There is nothing I am an expert in, a few things I understand a little (actually just bicycles, motorcycles, and cars), and an infinite number of things I know nothing about.
My friend Mike lives on a farm in Northern Ontario. He called me up last weekend and asked if I would look at a three point implement for sale near my house. I told him I would take a look, and I would buy it if it looked like a good piece of equipment. And, since I was doing a race in Northern Michigan this weekend, I would bring it with me and save him a few hundred miles. A solid plan except farming equipment is part of that infinite number of things I know nothing about. I didn’t point this out to Mike since I didn’t want to seem any less competent or manly than I already am. Plus, Mike has known me since we were 13; he should have no delusion about my farm equipment prowess.
I went to Howell Monday to look at this tractor thingy. I examined it as if I knew what I was looking at. I thought I better say something so the owner didn’t think I was some clueless city folk.
Me: “Uh yes, John Deere…they make fine, you know, tractor thingies."
Dar: “Your buddy is going to drive all the way from Ontario to pick it up?”
Me: “Well, I’m doing a bike race near Manistee this weekend so I might bring it up with me.”
Dar: “What kind of bike do you have?”
Me: “It is a small company no one ever heard of, it’s a Tomac.”
Dar: “Johnny Tomac’s company, he’s cool. I just finished riding at Highland Req.”
We spent 15 minutes talking about mountain biking and discovering common riding friends. I have no idea what I bought but I am confident I got a good deal because now I trust Dar.
I thought about my one and only job interview. It was for a position at GM when I was fresh out of U of M. A Director started off the interview by asking me what the advantages of dual over-head cams were. I explained about intake and exhaust valves and surface area and rotating mass. If I were smart I would have used the GM Quad-4 engine as an example because I think it was the only GM engine back in 1989 that used this application. I’m not so I used a Yamaha FZR motorcycle engine as an example of this brilliant and cutting edge technology. GM Directors like when you use a Japanese company's engine as an example of brilliant and cutting edge technology in the same way Sunday school teachers like when you openly question freewill in light of god’s sovereignty. I’ve done both. The interview stopped right there and this Director pulled out pictures of his motorcycle collection. We spent the rest of our time together talking about motorcycles. I got the job.
I am constantly amazed how I’ve managed to muddle my way through life knowing so little about so few things.