It’s been one of those days, so I thought I’d remind a few people of something important…
As someone else said, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”
Yeah, I often attempt to ‘remedy zoological ignorance’ anyway. I can’t help it. If I see someone struggling because they’re operating with false, inaccurate, or missing information, I want to help them. (Thus do I exhibit both my “lack of empathy” and my “narrow range of interests/knowledge,” right?) This isn’t about ‘proving that I’m always right,’ making someone else feel stupid, or any of the other things certain “experts” insist must be my entire motivation for sharing my knowledge with other people. (Um… You’re projecting, doc. Maybe you oughta stop that.)
Mostly, though, I wish people would make some attempt to find things out for themselves, or at least make an attempt to look at/listen to the information they’ve asked for when someone goes through the trouble of finding it for them and just handing it to them. “I never use the internet,” says the kid who is always checking his email or Twitter or Facebook; Grace jokes that he must have his phone fused to his hand, because he never puts it down or even stops looking at it while supposedly having a conversation with someone who’s right there in front of him. “I never use the internet, so I can’t use Google to find the stuff I want to know, and I don’t care that you gave me the three search terms guaranteed to get me the information, because that’s tooooooo haaaaarrrrrd. Just tell me. Oh, you already told me five times just today, but I wasn’t listening. I won’t listen the next time, either. You’d better stop telling me to pay attention — I know you’re just saying that to make me feeeeeeeeel baaaaaad.”
One thing I have to give that kid credit for: He makes me feel a lot less regretful about not being a high school art teacher anymore. Can you imagine? “But I don’ wanna learn the color wheel! You should just tell me how I should mix these colors to get the color I want, because looking at that really simple chart on the classroom wall to figure it out is toooooooo haaaaaaarrrrrd. And besides, I don’ wanna mix blue and yellow to make green — you’re just telling me to do it that way because you’re jealous of how unique I am, and you want to oppress me.” Compared to this sort of nonsense, dealing with students who do crazy stuff like dropping their pants in class or making goat noises for the whole hour is easy. Shockingly easy, in fact. I was surprised how quickly they responded to calm reason: “Fishboy, if you keep dropping you pants in class, everyone will want to do it, and then they won’t be listening to me teach, and that would hurt my feelings.” Boom! Fishboy stops dropping his pants in class for at least the next three or four weeks. He doesn’t even fall to the floor and flop like a fish to demonstrate the source of his nickname. Or, “Do you really think that’s what a goat sounds like, Topher? Well, my mom raises goats, and I can tell you, they don’t sound like that. But since you’re interested in goats, how about you focus today on drawing a picture of goats? No, nothing we can’t hang on the wall when parents are visiting — sorry.” That one didn’t work quite as well, but “Topher” was the student I’d been told not even to say good morning to, because “he might become violent.” Getting him to do anything other than disrupt the class was a major achievement.
(I am so very much not exaggerating in these anecdotes, by the way. I’m actually holding back somewhat.)
The tl;dr version (deliberately hidden so it’s not tooooooo eeeeaaaassssyyyyy to find) of this is, It’s not my responsibility to understand anything for anyone. If you’re reading this, you can read, obviously, and you have access to the internet. That means you have the tools needed to learn stuff for yourself. I’m more than happy to help people who want help, but I’m not going to do all the work, and I’m not going to waste my time explaining anything to someone who’ll just be playing with their phone (literally or figuratively) instead of paying attention.