As I sat at dinner with my parents not too long ago, my attention was repeatedly diverted from our conversation by another group of people in the dining room. Specifically, across the room from us was a party of four and one of them was clearly the “I-know-so-many-things-listen-to-ME!” type. They went on and on at length in a projected voice about all the things they knew about food, then wine, then politics, then religion, then horticulture and animal husbandry, then quantum mechanics. No, I’m not kidding.
I’ll admit that I am one of those people who eavesdrops, especially if you make it easy for me to do so. I’ll also admit that I have a lot of random knowledge in my own head. Want to know how to tell gender in snakes? I can tell you (and show you). Curious about tentacle pornography? I can link you to an image of a woodcut that is supposed to be the first recording of such a thing in Japanese culture. Looking for information about what medications might interact with your antihistamine? I can find you a package insert. Having toilet training anxiety? I can tell you what worked for my son, and my nephew, and my niece and…well, you get the idea.
I love to share the things I know, sometimes to the point of imposing my knowledge on someone else in order to show them how competent I am. I never mean to do this, and I’m always horrified when I hear myself thinking, “Man, things would be so much better if you’d just listen to me!” because down this path lies the quacking Quackeroo and I just do not need to play that role again.
What is a quacking Quackeroo, you ask? (Well, I’ll tell you while trying not to impose knowledge if you don’t want it. ;)) Basically, the quacking Quackeroo goes on and on at length about the many things they know, often stridently, and often with the intent of noting how wrong someone else is. It is the person who demands respect for their own opinions by dismissing those of others. It is the person who tells people to fuck off for having toes instead of apologizing for stepping on them. It is the person who insists that Wicca is an ancient tradition, dating back to paleolithic matriarchal culture before the MENS came in and ruined everything. It is the person who insists that they can better identify what a woman is than the woman herself.
(I could keep going with examples, but I’m sure you get the point.)
As we are all Divine, so is the quacking Quackeroo, and thus it behooves us to treat them as such even if we’re tempted to beat their heads (or our own) against a wall. I find using one of two methods handy for this: the polite ignore and the finding of the teachable moment. The first is easier than the second, especially in forums with an ignore button. The second, well, this can lead the would-be teacher down the path of becoming a Quackeroo themselves without generous application of the mantra “I will not quack back. I will not quack back. I will not quack back.”
I tend to default to the second one but, then again, I’m still on the path of recovery.