Flashback: The know-it-all grandma and her acts of ignorance

Dear readers: This flashback feature originally appeared on Grandma's Briefs July 24, 2014. Thank you for reading my (updated) rerun.

I'm often asked by family, friends—and sometimes even strangers—for answers and directions on a variety of topics. I'm happy to say that I can usually give them what they seek. My husband often jokingly calls me Google; my daughters consider me one of the best researchers they know.

Which makes it difficult to not fancy myself a know-it-all at times.

To keep things in check—meaning, to deflate my occasionally oversized ego and obnoxiously large noggin'—I need only recall one or more of the times I was clearly not in the know. At all. The times I didn't know what the heck I should have known, whether I pretended to know it or not.

For example, when Jim and I were first married, we had a bachelor friend who often hung out at our place (because not only was he single, he was unemployed and had nothing better to do). He told jokes, he taught me to macramé—yeah, it was back in those days—and he attempted to teach me the ins and outs of frying chicken.

I chuckled at our friend's jokes, I created awesome plant hangers at his direction, but I refused to listen when he gently told me—a very young, very inexperienced wife/mother/cook—"that's not the way my mom does it" when I dropped breaded chicken pieces into a huge vat of high-temp oil in an attempt to fry chicken. "Well this is how I do it," I said (not revealing it was my first-ever time frying poultry).

The friend explained the frying skillet method. I ignored him. Our dinner turned out crispy on the outside, bloody raw on the inside, utterly inedible. Still, nearly 36 years later, I recall that friend and his suggestions each and every time I consider making fried chicken. 

Likewise, a similarly humbling act of ignorance from my early working days: Soon after my youngest was born—33 years ago—I took a job in a credit reporting agency. My boss preferred (and trusted) his staff to write up various form letters, sign his name to them, then send them off. The first time I was to do such, I wanted to ensure all was okay before dropping the letter in the mail, so I brought it to him for approval. "That's all fine and good, Lisa," he said to me, "but next time, please sign above where my name is typed out, not below it."

Gah! Such ignorance when it came to business doings. I recall that misstep each and every time I sign a contract.

Culinary and business doings aren't the only things I was once quite naive about. I was—and sometimes still am—quite ignorant about relationships, as well. Bad relationships, for the most part, at least those my sisters were involved in.

Recalling the many times I've done my best to support—and rescue—my sisters from horrid romantic tanglings mostly hurts my heart and brings me close to tears. One situation, though, makes me chuckle every time I think about it. Not so much because of the situation, but because of my ignorance about how things can and do go bad. And my sheer stupidity when it came to slang o' the day.

One of my younger sisters had been in a tumultuous on-and-off relationship. The day the tumult resulted in the final end-of-relationship point, my sister called me in tears, crying and screaming that the jerk had left and—much to my horror—had "ripped me a whole new <cuss>." Which you can surely figure out. I, though, didn't figure it out. I freaked, hopped in the car, and rushed to my sister's side. I anguished over the unimaginable scene I'd likely find upon my arrival at her door, scared to death my sister would be laid out in a pool of blood from the horrific act of new-hole ripping.

Imagine my confusion when she answered her door, ranting and raving... without the teeniest bit of harm done to her body, much less needing medical assistance for a whole new hole of any sort.

Yes, I really was that naive, that ignorant. And I recall that incident each and every time I hear someone utter that idiotic phrase.

Those are just three of the moments that humble me, bring me back to reality when I consider myself a know-it-all. There are one or two more, I assure you.

I share such stories in hopes you know the truth about me. And that you'll be a good friend and mention such silliness anytime you see my ego inflating, my head growing, my attitude being that I know more than I really do.

I appreciate your intervention in advance. I'll no doubt recall your kindness each and every time my noggin' begins to swell.

Today's question:

What act(s) of ignorance might you be willing to share?