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Learning About Ignorance

By Bill Andrews

Wow, I’m surprised you have time to read this, considering how hosed you are. I mean, it’s the end of term, everything’s due soon, and I dunno about you, but I certainly don’t have the time to do anything but tool and tool and maybe sleep. It’s too bad, though, since there are so many better things I could be doing with my time.

Learning to krump, for example. That’s right, my few dance-savvy readers who already know and love krumping — I went there. For the rest of us, krump is a new style of aggressive dancing, which apparently gets its name from Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise. That settles that, eh? It was featured in the documentary Rize, which I (and, probably you) never saw, though I did mean to. If you’re still unsure of what it is, just YouTube “krump” and see what pops up. You’ll be amazed and flabbergasted, just as I was when, a week ago, I was introduced to krumping.

I was just minding my own business, trying so hard to finish my editing for this newspaper, when the Editor in Chief walked over and said, “Hey, have you guys ever heard of krumping?” Two hours later, I was no further in my work, but knew much more about the world and my ignorance of it.

Alas, here was yet another example of something about which I knew nothing. Isn’t it a little disheartening that, no matter who you are or where you live or how much you know, there still exists a multitude of things about which you don’t even know you don’t know (to paraphrase departing Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s almost poetic gibberish)? Maybe you’re one of those optimist, glass-is-half-full types (in which case I wonder which school you got into), and you see the miraculous breadth of life and the world’s state as something great, a wonderful equalizer which everyone has in common and can relate to. But no, you’d be wrong, because it sucks to find out you’re even dumber than you thought you were.

For me, krumping, and the totally unrelated (though similar looking) style “clowning,” was more than just laughing at people spazzing around. (Disclaimer: I’m not really one to talk, since my spasms don’t look nearly as good.) It was just another in the long list of things that have taken me down a peg. My first ever B+, a whole bunch of girls (before I met my fiancee, of course), waiting tables, and now krumping, have each served to remind me not only that I was capable of making mistakes, but that I constantly do so. Just what I needed to boost my morale for all the projects due these days.

But, all was not lost. You see, there are many times in life when I see someone display skillz so mad, I can’t help but be jealous. Whether it’s juggling seven things at once, or hearing someone (non-Japanese) speak Japanese, or playing the piano, I always wish I could join them. The problem, of course, is that I don’t want to learn these skillz. I’d rather just wake up one day having them, perhaps via a magic genie or a deal with God (“I’ll trade You one church for knowing Latin, deal?”).

And, that fateful day, with the Editor in Chief standing nearby and some dudes on the screen flippin’ out, I realized that krumping was not one of these skillz. I wasn’t jealous at all! Quite the opposite, actually, I was happy I didn’t know how to look like that (while sober). Man, talk about a waste of time (well, odds are you were wasting time anyway, given Facebook’s popularity these days).

The key, it turns out, is prioritization. Of course we can’t know esoteric stuff like krumping, or the scientific name of the sea louse, but so what? Who cares if you don’t know such things, or even that they might exist? It’s hard enough learning everything we need just to get by, let alone trying to figure out everything. As long as you don’t get cocky, and make sure you know everything you’re supposed to know (unlike Rumsfeld this time), you’ll be fine.

And the best part is we already know this. When we’re performing academic triage these days, putting off the paper due Monday to work on the lab report due today, we’re already practicing for a life as real adults, getting ready to not know all sorts of things. Kinda makes me feel like dancing, if I weren’t so busy.