The saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is credited to Alexander Pope, but it is actually a misquote. What he said in An Essay on Criticism, is “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”
So this is interesting. Alexander Pope was the first to say it, but that’s not what he said. Then who . . .? What . . .?
Oh well, I digress. Because regardless of who said it, it is true. Just watch American’s Funniest Videos. With just a little learning, certain behavior might seem like a good idea, but you might want to think it through a little more thoroughly. The tipsy wedding guest has seen Fred Astaire dance on tables. It can be done. The knowledge he’s missing is that tables in movie studios are heavy duty and bolted to the floor!
This week I saw a link: You’re Loading Your Dishwasher Wrong. The promise was a lot of money saved if you learned to do it right. I didn’t click. No point. Because since the dishwasher was invented in 1920 no two people have agreed on how to load it.
Of course the electronic age offers a wealth of opportunities to err in the use of devices and apps using the small amount of learning we have. Emailing a private message to a large listserve; venting on Facebook thinking only your friends can see.
Several years ago when texting was introduced, I had an acquaintance so entranced with it she declared: “I love this! From now on this is my means of communication. No more email. I won’t answer the phone. Just text.”
What she had missed was the part about the other party being able to receive. I missed her message when she texted my land line.
Now we have hoverboards. A whole new way to demonstrate that one knows a little bit about a few things . . . just enough to make him dangerous.
Thanks to hoverboards, America’s Funniest Videos will never lack material.