infants.”

These days I find myself flinging words like: unbelievable, appalling, disgusting, and mind-blowing. In last two years, unbeknownst to me, there emerged a new intelligentsia who proclaims to know everything about everything. Even though most dictionaries define an expert as: “one with a special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject, albeit a specialist or an authority.” However, the Urban Dictionary definition may be more fitting today: “an expert is someone who think he knows how to do something, but actually just screwed everything up.”

Think about it.

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