Punching a Polymath square in the mouth
Updated: May 18, 2021
I'm sure you've met one. You know, that person in your family or group of friends that can fix anything. Not just fix anything, but build anything too.
Fix-it-Felix meets Bob the Builder. Is it me or are these people annoying as hell?
Ok, I'll admit. I'm jealous. Really, really jealous.
You see, I can hardly screw in a lightbulb properly. I remember a couple of years ago I volunteered at my son's Cub Scouts class. They were going to do a workshop on science. I figured, how bad could it be? Try real bad. As luck would have it, we had to help the kids put together a bug house. Simple enough right? Well let's just say it was the kids who ended up teaching me how to put this little house of hell together, as I missed hammering in one nail after another. My first demo looked like a house that had been devastated by a hurricane.
Truth is, these "people" are not people who even work in construction, they are often not engineers or architects, on paper they are no handymen. They are and should be nobody's. But you see they are in reality far from it. The appropriate term to describe them would be a polymath, which is defined as a person whose expertise spans a significant number of subject areas, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.
But let's cut the Oxford talk. In short, they were created to humble and embarrass the rest of us.
Your kid's bike breaks, most of us start calling all the bike shops around looking for help, but then along comes Mr Fix-It-All, spots the broken vehicle, and in a few seconds, voila, the bike is as good as new and your child looks at you like you are seriously challenged. "You know my dad was going to spend 100$ to get it repaired".
How about those furniture sets you order and that require a Harvard's degree to put together. Well, guess what. That annoying neighborhood leech can figure it out in under an hour. These polymaths can also build anything too. I sometimes wish I could break into one of their houses and play Wreck-It-Ralph, drive in with a John Deere and raze the entire floor (oops, did I just say that out loud). Just to see how quickly he'd be able to put it all back together. Oh my, is that an expensive vase I knocked down?
And then there's that condescending tone of voice with which they share their God-given skills. When they finish their work, they feel entitled to patronize your little self by offering advice. Their mouths become really, really small, lips tightly woven together, as they begin their sermon, and proceed to make it sound like it was a piece of cake. Zip it will ya MacGiver....
One guy I know recently told me he'd built his own chalet from scratch. "Oh but I got help for the electrical part". Great, did ya build the road leading to the chalet too? Are you the one who invented the internet? Needless to say this was a real boost to my (dwindling) ego. Was it time to throw it right back in his face, tell him how I (barely) built a cardboard bus for my kids when they were little. Mention the Lego petting zoo set I once put together (at the tender age of 40)?
Unfortunately though, these folks are not satisfied just being good at playing Tim the Tool Man. Nope. They can apparently also figure out pool issues too. Broken pipes, algae issues, water leakage you name it. They specialize in chemistry just as much as they do engineering. Balancing and putting together the right concoction of chemicals to keep their pools immaculate at all times. Meanwhile, over at my house, I've spent so many hours experimenting with different products desperately trying to keep my pool looking half decent, that its begun to look like an outdoor crystal meth lab.
Honestly, can these people just go away?