I haven’t a clue

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ONE of the rarest terms in the English language is, ‘I don’t know.’ I am clever at very little. I am more GSI (Get Someone In) than DIY.

On many subjects I am cerebral plankton so if you have problems with your computers call an expert.

The only problem is that today everyone is an expert. The same applies to a modern car’s system. I learned to drive at a simpler age when you pulled the choke.

If that didn’t work you got the cranking handle from the boot, jabbed it in the hole beneath the radiator and swung it; a bit like starting an aeroplane.

These days if you want the job explaining you will find the answers at the local bar. I imagine the conversation will go something like this: ‘What do you do for a living, Mike?’

‘Actually I am a global strategist and economic analyst.’ ‘Good. What do you need to know?’ We have all watched David Attenborough’s Question Time.

Be honest; have you ever heard a politician when asked a question reply; ‘I have no idea; I am clueless.’

No, he would rather flounder and the consequences are often cringe-making. I am reminded of Abraham’s Lincoln’s maxim: ‘Better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.’

Online forums are invaluable when you need to check out procedure for getting on the padron (municipal register).

They can be useful too if you need to figure a way of sorting the Middle East’s out or need to know where President Obama went wrong.

No one seems able to accept that we can’t be clever or knowledgeable about everything and just let it be; accept it.

I was once privileged to assess the business practices of a factory in which garden furniture was made. Local authority run, it provided training and employment for people who suffered from Down’s syndrome.

It was one of the best lessons of my life. Before I realised the nature of the business it was explained to me that the workforce had learning difficulties.

Okay; who am I to be judgemental?

I was then asked by the manager if I had difficulty with any subjects. How long have you got?

There were plenty but I freely confessed to being dumb when it came to number-crunching and I found high technology perplexing. ‘You have learning difficulties then,’ he said.

The point taken I was shown around the factory and introduced to a workforce that clearly had ‘learning difficulties.’ Equally clearly their furniture products were made to the highest possible standards. He told me that those who suffered from the condition were highly focused.

Attention to detail was typical and nothing short of perfection would do. Consequently their furniture was better than that made by those who would never accept they had learning difficulties.

Lesson learned. You know, there are times when the nicest meal of all is humble pie.

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