backchannel: doin’ it right

When I was camping in the snowy spot a group of young people hiked through.  Nice enough folks, with one guy who appeared to be something of a blowhard.  A bit unusual at that early age.

We talked for a while and he misunderstood the essence of pretty much every topic while holding forth confidently on all of them.  I was  reminded of this quote:

> The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. — Bertrand Russell

He also had a head full of terrible ideas about building a campervan, each of which he punctuated with the catchphrase “I’ll be doin’ it right.”  His hiking buddies acted vaguely embarrassed for him.

Sometimes people are so confused there is nowhere easy to start untangling the knot.  Sometimes I don’t care if they stay knotted and I keep my mouth shut.

I didn’t think this guy was amenable to reason, but the other hikers were listening in and some seemed interested.  Maybe they were considering their own camper builds.  So I asked some open-ended questions:

  • what happens if… ?
  • do you have a plan for… ?
  • have you considered… ?
  • what are your thoughts on… ?

He had canned blowhard retorts for everything, ending most of them with  “doin’ it right“.   Yeah, buddy, you’re doin’ it right.

I hope he doesn’t take anybody else down with him.


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