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Daze of My Life: Don't Know From Adam
Daze of My Life
Don't Know From Adam
There's so much I don't know that not knowing from whom or from where I don't know it is largely irrelevant to me. Nor is it a matter of blame. I take full responsibility for what it is that I don't know. But knowing what I don't know and being open and admitting it is a good quality, I've been told. But neither do I remember who told me that. I only remember being told.
"A man has to know his limitations," you may recall Clint Eastwood/"Dirty Harry" saying to a "punk, hunh?" But in keeping with the theme of this column, I can't remember exactly which "Dirty Harry" movie it was said. I can only remember that it was said, and quite famously, and repeatedly, so much so that it has become part of popular culture. And it's become part of my culture as well. I don't go around saying it, mimicking Clint in the process, I simply embrace it, intellectually, as an explanation for the many shortcomings I possess.
Ironically though, I believe I take a certain amount - and type - of pride in not knowing, and knowing that I don't know. As such, I rarely reach beyond my grasp. Nor do I bite off more than I can chew (figuratively speaking. Literally speaking, I do all the time, just ask my wife. No, don't ask my wife, she'd rather not be reminded). And more often than not, I will look before I leap. Somehow, somewhere, with the help of so many others, especially my parents, I suppose I have learned my lessons, thankfully.
The kinds of lessons that may not be reflected in the content of these columns, nor might they be apparent if you spend any amount of time with me. And for all I know, this knowledge may be a figment of my imagination and not really obvious to anyone with whom I have conversations or business dealings. However, since this perception is already in my head, it might be difficult to convince me otherwise.
But knowing that - and admitting it - might yet prove noteworthy. If I know that I'm not always right, and I know how much there is that I don't know, and I know my limitations, than I may know a lot more than I think I know. And "Adam" whoever he is or was, is also someone I don't know and even if I did know who Adam was - or is, I certainly wouldn't blame him for any of my shortcomings. On the other hand, "Adam" is just part of an expression whose knowledge may or may not have something to do with the Garden of Eden, but that's something else that I don't know. But I don't mind that I don't know. It's just another log on that what-I-don't-know fire which blazes internally and it looks like, eternally, too.
But so what? What's in a name, what's in a number? It's all about what's in your head, anyway. What I don't know won't hurt me unless I'm too stubborn to admit it. And I may be lots of things, but stubborn is not one of them. That's something else I know. And now you know, for better or worse.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.
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