Mr Know-All’s Croatian fluke
IF THE types of people we would least like as companions on a desert island, most of us I’m sure, would put down the “know-alls” first. This group is up there with the ill-tempered, the moaners, and the hypochondriacs, although raffle-ticket sellers would be close also-rans.
The “know-alls” are in a class of their own when it comes to raising the blood pressure and fraying the temper.
Significantly, the “know-all” is rarely a modest type of individual. The people who are genuinely blessed with grey matter, are usually quick to admit their limitations and their reservations in matters beyond their scope.
We have the example of Sir Winston Churchill in dealing with a Latin problem when he was a schoolboy at Harrow. He once said that after much reflection on an examination question, he put a circle round the number but then could not think of anything even remotely connected to the subject that was either relevant or pertinent.
Einstein was humble enough to tell a questioner that he hadn’t the vaguest idea of what constituted an omelette and the Bishop of Canterbury is reputed to have told an audience of clerics that he thought Christian Dior was one of the French saints.
However, while the geniuses and the intellectuals are willing to admit their ignorance, the “know-alls” have an answer for everything and are always ready to tell us how to solve the world’s problems.
“Mr Know-All” is found everywhere. He is always on the touch-line of a rugby match shouting advice at the ref and asking him if he has left his spectacles at home. And although he has never lifted a garden spade in his life, he knows when and how to plant seed potatoes. His golf handicap is 30 but he will tell his club pro why he sliced his drive. He played cake league cricket but can advise AB de Villiers how to improve his cover drive. His children are delinquents but he is an authority on the upbringing of the young.
But what is even more maddening about the “know-all” who is always wrong, is that he is occasionally right. Such a person known to me had been for weeks telling anyone within earshot that Croatia would feature in the Fifa World Cup final. I mean please, hands up those who even know where Croatia is?
Well, I know now that it borders Serbia somewhere down in the south-east of Europe. And who won Wimbledon? Novak Djokovic, of course, who is also from that part of the world. It’s history now that tiny Croatia (population: 4 million) gave mighty France (population: 67 million) an admirable run for their money in the final.
Must be something in the air!