Is There An Expert in the House?

September 28, 2009

If there’s one phrase in the whole world I love to hear, it’s this:

“Experts were surprised…”

Good thing I love that phrase, because I get to hear it a lot these days. Just google those words. You will literally get 29 million results. That’s a lot of surprises. Whenever the news reports on some new surprise that experts find, they like to dress it up with phrases like, “Experts are reeling over the new findings.” I just want to find the expert that told the news reporter, “I am reeling over these new findings.” No one says that. Except maybe this expert to the left, who’s getting ready to eat a big mouthful of crow.

A few years ago, ‘experts’ predicted longer, more intense hurricane seasons because of the evils of mankind. Which sounds a lot like how ancient people explained everything from eclipses to droughts. The gods are angry with us, find a virgin to sacrifice! Anyway, we were told we could expect a lot more ‘Katrinas’ in the future and face doomsday unless we sacrificed a bunch of oil executives on an altar. Since then, the experts have been surprised by record-breaking calm hurricane seasons.

The current list of things that surprise experts includes, but is not limited to hurricanes, unemployment, Antarctica, Orangutans, swine flu, Iran, the Royal Bank of Scotland, earthquakes, Cash for Clunkers, the Chinese, Prince Charles, Komodo Dragons, teen birth rates, experts’ rates of being surprised, obesity, and surprise birthday parties.

If you love surprises, now is a great time to be an expert!

I’ve got a five things to say to the experts of the world.

How do I become an expert?
You make being an expert look so easy! With just that title, people line up to interview you, buy your books, plagarize your words in their high school research papers. Is there a class I can take, perhaps at my local community college or online that will teach me how to be an expert? What certification board do I need to apply to for my Expert Degree?

Oh, there is no Expert School?
Then how do you become an expert? I can’t see you calling yourself an ‘expert,’ ‘guru,’ ‘virtuoso,’ or ‘wizard,’ with no qualifications, because that would be incredibly egotistical, and would kind of set you up for a huge, surprising failure. No, a real expert would never make this mistake. It wouldn’t be wise to call yourself an ‘expert’ when you really aren’t an expert…and yet, I can’t shake a sneaking suspicion…

You don’t know what you’re talking about.
The more you say, and the more authority you use to say it, the more times you have to eat your words. It’s evident to me that we have a bunch of people running the world, our nations, our banks, our schools, our churches, writing books, being published and quoted who don’t have a gat-dang clue what they’re talking about. They don’t know history; that’s why they’re reliving it. They don’t know economics; that’s why they’re trashing it. They don’t know science because big business pays for science. If an expert says something, I can make a pretty sure bet, something else will happen somewhere in the world. Besides that…

Expert is just another word for ‘nerd.’
Nicholas Butler, an expert on, ironically, experts, said, “An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less.” In other words, expert knowledge is so deep and so narrow, that almost no one else cares unless your expertise in in Star Wars. Such a level of nerd-knowledge makes it even more ironic that a bunch of super-nerds can be surprised so often.

I’m not an expert.
Just kidding, I’m an expert at being awesome. But really, I can’t afford to be an expert. I have precious little capital to spend on getting people to believe me. I can’t be throwing it around like an expert. I’ve had enough failures and shortcomings already, I don’t need to fall from the ‘expert’ pedistal.

If you really are an expert, people will notice it and call you an expert. Don’t look like a tool and set yourself up for failure by putting it on your resume. I see ‘expert’ and immediately smirk. That goes for Christian experts too. Your reputation precedes you. You don’t have to tell us you have a reputation. Maybe you really are an expert. Fine, but think about what your fellow experts are doing to give experts a bad name.

What say you? Do you consider yourself an expert at anything? If you could call yourself an expert at something, what would it be? It’s okay to call yourself an expert here. We’re all laughing with each other, not at each other here.