Writerly Rant #11
The Insufferable Know-it-all –
We have all met the insufferable Know-it-all at some point in our lives; those of us truly blessed have met more than one. Now, I’m not talking about that super-smart kid in your 7th grade class who loved race cars and talked of nothing else – no, even he only got a ‘B’ in science and was happy about it. I’m referring to an adult who has likely watched too much T.V. or read too many books on a wide variety of subjects. He or she may or may not have had a number of different jobs over the years, and while generally quiet and unassuming from a distance, once accepted into a conversation simply knows everything.
Trying to have a meaningful conversation with this person is like banging your head against a wall, repeatedly. Wait, no, at least by the end of that little experiment in redundancy you will come away with a headache and the mental acuity to avoid said wall in the future. Unlike walls, the Know-it-all is a sly creature adept at hiding in plain sight; and, like a crocodile, will snap suddenly and take you down until you drown in their half-truths and self-serving pontification.
Because in Canada it’s rude to abruptly end a conversation (yes, I’m playing the polite stereotype – I’ll embrace it lovingly).
Try as you might to conclude a topic with this rare species, you will either find yourself back at the beginning of the conversation or suddenly tossed into a new one with no idea how you got there. The subtly of looking at your watch to indicate you have no time left to spare is completely lost on the Know-it-all. He knows you have the time as this species has unwittingly learned to spot a tell – a necessity in order to survive and elocute ad nauseam.
Even when in error on a particular subject matter that happens to be dear to your heart, the Know-it-all will never acquiesce. Never. It is an ingrained instinct in the species to provide a surface agreement on a point rather than admit wrong or lack of awareness. This signature trait is often accompanied by a slight smile or twinkle in the eye. Without fail though, the quality in the vocal timber will without a doubt alert you to the fact that they are merely placating you and not really agreeing.
Should the know-it-all’s prey manage to escape, it will only be with a nod of the head or wave of the hand immediately followed by a hasty retreat. This beast must at least have the last word if it cannot consume your sanity.
Therefore, be forewarned – if ensnared by a Know-it-all politely mock him and be on your way. After all, he will see the imitation as a sign of flattery.
By M.J. Moores, OCT. Author. Writer. Business Owner.