Nobody likes a know-it-all

Jan 12, 2014


Have you ever thought you are right about something — KNOW you are right — only to find out in the end you were wrong after all?

When I was a kid, I loved to learn and share what I learned. I read voraciously and absorbed information like a sponge.

And I tried to make use of that information.

I loved mystery stories and learned to read between the lines to decipher who did it. And sometimes I’d “read between the lines” of other things I learned, adding 2 plus 2 but getting 5. Years later when I was a reporter, that intuition helped me a great deal — but sometimes you can jump to too quick a conclusion.

I learned that in the first grade.

Thanks to my grandmother, who took me to the library and read to me from the time I was an infant, I was able to read books with few or no pictures by the time I entered school. And I was pretty proud of it. I wasn’t very athletic or fast, but at least I was able to do something that was better than my classmates.

So one day when our teacher was explaining that the place where the earth and sky seem to join is known as the horizon, I had to stop to correct her.

I had no doubt she was right about it being the horizon; she was just pronouncing it wrong.

There were a lot of words in my young vocabulary, and although I’d never heard of “horizon” I knew “horizontal” And I knew horizontal was pronounced “hor-izz-ontal”

So I knew my poor teacher was mispronouncing horizon. It should be “hor-izz-on” But she was pronouncing it, “hor-eye-zin” So I corrected her, in front of the entire class.

Even when the teacher patiently and kindly explained that I was wrong but it was an understandable mistake nonetheless, I insisted that SHE was wrong.

When I finally learned the truth, I’d been taken down a notch and discovered the hard way that the English language was much more complicated than I’d ever suspected.

I used to believe the last line of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was “Then all the reindeer loved him, and they shouted out with glee: ‘Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll go down in his story’”

Whose story, I used to wonder, and where could I read it?.

Thankfully my father finally explained that Rudolph would go down in history. But it took a while before I was able to confirm that he was right.

My aunt cured me of much of my know-it-all-ism when I was spending a week at her home in Garfield Heights. I was probably in the third or fourth grade. Somehow the discussion got around to police dogs. I said to her that police dogs are usually German shepherds. But Aunt Betty told me no, that numerous breeds serve as police dogs.

Well, I was SURE I was right. But given my track record, I’d learned to double-check, just to be REALLY sure. So I grabbed a nearby dictionary and looked up “police dog” It said: 1. A dog trained to assist police. 2. A German shepherd.

I was right. So I figured Aunt Betty would want to know. I brought the dictionary over to her, pointed to the definition and said, “Look. Under police dog, it says ‘German shepherd’” I guess I thought my aunt would be happy to learn something new. I thought wrong.

The dictionary got tossed across the room and my aunt screamed at me: “You! You always have to be right, don’t you!!”

I learned two important lessons out of all this:

One, if you are going to insist that you’re right, be sure you’re right.

And two, even if you are right, you don’t always need to tell someone.


Raoul Duke

Yes. I'm married.

JMOP's picture

LMBO...cause it's true

The General

Oh no Jimbo tell me it ain't so...

Coram Deo

It's kind of a game we play as kids isn't it, to "be right", but hopefully as we grow up we learn that "being right is the most useless of human endeavors. The worst thing about having to be right is that you have to find someone to be wrong". Ken Blanchard, author of We are the Beloved.


What does it profit a man to know many things- if the many things he knows are not true?


but I usually am right!


Reminds me of an old book:

"'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: And Other Misheard Lyrics"

"The ants are my friends/They're blowin' in the wind" ("The answer my friend/Is blowing' in the wind"-Bob Dylan)

"Sweet dreams are made of cheese" ("Sweet dreams are made of this"-Eurythmics)

"The girl with colitis goes by" ("The girl with kaleidoscope eyes"-The Beatles)

I recall some radio show had people call in with their 'misheard' lyrics - it was hysterical.

One guy called in and said that his mother heard the following:

"Hey! Mule! Get off of my plow" ("Hey! You! Get off of my cloud" - Rolling Stones)

Stop It

I know someone who says and really believes it, "I'm not always right, but I'm never wrong"


Bill O'Reilly: Often wrong, but never in doubt.

The Prez fits into that camp as well.

Peninsula Pundit

Along with a majority of regular posters on these boards.


Re: "Along with a majority of regular posters on these boards."

Inclusive of yourself no doubt?

FYI: I ain't in any position to do any socio-economic damage unlike the above mentioned (especially the latter individual).

Kottage Kat

I don't have to be right, I have to be happy.


Ignorance is bliss until it comes to poison