Posts Tagged ‘honesty’

I have to say that Squidoo is the coolest website I’ve seen all year. I don’t know why I haven’t seen it before, but I like the idea of each of us being a lens through which everyone can look at some part of the world. The tagline is great: Everyone is an expert on something.

Did you ever talk with an expert one on one, and catch yourself thinking, “I can’t believe that came out of her mouth!” or “Wow … where did that come from?” or “What in the world made him say that?”

You see, everyone – including the expert – is also clueless about something at some point or another. And when you have one of those “huh?” moments, you may have just been a witness to that glorious moment in history, that one moment when this expert will have to say, “Sorry, everyone, I had no clue what to say next, so I just made that one up!”

I’m good for a laugh once in a while, and not because I’m trying to be funny. Let’s just say that the longer I live, the more I learn to shut up when I have no clue what people are talking about. I can play Trivial Pursuit with the best of them, I can explain the theory of relativity, and I can copy almost any tune into sheet music for the piano. Don’t try to talk to me about transposing music for an entire orchestra, though, because I can’t manage the percussion notation. It confuses me, I get dizzy, and I have to tune out before my head explodes. Then there was the time I tried to transpose Wagner’s Bridal Chorus for the bagpipes, never having played the bagpipes myself, let alone seen the sheet music the pipers learn from. (“Oh yeah – no problem!” – how hard could it be, right? I can Google it.) I would be very glad to tell you about that, but the person who actually should be telling that story is the one who asked if I could do it, and I’m not sure he’s speaking to me anymore.

It’s the same with electronics. I’m clueless. We’re remodeling our basement, and my husband decided to change the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Before I went to the home improvement store for painting supplies, I asked if he needed anything. “Whatcha doing, honey?” I said. I was about to regret that question, because he proceeded to actually tell me. That wonderful, patient man saw my eyes glaze over and tried to explain it again in fifth-grade English. As he was pointing at the wires and taking things apart, I caught some of what he was saying, but part of my brain had already shut off by this time. Not wanting to look stupid, I picked up the little orange cone he had put down, noticed it was dirty, and said, “Okay, looks like you need three of these, right?” YES! He thought the lightbulb in my head had finally turned on. I walked into the home improvement store, proud as punch, and asked the guy on the floor, “My husband says to get three of these electrical thingamabobs. Could you please tell me where to find them?”

Now, I can get away with being clueless about electronics. My husband knows about that sort of thing, and what he doesn’t know, we can hire an expert to do. I have no problem admitting I’m clueless in that area. But for some reason, for a while there, I had a problem admitting I was clueless about some types of musical notation. Then there’s the running joke about why men never ask for directions. I know some women who have way too much fun with that one. Unfortunately, they ask for it. The stubbornness is just way too entertaining sometimes.

The truth is, we’re all guilty of that once in a while. Is it a weakness to be clueless about things like when to shut up and when to ask for directions, though? Maybe not. None of us know everything, and even the brightest minds can’t figure everything out. That’s where the strength comes in. Isn’t it harder to admit you’re clueless than announce you know exactly what’s going on?

I might begin to have a hard time admitting I’m clueless about electronics if my husband died and I was left with no money to hire someone if a fixture needed replacing. Would I try to do it myself, or would I call a friend for help? I would probably try to go online, Google it, print out a step-by-step tutorial, and do it myself first so I didn’t bother anyone if I didn’t absolutely have to. (Let’s hope we have a double plot, just in case I screw up.)

Can you see yourself asking someone for help before trying to manage something that confuses you to begin with? Why? I don’t care if we’re talking about exhaust fans, wire hats, or the sheet music for the bagpipes. Why would many of us choose to give up, screw up, procrastinate, or “fake it ’til we make it” before we’ll admit we need directions? Why would we choose to look like a dufus rather than tell someone, “no, I can’t do that – would you help me?” Do people actually choose to be clueless sometimes?

Sometimes it’s easier. Sometimes it just makes your head hurt too much to press forward and learn something new. Other times you want so badly to look good to someone else, you end up doing stupid things to try and impress them…like refusing to turn on the GPS when we’ve been driving in circles through endless farmland, eventually realizing that we passed the same general store three times in the last hour looking for the way back to the highway – the one we can see on the horizon, but can’t seem to find the one road that will take us there. “No, this is the right road. We just didn’t go down far enough.” Three sheep farms, two red barns, and an outhouse later, here’s the general store again. Is it time to put the pride away and ask for help?

For the record, that story was taken from experience, but it wasn’t him. It was me. I’m the one who is most likely to try and “fake it ’til I make it.” Take that appointment for grief counseling I haven’t made yet. It has been two years and nine months, and I’m still driving around in circles, saying, “No, I’m all right, it’s all under control” while I’m playing an emotional game of dodge-the-pothole. Is it time to put the pride away and ask for help?

Everyone has something they’re very good at, and everyone has something they’re clueless about. I don’t care who you are, or where you come from. It’s okay to be clueless once in a while. We all have those moments. If you can finesse your way through those moments, great. If you fall on your face, that’s fine too. (That seems to be how I learn.) Being honest and open to learning has been very good to me when it was time to tell someone I didn’t know how to do something on my own.

And trust me, don’t ever tell anyone you can write for the tympani when you know for a fact you’ll have to do a Google search to find out what a tympani is before you begin.


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