Know-it-all syndrome

Why you should fact-check yourself before you wreck yourself

To begin her campaign for the presidency of the United States, Minnesota representative Michelle Bachmann announced her candidacy in Waterloo, Iowa.

Apparently, Bachmann chose Iowa because it is the “John Wayne state,” supposedly the home to the famous actor and American icon who Bachmann felt represent the “American Spirit.” However, a bit of fact-checking would have told Mrs. Bachmann that Waterloo, Iowa was not the birthplace of John Wayne the actor, but of John Wayne Gacy, an infamous serial killer who decidedly does not showcase the proper “American Spirit.”

While this is perhaps an extreme example, within the above story is a lesson of which students-or people in any walk of life-can make use.

Always know what it is you’re talking about. Too many times I’ve listened to people make complete fools of themselves by trying to present a lecture on a subject they know nothing about. Many times that somebody has been me.

During the few months leading up to any presidential election, you and everyone you know turn into political science majors and during Oscar season, everyone’s a critic.

I’m not passing judgment, I’m stating an observation. And while discussion on those topics should be encouraged, we need to do the research if we’re going to talk the talk without having actual poly-sci and film majors roll their eyes every time we open our mouths.

This kind of behavior is okay in school where our fellow students won’t fact check us and we can get just about anything with relatively few consequences, but once graduation comes and we all enter the real world, we’re going to be in for a nasty shock if we don’t clean up our acts and get with the knowledge.

Your fellow students will likely just call you a jackass and start losing respect for you, but your bosses? They’ll fire you.

Every Tuesday night I attend team trivia at one of the local bars and on our team is one such know-it-all who has elected himself as team captain. As a result, after the reading of every question we have to hear “oh, I know it, it’s on the tip of my tongue” before the wrong answer gets written down. Because of this, we went from second place to being so far down we have no shot of making it into the top three in the final week.

In real life he’s a friend and a perfectly nice guy, but I won’t tell you what he gets called come trivia night.

Know-it-all-ism is not a sensation sweeping the nation, it’s the reason you’re getting irritated looks from all your friends. I would know, I’ve been there once or ten times before. For the sake of becoming a better human being, I’m making the promise to myself not only to be my own fact-checker, but to stop running my mouth every chance I get. From my years of being alive, I’ve learned one thing for certain: those who really know it all don’t flaunt it.