Things I Don’t Know That I Know I Should Know

Vintage nerd at computer
World Geography

The part of my brain responsible for learning geographical information retired and filed for Social Security the second I mastered U.S. states and their capitals.

Sorry, rest of the world.

I can still get by; I generally know where things are.  But I’m not winning any global geography trivia nights.

What Makes Cars Go

I envy people who can pop a hood and make sense of what’s going on under there.  Because it’s one giant, intimidating mystery to me.  I drive a Honda.  And here’s a list of what I feel comfortable doing to it:

– Filling up the gas tank.
– Putting air in the tires.
– Washing it.

I did also wax it once.

For everything else, I’m entirely dependent on the service center at my local Honda dealership.  I’m sure my ignorance causes me to occasionally — okay, frequently — overpay.

But I’m at peace with that.  The main thing I want my car to do is get me from point A to point B without breaking.  Fingers crossed.

How to Use a Grill

Cooking for me is all about speed, efficiency, and minimizing the mess I’ll have to clean up.

So grilling always seemed like too much of a hassle.  You need charcoal (or gas), tongs, brushes, skewers, various other accoutrements, open-air spaces.

I never bothered with any of it.

My stance on grills is like my stance on boats: I’d rather just have a friend with one.  I’ll bring the hamburger buns if you do the rest.

Almost All Aspects of Home Improvement 

Plumbing?  Umm, I’ll call somebody.  Electrical?  Definitely calling somebody.

Foundation issues?  Appliances on the fritz?  Garage door refusing to act garage-door-like?

As a first-time homeowner, I’m constantly adding to my ever-growing pile of “stuff I don’t know how to do.”  I lean heavily on YouTube and the advice of handier friends.

My self-esteem finds minimal solace in the few “house-y” things I’ve become quite good at, like mowing.  And changing light bulbs.

I am trying to learn more, though.  I watch HGTV occasionally.  And I love when everyone on the show House Hunters mentions how impressed they are with crown molding: “Woah, look up…Ahhhh yeah, this place has crown molding!!”  Who knew decorative trim-work could bring people such joy.

And thanks to Chip and Joanna, I now know what “shiplap” is.

Wine Culture

Paul Giamatti sniffing wine glass

There’s red, of course.  Then you have your whites.  You can swirl it around in a glass and seductively sniff it so as to savor its distinctive “notes.”  That’s pretty much all I know on the subject.

I did enjoy the movie Sideways, which is mostly about wine.

I also learned, at the only wine tasting I’ve ever been to, that I’m not a fan of smoky-flavored things, including whatever type of wine they gave me that tasted like drinking an old cigar.

All Things Star Wars

Quick confession: I hate Star Wars.

And I’ve been into some nerdy-ass stuff in my day.  I played Magic: The Gathering unironically for years in middle school and early high school; I owned more than one piece of Dungeons & Dragons paraphernalia (oh the sweet dice collection I had!); comic book posters adorned my bedroom walls longer than I’d like to admit.  And I was really into chess for a while.

My college roommates and I spent an embarrassing amount of time, in our dorm, playing Warcraft lll: Reign of Chaos online.  This was back when the word “gamer” was synonymous with “virgin loser.”  So it didn’t exactly boost our social lives.  But we didn’t care; we got really good at it anyway.

All this is to say that I have the capacity to get my inner nerd on with the best of ‘em.

Yet, despite this, I could never get into Star Wars.  It’s too cheesy — with all the silly characters, the overly contrived dialogue, the bloated soap-opera storylines.

I tried to watch it as a kid in the 80’s, quickly got bored and resumed choreographing elaborate fight scenes with my GI Joe’s.

I tried again as a teenager when one of the newer iterations came out (the one with Jar Jar Binks).  I watched the whole thing this time, start to finish.  And it ended up being even more terrible than expected.

Jar Jar Binks

What am I missing?

Clearly something big.  Because the Star Wars franchise is culturally significant in unprecedented ways.  It’s beloved by millions (if not billions) of people worldwide.

And it has thoroughly permeated society’s consciousness to a higher degree than anything I can think of in the last few generations (with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings probably tied for second).

So I forge ahead, doing my best to conceal my bafflement when I hear people excitedly rave and gush about how much they LOVE everything Star Wars.

It’s hard pretending to follow along or care whenever a conversation turns toward Wookiees, Jedis, Han Solo, and lightsabers.

I’ve mentally thrown in the proverbial space towel.  I give up — I’ve accepted that I’m just never going to get Star Wars.

But I’m genuinely glad it makes so many other people ridiculously fuckin’ happy.  To them I say: May the Force be with you.  Or whatever.

Han Solo points laser gun at self

One Commnet on “Things I Don’t Know That I Know I Should Know

  1. I’d throw any middle eastern conflict on this list. Benghazi? More like BenGAYzi (not that anything’s wrong with that). Amiright?