backchannel: doin’ it right

When I was camping in the snowy spot a group of young people hiked through.  Nice enough folks, with one guy who appeared to be something of a blowhard.  A bit unusual at that early age.

We talked for a while and he misunderstood the essence of pretty much every topic while holding forth confidently on all of them.  I was  reminded of this quote:

> The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell

He also had a head full of terrible ideas about building a campervan, each of which he punctuated with the catchphrase ”I’ll be doin’ it_ right_.”  His hiking buddies acted vaguely embarrassed for him.

Sometimes people are so confused there is nowhere easy to start untangling the knot.  Sometimes I don’t care if they stay knotted and I keep my mouth shut.

I didn’t think this guy was amenable to reason, but the other hikers were listening in and some seemed interested.  Maybe they were considering their own camper builds.  So I asked some open-ended questions:

  • what happens if… ?

  • do you have a plan for… ?

  • have you considered… ?

  • what are your thoughts on… ?

He had canned blowhard retorts for everything, ending most of them with  “doin’ it right”.   Yeah, buddy, you’re doin’ it right.

I hope he doesn’t take anybody else down with him.