You know a whole lot.
You get to know more each day: more about people, more about your ever-expanding gut, more about obscure stuff, more about life in general.
And, of course, they say that accumulation of knowledge is valuable.
Not only will it win you the praise and adoration of fellow pub quiz participants, but it can also be used to woo girls and stop the dangerously ignorant in their venomous and hateful tracks.
Knowledge, they say, is power. Knowledge is the food of the soul. Knowledge is freedom, love, light and vision.
The more we know, the better our decisions. The more we know, the weightier the value of our judgement … that’s what they say.
I say bullcrap.
Too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. Too much thinking gets in the way of doing.
Liberace, for about two decades, was the highest-paid entertainer in the world.
If you don’t know of him, think of Elton John, camp it up even more, and rewind a few years.
Until recently I didn’t know much about him.
Then a couple of months ago, I caught the tail-end of a TV show.
And it made me think.
(Which doesn’t happen very often. Not just a TV show making me think, but me thinking in general.)
Here’s what I learned:
Liberace trained as a classical pianist. He was gifted. Prodigious, even.
He could play classical music better than the guys who wrote the stuff.
But he wasn’t happy.
They say we hate to be sold but we love to buy.
I LOVE to be sold.
I go into a restaurant and I don’t know what I want. I’m thinking about the special prix fixe menu.
(That’s French. It’s pronounced “pree fix” rather than “pricks ficks”. My European affectations necessitate that I use overly complicated terminology when more prosaic and quotidian verbiage will suffice.)
The maiturgh-dee sits me down and tells me that the specials are REALLY special.
And so I splurge.
I get the wine list from the sommelier.
I instinctively look for the second cheapest so that I don’t look like a total miser in the eyes of my date, Halle Berry.
So I spent today with a crowd of fundraisers.
They collect money for various charities: hospices, an organization that cares for carers, a home for people with mental illness.
We talked about marketing and sales.
In this case, of course, they’re selling the opportunity to make a donation.
After all, asking people for money requires the same approach no matter what you’re collecting for.
But these folk haven’t been schooled in the hard-knock sales academies I’ve been through.
And they were almost too nice. Almost too polite.
Which broke my heart.
I have a friend.
I actually have a couple, but this is about one friend in particular.
She’s passionate about good service.
It’s her reason for being.
So much so, that she started a business training customer service reps.
But she was hitting a brick wall with getting clients on board.
Every time she had a bad experience in a restaurant, hotel, coffee shop or store, she’d recognize an opportunity for improvement.
Armed with truth and justice on her side, she’d march over to the owner of the place and offer her services.
“My experience was terrible,” she’d say. “The service was really shoddy, your staff were unfriendly and I had a thoroughly rotten time. But don’t worry! I can fix it for you!”
Without fail, she’d come up with resistance. Instead of getting them eager to improve, they’d close up and get introspective, or worse.
A lot of them were even offended and told her to get lost.