No Thanks. I Already Know Everything.

Arrogance at its Finest

Know It All

 

 

All Hail The Know-It-Alls

Image result for know-it-all polar express

He is known only as…Know-It-All.  Dressed in yellow pajamas, with short-cropped hair and bullet-proof glasses that magnify his nearly-crossed eyeballs into the size of small moons, Eddie Deezen’s character in The Polar Express is simultaneously obnoxious, cute and annoying.

Obnoxious: because he knows everything and insists on talking through a shrill, nasally, clarinety tone that just makes you want to squeeze things until they ooze.

Cute: because he is a kid and is therefore worthy of looking at and saying “Awww.”

Annoying: because he is a know-it-all who blabs on and on about the most finite details of everything, and is therefore worthy of you saying “Awww. I would like to squeeze you until you ooze.”

Cinema and society are replete with characters like this:

And one of my personal favorites: Otto, the bombastic Nietzsche-loving hitman in A Fish Called Wanda.  To quote Otto, “Apes don’t read philosophy.” And Wanda’s response: “Yes they do, Otto…they just don’t understand it.”  NSFW due to profanity:

Individuals that think they know it all and that are apparently beyond education, or think they have amassed all the answers already, are almost universally reviled…they are characters that are lacking character.  Like those who think they can beat the system by dressing up as grannies so they can get the coronavirus vaccine early.  Side note: It bothers me that I did not come up with this idea first.  I would make a wonderful Granny.

In voiceovers, it is the brazen effrontery posed by newcomers who have been in voiceovers for less than a year - and are convinced that they already have all the answers.  This same effrontery is readily apparent in those who insist that Michael Bolton falls under the "good music" column, which it does not.  It falls under the "I will kill you with a hammer if you play Michael Bolton" column.

This same effrontery starts with those who are told “Hey, you’ve got a great voice; you should do voiceovers!”  So they run and do voiceovers, because “how hard can it be?”  They skip coaching, and buy their $39.99 Zingyou microphone bundle and Tonka headphones on Amazon.  They slap up a few foam squares.  They go hog-wild on promoting their Voices.com page.  Or they heavily endorse Fiverr, and are entirely unreceptive to correction by those who have gone before.  And then, they do the unthinkable…they start coaching.  Again, because, “how hard can it be?  I already know everything.”  In my best David Attenborough voice: Ahh, the revolting hubris of the spring chicken.  They are the serial purveyors of misinformation, and should be killed with a hammer.

Such people…need teachability.  Such people…need to recognize that they have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.  Such people…are dangerous.

 

A Happy Meal of a Message on Learning

Vintage McDonald's

"Vintage McDonald's" by encanto_sunland is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

 

It is a big yellow sign.  There are two arches.  It represents food all over the world.  And the food is not the greatest, although my sons primarily want the toy anyway, not the food.  Also they can lick up all the ketchup from the container before they even touch the French fries.  Do not ask me why they do this; I do not know.

McDonald’s.  It is Americana…and it can be found all over the world.  Ray Kroc’s restaurant chain roots go back to 1955.  By 1958, McDonald’s had sold its 100 millionth hamburger.

I am not overly fond of McDonald’s food.  If you have read my previous blogs – go on, I will wait...

*pause*

Welcome back.

...you will note that I am fond of promoting my affinity for Taco Bell and that succulent grade-Q meat and “authentic” Mexican food.  I remember when I was 23.  It was a very long time ago; I think it was the same year that fire was invented.  I suggested to my Mexican Gramma that we go out to Taco Bell: a place she had never visited since she stopped driving her car in 1735.  We ordered our food, sat down, she opened her soft taco, and said, “Joshua, this is not Mexican food.”

Quite right, Gramma.  It is not genuine.  Neither is McDonald’s, really.

But one genuine thing Ray Kroc said remains as food for the wise.  It is an axiom that is timelessly exemplary in its analogy of a growing, living organism.  He said, “When you’re green, you’re growing; when you’re ripe, you rot.”

So I ask you now, in the name of all that is sacred, are you green?  Am I?

 

Teachability is Everything

is the teachable moment a repeatable moment?

"is the teachable moment a repeatable moment?" by woodleywonderworks is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

I strive to practice teachability.  Even so, I do have a few Y-chromosomes floating around somewhere in me, and therefore have a great propensity for my pride to get in the way.  This is why I am currently stranded in Tristan da Cunha because I do not ask for directions.  If someone could please send a chopper I would appreciate it.

I spent a long time on the sidelines of voiceovers before taking the plunge.  Watching.  Studying.  Waiting.  I have learned from the best.  Scott BurnsJ Michael CollinsPat FraleyTracy LindleyPaul StrikwerdaMarc CashmanBill DeWeesYuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt.  I have really striven to ingest, study, and better myself.  That involves really holding myself up to the light so that I can see any impurities floating around in there.  I am not talking about my Y-chromosomes or chicken bits.

Let me tell you a story.

It was going to be easy.  There were instructions.  It surely would not take that long.  It would be a challenge, sure, but I enjoy challenges.

I had this big gazebo to put together over our hot tub.  I pulled all the parts out and laid them meticulously across my workbench in the garage.  All of the parts had their own spaces to reside until I called for them.  The first thing I needed to do was to assemble the roof.  I needed to attach the center hub to eight long spines that branch out from the center and attach to the supporting rails and the four corner pillars that held everything up.

Roof = done!

Now it was time to connect the four corner pillars to it.  I had assembled one of these before, so, even though the instruction manual was back in the garage, and I was out in the yard in the rain, I figured I knew what to do next in order to finish it.

I was having a bit of a struggle connecting the four pillars to the longest spines stemming out from the roof structure.  There was some bowing, and the roof pinnacle had sunken below the pillars I had managed to erect thus far. They were splayed out in odd directions across the grass, reminiscent of what happens when one is launched from a cannon into a wall of granite. “Oh, well…” I thought.  I was getting it connected as fast as I could so as to minimize the bowing as soon as possible.  When the pillars were up, and all four roof supports were connected, something did not look quite right.  Nonetheless I figured it just needed some straightening.

gazebo1

That is when I noticed the roof hub. All of the spines were extended outward from it, sure, but they were now – all of them – twisted to the right.  The hub itself had rotated, but the legs had not.  Now, they were all out of their grooves.  Please note that this is not actually how you are supposed to assemble gazebos, so please do not take this blog as proper instruction for assembling gazebos.

Yes, they still formed a spider branching out from the hub, but since the center hub itself was rotated, the tension wouldn’t be there at the end of the legs to make sure the roof did not come off and flap in the wind, eventually landing somewhere in Brazil.  Also the top mini-canopy would not have enough tension to deflect the rain.  It lay there, draped limply across the top as if to say "Joshua...why?"

When I realized my error – and what it would take to correct it – I slumped down onto the stepladder underneath the pinnacle and just gave a thousand yard stare off into the pasture, my hands in my pockets to deflect the cold.  It was raining, and there was still snow outside, a bit slushy, but still there.  Not ideal conditions.  My jacket was a bit waterlogged and my hair rain-soaked.

I had been here before.  I often think I am more able than I am when it comes to housework, yard work, work with tools, or anything more complicated than making toast. (Please do not chime in here.  I know you butter it first.)  In the end, I get frustrated and berate myself with the dependable, time-honored phrase:

“You can’t do anything right.”  I do not know where that came from because neither my mom nor dad, nor any of my teachers had ever said that to me.  But somewhere it took root.

Had I assembled the pillars with their supporting rails first, and had a complete bottom structure to simply lift the completed roof onto, I wouldn’t have bowing…or twisting…or tension loss...or have to pee so badly since, because I had been sitting out there depressed for so long, single-celled paramecium had now evolved into fully-grown humans.

Shoulda looked at the freaking manual.

Was I going to give up?  No.  I eventually sighed, grabbed my hammer and pliers and started over on the roof.  And I finished it.  Is it perfect?  Almost.  Does it work now?  Almost.  Is the mutilated and jerry-rigged form factor a constant reminder that I should have done one thing?  Entirely.  What was the one thing?

Accept instruction.

gazebo2   gazebo4

Indeed, I could have saved myself a lot of frustration, double effort and cold toes, had I simply gone back into the garage and referenced the instruction manual.

Lesson? I still don’t know everything.  And I’m ok with that.  Except that Taco Bell IS genuine Mexican food, and you cannot tell me otherwise.

So...are you green?

 

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NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational / entertainment purposes.  I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I'm a church.

 

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Joshua Alexander
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22 thoughts on “No Thanks. I Already Know Everything.”

  1. I’ve always believed if you meet someone who says they know everything walk away because you can’t learn from or them from you.

    Excellent blog once again Josh.
    Stay super my friend.

  2. Nice blog post Josh. I had a few curious thoughts while reading…

    About the “If you are green you are growing..” concept. I like this analogy because I always try to be learning and not make the mistake of thinking that a certain level of expertise means I have less need to grow. I don’t intend to let my voice-over career die due to narcissistic arrogance. I am sure if asked, all of the people in your list of those you have learned from would say they are always trying to grow too.

    However, and this may be the basis of the problem you describe, if a person thinks they know it all, they probably don’t think they need to grow and therefore do not wear green. Or something like that.

    Also, I am stuck in a mental loop trying to decide if the made up word “clarinety” should rather be spelled “clarinetty”. I may be here for a while.

    I believe the word meat in reference to Taco Bell food should have been surrounded by quotation marks to indicate it may or may not live up to the strict definition of that word.

    No need to thank me, I am happy to help.

    Thank you for another fine read.

  3. I’ve been in the medical field for over a decade and I feel green all the time. I kind of feel like the more than I learn, the less I know. Though, I also remember that proud cockiness that came with being a new grad in the field. I cringe, thinking back. But it’s also nice having that there to remind me to absolutely not do that again here!

    Love your updates!!

    1. And EYE love EWE! Thanks for reading them, my friend. Just trying to brighten someone’s day, even if they’re a proud cocky medical grad in the field who has been doing it for over a decade and feels green all the time. Whooops! Have I said too much?

  4. Coincidence that you published this blog this week and that just a few days ago I purchased a shopping tote on the side of which is printed, “Actually, it is easy being green?” I think not!

  5. So freakin’ green it hurts, hahaha. The one thing I really really want to be able to do is accents. There are some that I can do that are just goofy, but I really want to get the following down pat: Scottish, Irish, Aussie, English, British (in all it’s variations) and the Canadian. The Canadian is so subtle from the American one with what is called Canadian raising. So flipping difficult! hahaha.

    I want more languages in my arsenal as well, but to get that locked and loaded will take some time…

    Like I’ve said before, sometimes it feels like I’m missing things and people just don’t say anything. And sometimes I feel so looked down on by some veterans, because I simply can’t afford the best of the best and I have to do the best with what I have available… It’s hard being green all the way ’round, hehe.

    Funny story on the gazebo thing. We had one that we used as a car-port, because we just didn’t have enough garage space. One afternoon, my dad felt led to move my mom’s car from it and park it elsewhere in the yard. It started to rain shortly after. I was sitting in the living room and I got this vision of the thing collapsing in the rain and it was hysterical and my parents asked what was so funny. I told them that I can see it collapsed like a spider and it was about 10mins later – The Collapse – Tun-Tun-DAAAAAAAAAH! And yes, it was just like the picture, hahaha. Take that manual! hahaha.

    Thanx! This was a really great post – made me smile!

    1. It is my good pleasure to make you smile at my misfortune. 🙂 Thank you for the great feedback! Just like Kermit sang, “It’s not easy being green…” But Marius, I think you’re more a delightful shade of yellow at this point, about to turn orange, and then – look out! – RED HOT!!!

      1. Oh, the pleasure was all mine! hehehe.

        I actually remember that song! Vaguely, but I do! Gonna look it up later.

        LOL, thank you! I’m workin’ hard towards it in more ways than one! hehe.

        You’re really awesome! Thank you!

  6. Good analogy in this blog. Really good! I, like you Josh, am very visual so had a short film going in my head while reading this! 🙂 I did chuckle a bit. Sorry, not sorry!

    I’m going to make a selfish comment here … I hate looking the fool sooooo….
    I find and surround myself with the best, soak up everything I can without taking advantage of people, pay for the coaching and technical help I need and keep on going. Then I remember that no matter where you are in your journey, you have something to offer others that aren’t as far along in their journey as you are. You help “within your lane” and refer when it’s out of your lane. Learning never stops. There are always people that know more than you, and most certainly those that know less. It keeps us balanced. Teaching and coaching “within your lane” makes you better because sometimes we forget just how much we’ve struggled to learn. And some of that learning is by trial and error because we don’t ask for directions! Sigh….

    Be humble, be caring and always want the best for anyone you encounter on your journey.

    1. Don’t be sorry! I exist for amusement! The best way to bring amusement is through an embarrassing anecdote, and I have those in spades. 🙂 Always wanting the best is definitely the way to go…and that includes yourself (myself) as well. I want to continue to learn. I NEED to continue to learn. *mockingjay salute for Ray Kroc’s quote here*

  7. Great Article,
    I guess after a while we’ve witnessed the whole spectrum of closet to WhisperRoom, novice-OG, USB-U87, people need to figure out what works for them, not the other guy or your ego. The best ….(fill in the blank) is no substitute for talent, passion and perseverance. Which are things that are not available on Amazon or Sweetwater at any price.
    I’ll just keep plugging along, learning and growing and enjoying the ride I have been Blessed to take part in. You don’t know what you don’t know.

    1. Very true, Lee! I love it. I love Ray Kroc’s message…and that’s why I’m still doing coaching…still. I love receiving coaching on where I’m at. Just took one with Marc Cashman. Did group reads with JMC. Did individual coaching with JMC. Did continuing coaching with Scott Burns. Took live workshops with Pat Fraley. SO necessary! I don’t want to be ripe. 🙂

  8. If you are not always learning, you are doing something wrong. One of the main reasons I blog is that I am telling myself what to do! Yep, they are usually lessons that I have learned from someone else or through my own experience. Sometimes I just need to remind myself!

    A great blog once again Josh. You won’t make me change my mind about Taco Bell though……..

  9. I mean…shouldn’t all who look even remotely granny-like have instant access to covid vaccines? …and I always figured McDonald’s wasn’t in the food business…they’re really in the distribution business. Either way, I’m all about the food! LOL

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