Armchair experts abound

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Ever notice how someone is an expert about something they don’t have to do? It’s pretty amazing how many people instantly become doctors, lawyers, mechanics and plumbers when they’re not physically involved in the project.

I’m reminded of this as I listen to George on the phone with a shipper, trying to explain why there’s no possible way to enter a delivery site from the directions provided.

Entrance only“Man, I don’t care what Google Maps is telling you, that road has been closed for a year and there’s no way in from the North side. I’m circling around and coming in from the South.”

Believe it or not (and you probably believe it) the doofus on the other end of the conversation continued to argue, while George passed the road that had been closed for a year and circled around to the South, where he found the entrance with no problem.

It’s easy to tell people how to do a job you don’t have to do. The FMCSA happens to be a perfect example of this phenomenon.

Early on, before trucking or nursing, George and I had a landscaping business. We also did tree work, which happens to be a skill Mr. Parker is fantastic at. He has an insane ability to understand geometry and spacial distance and can drop a tree within inches of where he says it’s going to fall, every single time.

We were at a job in a pretty ritzy neighborhood, and had been called to take down a couple of little pine trees. The customer was one of those who wouldn’t just go away and let us do our job. He had to follow George around and tell him how to cut down the trees without maiming his $3,000 mailbox. I’ve mentioned before that George is a patient man, and instead of telling Daddy Warbucks with the $3,000 mailbox to hush up and go away, he walked around the tree a couple of times and started the chainsaw.

Mr. Know-It-All freaked out.

“Wait a minute! You’re not going to rope it off?”

“Don’t need to.”

“You know that’s a $3,000 mailbox directly underneath the tree, right?”

“You mentioned that.”

“I hope you have insurance.”

“I do. Won’t need it.”

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He made his cut, the tree fell exactly where he said it was going to, and the $3,000 mailbox lives on.

And the moral of the story is – it’s great to know things, but knowing how to do things is a completely different animal, and it’s probably a good idea to know how to do something before you tell someone else how to do it.

It doesn’t matter what the job title is, having someone with direct personal experience is always better than someone who is “book smart” on the task at hand. Let’s remember that as we have the opportunity to nominate people for the Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee. Maybe, just maybe, we can get actual drivers with real road experience to help establish proper training and education standards for the industry. Who better to do the job?

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