Wanderings – The never ending paradox of “experts”

My former family doctor told me I needed to lose some weight after my 30th birthday. He said that if I didn’t lose weight by the time I hit 40, it would be much more difficult to do as I get older. I asked how, and he said change my diet and exercise. Nothing specific. Thanks for the advice doctor expert.

Not to sound pithy, but this is a common occurrence in the world. An expert states an obvious issue, offers vague solutions based on their expertise, and merrily goes about their business.

In summer 2022 I injured my foot playing in a parents vs kids soccer game. My (new) doctor said I should stay off my foot. I couldn’t put my weight on my foot because I tore a ligament. Thanks for the astute observation. I think Jeff Foxworthy wrote a song about this? Something about a sign or something.

Experts are everywhere, in every field. Turn on a soccer match or a hockey game on the TV and “the experts” are on talking about who did what wrong on the pitch. Flip the channel and it’s another sport, another game, and another panel of “experts.” The list goes on.

I used to enjoy watching HGTV shows. A crew of experts go in, fix some issue, the family is happy, the crew leaves and all is well. Along the way, you see how experts build a deck or install an outdoor pizza oven. One expert will tell you why a certain colour is the new “in” colour while another talks about what is wrong with wallpaper. Everything! Everything is wrong with wallpaper. Never try to hang the stuff.

Now this channel has become a bunch of contests, dream mansions, and resort building. If I had the money to fix up a Caribbean resort, I’d be buying a hut in Turks and Caicos and not building a resort – that’s for sure. There is little relatable anymore on this channel. Really, who can afford to go build dream mansions in this economy? Maybe out of Lego.

The same goes with Food Network, and all those cooking channels. Yes, it is fun to see someone wipe the smug look off an iron chef’s face when they are beaten in a cooking challenge. I would rather see how to properly make authentic recipes.

These cooking contests where baking artisans make fancy cakes of cartoon characters with moving parts are mildly grotesque. Who wants to eat five Charlie Brown theme cakes? Isn’t that like the cartoon of Donald Duck having a Thanksgiving Turkey dinner with his three nephews? Sadly, I think most of the food in these shows goes to waste.

There are experts everywhere. Go into a coffee shop on any given day and there’s an expert to be found. Too bad no one goes there for advice, all the world’s problems would be solved.

I prefer dealing with experts who don’t preach to you about things. They just do the work.

Like my plumber who installed the new hot water heater a few weeks ago. He replaced my leaking hot water heater in under 90 minutes flat. Or my mechanic, who told me that a car isn’t suppose to burn through two quarts of oil. It turns out I missed one of those “regular service” lists where a $40 valve had to be replaced. I write and take photos for a living, I’m not a mechanic.

The “experts” that really get me are the ones who are elected. Those political party leaders, their staffers, and the cadre of elected party underlings who think they understand what is going on, where the problems are, and how to fix them.

I don’t understand how someone who went directly from a university classroom to elected office with a six-figure salary knows what is like to comparison shop for groceries, or sigh as the price of gas jumps up another 20 cents. There’s a missing step of life experience that makes them not relatable – a disconnect if you will.

Instead, we have massifs from political “experts” on the price of groceries talking about $120 turkeys and politicians who say building $800,000 homes is “affordable housing.”

The problem with “experts” is the same problem with people who call themselves leaders. Simply calling yourself something doesn’t make it true. And even those who have the skill and expertise to back up claims of being an expert need to do so in a way that is believable. It’s the never ending paradox of “experts.”

This column was originally published in the October 11, 2023 print edition of The Morrisburg Leader.