Second Hand Advice

I don’t consider myself to be a great source of knowledge and wisdom. So it generally shocks me when people, especially close friends come to me with questions about everything ranging from college to personal finance. I don’t know if it has anything to do with them thinking I’ve been through it all already, if it’s just how I put things, or if it’s the fact that I spend countless hours pouring over vast digital tomes of knowledge, absorbing it as though though osmosis. It’s probably the third one.


photo credit: ericmcgregor

I give great second hand wisdom.

Most of my life, I’ve been a pretty good researcher. It’s something that I was probably born to do. My brain just works like a big sponge to absorb other people’s hard work. What I’m not particularly good at is figuring things out on my own. I am good at asking questions, and generally, finding the best sources for the answers. I’ve developed a fairly mighty collection of websites, blogs and wikis that are useful for just about anything. It was a survival necessity, because I’m not particularly gifted or skilled at doing anything.

The only thing I can really consider to be a raw talent is the ability to talk, endlessly, on any subject. It is the skill I inherited directly from my father, and one that has grown increasingly useful as I’ve begun to actively work on developing the secondary skill that goes with it, listening. The older I get, the more I learn from just talking forever, and then letting other people talk forever back at me. It is an incredibly powerful resource that I think is only exonerated by the development of the universal hivemind. In my head, I’m actively siphoning the knowledge and wisdom from everyone around me with a giant, brain-sucking, head tentacle.

There is a downside.

I’ll admit it, my ego gets a huge rush whenever anyone comes to me seeking advice. There are times when I’m like a junkie looking for his next fix of information needy friend. Sometimes, though, it can be too much. I love to help my friends with my astonishing ability to paraphrase related information from much more reliable and respectable sources than myself, but I don’t like to answer the same question to the same person more than once. There have been many situations in which the best way for me to answer someone’s question, or to help them with a problem has been to show them the resources they need. A few of my friends will take those resources and run away into the night, screaming and whooping, and becoming way more successful than I ever could. Those are the friends upon whom I will call in favors later in life. The type of favors that gets a chap brand new robot eyes.

Then, there is everyone else.

Consider me misanthropic, but the vast majority of people are dumb and lazy. These are the people that I dread making the mistake of ever letting them find out that I know things, because once they do, like a parasite, they leech off my brain’s resources and leave me in a giant state of near catatonic fits. They will ask me a question, and I will answer it. Then they will ask a similar, if not identical question, and I will answer it. By the time they ask the third or fourth variation on the same question, I will kindly point them to my resource. That is when I hear a phrase that splits my mind in two.

“Why should I look at <random internet page full of useful information and entertaining anecdotes>, when I can just ask you?

This usually shatters me into an internal war where my ego fights against my id for supremacy of what comes out of my mouth. My ego, inflated by this small piece of evidence that my brain houses to much information for the average human brain, tries to get me to go ahead and answer the persons inane and horrifyingly stupid questions. My Id, well aware that my brain is barely average, pushes to the forefront a steaming pile of slithering hatred that it plans to have me inject via retractable fangs directly into the spinal fluid of the person closest to me.

I feel it is fair to point out that my id was transplanted into me from a gracious and caring donor platypus.

The Secret Resource of Great Power and Wisdom

I do have one source of knowledge that I never tell anyone else how to gain access to. It is by far and away the most powerful, versatile and useful resource I have personally ever found, and though I freely share all knowledge I glean through it, I am quite guarded as to its nature. It is the only resource that I can ask any question of, and receive an answer, regardless of the topic. The advice it dispenses is top notch, and always valuable, and it is the resource that I have learned the most about life from.

Of course, I’m talking about my parents, especially my dad.

Do you have any secret sources of great knowledge? Is it a vast collection of encyclopedia-like wisdom, or is it an unparalleled tome of expertise in one specific field? Do you inject hatred-venom into the spinal chords of those that try and leech it away?