|Oooh! LOOK! FLOWERRRRZZZZZ!|
Several (many, many) years ago, I dated a fellow who I shall call :"Pat." He had one of those nice, androgynous names.
|Not this Pat, but close. |
In a nutshell, his first job was weeding someone's garden. They told him to go to the tomato patch and pull all of the weeds. Well, go he did, and pull he did. Thing is, he weeded out all of the tomato seedlings. All. Of. Them.
His response, when they were telling him why he got fired, was, "But, nobody told me what tomatoes looked like!"
|I'll bet that's a WEED, right, Cletus?|
He, somehow, used this as a way to describe how he rose from poverty to unspoken-of (frequently unspoken-of) wealth.
Now, at the time, I laughed along with all the rest, but it rankled. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it was a little family in-joke, and I was glad to be in on it.
Now? Ugh. I know why it bugs. It's galling when someone uses their own ignorance as something of which they are proud. WHY didn't he think to ask what the tomato sprouts looked like? Why didn't he ASK? Didn't it occur to him that if there were eleventy-thousand of the same exact little plants in the plot, that maybe just maybe they might be the tomatoes?
The implication was that since he was not TOLD -- specifically told -- that he could not be held responsible.
This makes me think of all the people in college (yes, in COLLEGE) who pepper the professor with "Will this be on the test?" You know, if you're there to learn or do a job, that IS the test. Life is the test. Willful ignorance is not something about which one should be proud. It is something to never do, unless you're trying to convince your parents that you DO believe in Santa. I'll give you that one.
My little son tries to pull this on me sometimes. "But, Mama, you didn't TELL me to put on pants!"
I remind him that our heads all contain the remarkable thing called BRAINS, and that one should first try to use one's own brain. Not mine, not your sister's. Yours.