What do you call it when the people who are supposed to save the day, the so-called “experts,” fail to perform when the chips are down? There has got to be a terminology for that. For now, I’m going to go with the phrase “expert failure” or EF.
Example: “Yup. Things certainly went to shit. They EF’d up.”
In the excellent book Jurassic Park the character Ian Malcolm, a mathematician specializing in “chaos theory,” correctly predicts the failed hubris of the undertaking. (Also in the book the character John Hammond, the visionary, is ironically eaten by his creations. That tasty tidbit didn’t make it into the movie.) The genius of Michael Crichton’s book has nothing to do with dinosaurs. As Wikipedia puts it, the story is a “metaphor of collapse.”
Expert failure works like this:
- Only we are brilliant enough to design and breed dinosaurs. You are not brilliant by a long shot. Oops. The dinosaurs got out. Bad shit happens. Our bad.
- A virus enters the country. The hospitals and specialists we depend on for our very lives fail to follow basic protocols. (In unrelated news, studies have shown that 10 to 80 percent of ICU doctors fail to engage in sanitary hand washing as directed. Because, of course, they know better.)
- A politician says, “Doing ABC will lead to XYZ.” When that doesn’t happen, he adds, “Obviously we need a lot more of ABC. We have to give my policies a chance to work.”
- Your financial consultant advises you to invest heavily in Guru Of Negativity (ticker: GON) holdings and you lose your shirt.
- A baseball teams spends $50 million on a single player (cutting other players from the team to make this possible). Later, in game seven of the World Series, bottom of ninth, two outs, full count, bases loaded, trailing by one run the fellow whiffs flailingly at three straight pitches in the dirt and strikes out.
That last example is my personal favorite because I could have easily matched that performance for at least half price. Show me the money!
What else have experts gotten wrong? FEMA? Vietnam? The financial crisis? Mortgage-backed securities? Bridges? Stampedes at religious gatherings? Platforms at state fairs? Fires in disco clubs? Interfering in the civil wars of other countries?
The list is long and distinguished.
So now we look to experts to clean up the messes that were created by the same and/or previous experts. I’m no expert but I say that sucks. When you’re stuck on your the tippy-top of your roof and the water is lapping at your toes, just remember this: There is no expert correction fairy who will swoop in and save your bacon.
Ultimately, no matter what the experts would like you to believe, you’re on your own.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to change into my baseball uniform. You can depend on me.
Things fall apart. The center does not hold. –Yeats
So the other day I was reading this article about poop and thongs (it’s my way) when a line of text reached out and grabbed me:
Wipe thoroughly but gently. Too much friction may cause microtears, which are more prone to infection if fecal matter gets inside them.
If you’re anything like me (and you’re probably not) your first reaction might be, “Hey, motherfucker! That’s some goddamned useful information.”
My lot in life is to be behind the times and bring up the rear.
Now I understand as well as the next person that in our fear-based taboo-driven culture we’re supposed to figure out most valuable life knowledge via “self-exploration.” But where do we draw the line? Perchance maybe this nugget of wisdom should have risen to the level of being lore that might have been passed on?
Young people have to rely on adults to share the true mysteries of life. We simply aren’t born with the ability to glean it all on our own.
Where adults fail, education is supposed to finish the job. Yet, somehow, none of my classes ever got around to a topic like this. Not health class. Not home economics. Not wood shop. Not even my favorite class, Septics 201.
Now, in my twilight hours, I’m forced to rely on a snarky internet post to finally explain the facts of life when, really, it’s information that should have been brought to my attention yesterday. Only now, at the end, do I finally understand.
I can’t help but wonder what else I don’t know.
That’s the way I like it. Long odds against … well, impossible odds.
I made my time (sic) and said my goodbyes. “Goodbye, iPod. Goodbye, iMac. Goodbye, iPad. Goodbye, Apple TV.” I’m only human so I brought the iPad with me. I knew we would make a fine Thelma & Louise moment together.
I was going to that McDonalidzed experience at the strip mall where they make eyeglasses. What the hell, you can only die once.
I made sure to bring my blue pen. We were decidedly heading out past the point of no return.
I squinted and turned to face my destiny. I took that warm feeling spreading through my pants as a sign I was doing the right thing.
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Without further ado, I am pleased to introduce… um, wait. What’s his name? Whew. Luckily I have voluminous notes. Oh yeah, Fred.
Fred isn’t exactly the hollowest point in the 20-round magazine. Or something like that. So who is he and why is he a close, personal friend of the blog?
Fred was raised with basic values like decency, honesty and hard work. But he wasn’t particularly gifted in any special areas. He graduated from high school, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, but he didn’t stand out academically or athletically, so no scholarships came his way. His parents were simple working folk and unable to pay his way to college.
He doesn’t lie and his word is his bond. These days that makes him a veritable freak of nature.
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