Ours is a nation whose shores are teeming with experts. They are vital to our existence. We could barely function on daily basis if not for these titans of knowledge and purveyors of wisdom. We know these things because it’s what they tell us.
Our experts tell us what to do, how to think, where we should go, how to live our lives, what we should say, what we shouldn’t say, how long to boil an egg, how long not boil an egg, that eggs are bad for you, now they’re not, now they are again. Our experts tell us what we should believe in, and in what we shouldn’t.
When we feel miserable, they us why we feel miserable.
When we don’t feel miserable, they tell us why we should feel miserable.
When we feel happy, they knock some sense into us, so that we can get back to the business of being miserable.
If not for the tireless work of experts, I would still be living under the dark veil of happiness.
We expect our experts to be articulate and prepared. That’s why the following encounter between child developement experts on a local cable television show, so greatly disturbed me.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent. The facts have been changed to make it more entertaining.
Host: Today we have three experts in child developement. Brenda, Wendell and Ted are here to tell you what you’re doing right, or more likely, what you’re doing wrong. Let’s start with you Brenda.
Brenda: I believe that a child should be encouraged to express himself in any way that his creative inclinations may lead, even if these inclinations seem a little odd.
Host: Can you give us an example?
Brenda: Certainly. If your child chooses to express himself by, and this is just a randomexample, sitting in the backyard all day and stuffing fistfuls of grass and crickets into his mouth, who’s to say there’s anything wrong with that.
Host: Really? Because that does seems kind of weird to me. Wendell, what do you think?
Wendell: It is weird, and more than a little gross. Children should be strongly discouraged from any behavior that casts them as an outsider or as different from the rest. Children can be predatory and mean. They’ll chase you down the street, making loud squeaking noises and hurling chunks of cheese at you. Have you ever been pelted with a chunk of Swiss cheese? It really hurts.
Host: Okay, that was weird too. Ted, have you any thoughts…normal or otherwise?
Ted: Yes. I believe that Brenda is mentally unstable and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I also believe that Wendell looks entirely too much like a rat.
Host: Of course you do. Brenda, Wendell, would either of you like to respond?
Brenda sat in disgusted silence with her arms folded.
Wendell sat and twitched nervously, glaring at Ted down his long nose, with his beady little eyes.
Host: And of course neither of you do. Ted, was that your expert opinion?
Ted: Absolutely. Brenda is a nut-job, and Wendell is a rat-boy.
At this point Brenda buried her face in her hands and began to sob. It seemed that she was under a great deal of stress, a level of stress not at all helped by the fact that she has a child who likes to sit in the backyard all day, and stuff fistfuls of grass and crickets into his mouth.
Wendell began to chitter wildly, lunged at Ted and bit him in the nose.
Ted screamed and bled, a lot.
Host: Well, I think it’s time for us to go to a commercial, and possibly call security.
What hope is there for our society if this is how our experts behave. I’m feeling so disconsolate, I might just sit in the backyard all day and stuff fistfuls of grass and crickets into my mouth.