I realize not everyone out there has as much experience feeling like a doofus compared to me, and it occurred to me that perhaps that’s a skill set I should pass on to those in need of mastering the art. Of course, when you’ve been making an idiot of yourself for as long as I have, much of it comes naturally, so it’s hard to really refine the whole essence of the process into a simple checklist. However, nothing’s quite like learning by example, so I thought I might give you a step by step run down of a true story from yesterday that might serve as a good foundation for any future studies you might make.
Ready? Here we go.
STEP ONE: Get to know someone new at work. This might seem like a random place to start, but with some experience, you’ll discover it’s the little things that all come together to really make you feel dorky. In my case, I was at a gathering of new faculty. And I made the tactical error of getting to know some of them. Silly, Bryce.
STEP TWO: Decide to do something nice for your daughter. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. In my case, she’d gone over to a friend’s house and texted to see if she could get picked up early. I agreed, because nice.
STEP TWO SIDE NOTE: Do not, under any circumstances, pay any attention to anything else your daughter texts you. She asked to get picked up. You said you were on your way. Done. End of story. It doesn’t matter if she texts you anything else. You already know everything you need to know.
STEP THREE: This is key, and it features in most formulas that make you look like an idiot. Assume you already know something. In my case, I assumed I already knew where Daniela’s friend’s house was. Mind you, I also knew that her friend had moved, but I conveniently forgot that piece of information. Instead, I just drove to where her friend had lived before. I think you can see where this is going now.
STEP FOUR: Arrive at the old house and ring the doorbell. Wait patiently, because true idiocy only comes to those who wait.
STEP FIVE: Meet the same faculty member you just met the day before. She’s standing in the door, wondering why in the world the library director is making house calls, and also how in the world did the library director know where she lives, and what else might the library director know, and just how powerful are librarians, really?
It really doesn’t matter what the new faculty member is thinking, however, because you’ve already reached your goal. You feel like a real idiot, because you suddenly remember that yes, Daniela’s friend moved, and yes, you just went to the wrong house. It helps to seal the deal, though.
I stared at the faculty member. She stared at me, “Hi?” she said, a note of latent librarian-laced fear just tingeing her voice. Her partner has shown up in the background, wondering if he’ll have to intercede with this rando who just rang their doorbell.
“You just moved in here, didn’t you?” I asked.
“My daughter’s friend used to live here, but I’m assuming Daniela didn’t come here instead of her friend’s house, did she?” (Note that I had already learned my lesson about assumptions, and I was no longer going to fall for that trick. That day, at least.)
With that clouded jumble of words still lingering in the air, I hurried back to my car and drove away. Where? Away. Anywhere. Someplace I could call Daniela and find out where exactly her friend lives now. It wasn’t far. I got out my phone and there was the follow up message from Daniela. Do you know where her house is now?
And there you have it. Feeling foolish really isn’t difficult, and if you use a few of those steps as your guide, you’ll be playing in the big leagues in no time. Who knows? Maybe some day soon you’ll be on my doorstep, feeling kind of stupid. You can always dream.
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