Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Brief Explanation

A few months back I was conversing with my blogging mentor about the seemingly remote possibilities of me starting one up myself. If I recall, I cycled through a series of excuses ("I'm not interesting, the internet doesn't work at home, I don't own a digital camera...") but I knew the eventual outcome was all but decided when I came up with the name. Shotgun Knowledge. At first I wanted it to be all mysterious and I fantasized that I would get barraged with questions as to its meaning. Realistically, I believe the average citizen would come to the assumption that I shoot skeet. This is not the case.

So I feel I must ruin my own private joke and explain it. They say that if you have to explain the joke it isn't funny. So be it.

Why Shotgun Knowledge? Because I am really good at trivia. I am that annoying guy who shouts out answers to game shows on television, ruining it for everyone else in the room. I can't help myself. If I know something I feel it is my duty to tell the world. I just can't keep it in. Now, I don't by any stretch of the imagination consider myself an intellectual giant or any type of genius. I consider myself of above-average intelligence. I just have an inordinately good capacity for remembering what you might call "useless facts."

So, again, why Shotgun Knowledge? It is not because I hold a wealth of shotgun-related trivia in my head. I actually know very little about firearms. This phrase is something that I came up with several years ago to describe why I can carry a conversation with virtually any person I meet. At the time I thought it was quite apposite and I gave myself a mental pat on the back for being so erudite. I do this when I use big words, too. As I said, I am by no means an expert in any field (except cellular communications towers - my profession and passion). However, I do have little snippets of information (news stories, half-understood processes, etc.) that I can draw upon to keep a conversation alive. Most people, including me, start to feel a bit uncomfortable when a conversation becomes a lecture. So then both parties revert to silence or worse, talking about sports and/or the weather. As a general rule, I am interested in what other people do, so I try to keep them talking to me as long as possible.

Here's the good part. My moment of intellectual glory came one night at the bars on State Street. After a long night of drinking delicious beers and conversing with anyone within earshot, a peripheral female acquaintance asked me how I can talk to people about so many different subjects. I responded that while most people know a lot about their specific fields, I happen to know a little about a wide variety of subjects. To illustrate this in terms that any female would understand, I said that while most peoples' knowledge was like a rifle, focused on several points on the target, my knowledge was spread all over the place, like a shotgun blast. I was so pleased with this that I am still using it to this day.

There you have it. 500 plus words explaining the title of this blog. This is what you have to look forward to, folks.


Blogger Belle of Madison said...

Alternatively, you could call yourself "jack of all [conversation topics], master of none." ha ha ha.

1:48 PM  
Blogger K8E said...

Awesome :o)

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Carrie Schmidt said...

Dan, if you don't know much about firearms, then why is that all you talk about?

1:54 PM  
Blogger wallrock said...

CWS - you know I was just being modest. Anyone that has spent any time in my presence comes to realize I know all there is to know about guns.

Sarah - besides guns, I am totally the Master of Cell Phone Tower Knowledge. Give respect where it's due.

5:06 PM  

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