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Demonstrating the Perils of Limited Knowledge in Life

I’ve likely heard the familiar saying: “A bit of knowledge can be perilous.”

Regrettably, I have personally experienced its validity on multiple occasions.

It appears that whenever I embarked on misguided ventures, it didn’t take long for me to realize my lack of expertise in the subject matter.

A crucial realization was that merely observing my elder brother Lowell’s adept handling of various projects did not genetically impart the same skills to me.

Most of these endeavors were part of national competitions open to individuals aged 12 to 18.

With a four-year age gap between Lowell (may he rest in peace) and me, he ventured into the “Soapbox Derby” in Juneau, Alaska, competing in the Senior Division while I, barely 11, had to slightly manipulate my age to qualify for the Junior Division.

Lowell excelled in design, crafting two exceptional cars in consecutive years. In his final attempt, he dominated every heat and was on the cusp of clinching a trip to Akron, Ohio, when an unfortunate incident occurred. A lady spectator crossed the designated race course, causing Lowell to swerve, hit a curb, and consequently exit the race—a disappointing outcome.

On the contrary, my ambitious visions for my car quickly dissipated as my limited skills and knowledge became apparent.

Judging by my construction, no one would envision it as a potential racer; it eventually found its purpose as firewood.

Years later, residing in Utah post my high school graduation, Lowell, now a sign painter and designer for a neon sign company in Provo, recommended me for a position as a general assistant.

As expected, I found myself at the bottom of the shop hierarchy, excelling more in mischievous pranks such as welding the tinsmith’s tin snips to his worktable—a feat of questionable brilliance.

When an additional sign painter was required, my supposed hereditary talent led the boss to believe I was a suitable candidate. However, my inadequacy became evident when tasked with repainting a sign at a concrete plant, prompting a swift replacement.

Subsequently, a friend offered me a carpentry assistant role at an enticing rate of $2 per hour, which I accepted. Over time, I progressed from menial tasks to more substantial responsibilities, aiding in constructing small homes.

During a lull between projects, Sharon’s Uncle “Toffee” Hauzen enlisted my help for a minor construction job, which involved applying plywood under an overhang at one of his establishments.

While the initial task met his approval, our collaboration on a permanent fruit stand project faced challenges. Despite our efforts, our unfamiliarity with concrete work led to a disappointing outcome that necessitated professional intervention.

Remarkably, Uncle Toffee remained understanding and even offered kind words despite my recurrent demonstrations of the perils of limited knowledge.