Ask a silly question…

Remember the first time you tried something new? The mental vertigo experienced while teetering over the scary chasm of much unknowing. The gap between what you know now and what you need to know is both exciting, frustrating and occasionally terrifying. This holds for many activities explored in our younger years – learning to drive, going to work and the sweaty, fumbling of sexual experiences*

At almost pensionable age of 42, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think those days – like so much other stuff – are far behind me. But that’s just not the case, the pie chart of all-knowing still has at big old cake slice marked “How the fuck do I do that?“. A second, and larger, section coloured in a deep angry red reads “Why the fuck am I doing that?“. Another reason for this yawing gap between what I need to know and what I don’t can be simply summarised by this conversation with the small random child.

Daddy, what was it like when you were 30? Was it much different” to which my considered answer was “I can’t even remember what was occurring when I was 40, only ghostly mists of largely concealed hinterland are visible before then“. Probably a bit much for an eight year old, and last time I looked she was googling for exactly where in the world “Hinterland may be located”

But the point – and yes there is one in case you were concerned I’d descended into incomprehensible dribbilisaion** – is a combination of fading memory, inability to learn new skills and an enlarged impatience gland do not offer the succour of a sanguine middle age. Yesterday extensive experience of crashing brought forth some structural changes to a much loved model glider. Some would celebrate its’ new easy-to-carry design with a detachable tailplane, and a few hundred balsa shards that can be simply transported in a spare pocket.

Others – myself included – may shake an impotent fist at the unseen meterological forces that makes landing four pounds of wood go something like “missed the ground, missed the ground, missed the ground, shit where’s it gone, HIT the ground, crraasshhhh“. My inability to close the knowledge gap takes many forms, one of them being a God given ability to ignore the advice of those who clear do know what they are talking about: “Don’t go that far behind the slope, you’ll crash” they said. “No I won’t” I said “Need a bag to carry the remains?” they then said.

Anyway it wasn’t my new glider and I can probably repair it with such skill it might even fly again. Assuming it’s carried off by a passing bird of prey with poor eyesight. But one facet of this repair splash landed in the custard of doubt***, and I inadvisedly “leveraged the power of the virtual expert” by posting a very simple question on an Internet forum. What I didn’t get was a simple answer.

The first ten replies told me not to start from here. I gently pointed out that decision had been somewhat taken away from me about the time that soft wood hit hard dirt. The next slew of responses marked out the tribal boundaries of the Flat Earthers and the New World Men. From there, an increasingly embittered argument descended into name calling and cyber-cage-fighting. When I last looked, the moderator had stepped in and a tense calm had broken out.

I don’t expect this state of affairs to last. They may need to call in ACAS or possibly the UN.

At no point, did anyone answer my question. This proves to me the Internet is rubbish, and my original approach to wield fast revving power tools in a whirling circle of woody death was clearly the right one. I may still be misinformed, cerebrally undercooked and darkenly unenlightened. And I’m sure to bugger up the repair with my normal klutzy incompetence. But – and this is huge ladies and gents – I am not sat eating my keyboard and offering to slice someone open with a balsa saw because they had the temerity to question my all-knowing craft skills.

I’m thinking we should go back to chisels, slates and shouting.

* Certainly was for me. Those sheep were FAST.

** Long term Hedgies will understand the nuance, newer readers may struggle to notice the difference

*** In the Pie Chart. Try and keep up.

6 thoughts on “Ask a silly question…

  1. Julian

    When you were 30, you spent most of your time ripping the piss out of mountain-biking students on Bikemagic.

    The first response to a young chap about painting flames on his bike is the stuff of legend.

  2. Alex

    My finest work. It’s all behind me 🙁

    Nick – I thought maybe STW was a “special case” for Internet Nerds. Obviously I was so very wrong.

    Julian – I just clicked on that picture. That’s the truth right there.

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