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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Ignorant Leading the Uninformed

I was recently invited to a Baptism and needed to figure out what to wear. I had only been to one Baptism before, and that was in the summer and followed by a Luau (don't ask) so I couldn't use the dress code from that event to decide. Trusting my instincts, I decided to go wear slacks and a button down shirt, no tie, no suit.

The morning of the Baptism, one of my friends calls me. He is also not Christian and has not attended too many Baptism before.

"Hey, what are you wearing to this?" he asks.

"Shirt and dress pants, no suit or tie."

"Oh, ok."

Then I realize something and ask "Hey, isn'y your girlfriend Christian?"

"Yeah."

"Wouldn't she be much better qualified to answer this than you or me?"

"She told me I should ask you."

Now this is interesting for two reasons:

1) Baptism is a Christian rite. How, in any way, shape, or form am I more qualified than HIS CHRISTIAN GIRLFRIEND to know what people wear to these things?
2) Between the two of us, we have no fewer than 5 close friends who are Christian. Rather than asking any one of them (and then relaying the answer to me), he opts to ask the least qualified person in the city of Philadelphia to answer that question. Truly this is the igorant leading the uninformed.

Seriously, he would have been better off throwing open his window and screaming out to the good citizens of Philadelphia to solicit their opinions on this topic. Like Scrooge at the end of a Christmas Carol. "You there boy, what does one wear to a Baptism?" "Why, a suit of course good sir." Although in Philly the response would more likely be, "A suit you big dummy, now shut your window and shut up!"

How often do you do this? Not necessarily asking for Baptismal fashion advice, but rather how often do you ask for opinions on people based on how well you know them as opposed to how qualified they are are to give you a knowledgable answer?

Asking friends who are not in your industry for business advice, putting lots of weight on feedback on marketing materials from people who are not in your target market, even taking medical advice from people who's only medical training is from watching "House" on Fox.

The medical one is the worst. How often do you not get something checked out because a friend of yours who had one similar sympton said, "oh I had that, it turned out to be nothing?" Or the reverse - panicking because someone you know knows a person who knows another person who had symptom vaguely similar to yours and ended up on the emergency room. We are bizzarre, illogical creatures.

There is nothing wrong with getting opinions from friends, colleagues, and family. Just make sure that before you run out and take major action - or decide to take no action at all - that you consider the source. Otherwise you might just end up underdressed for a Baptism (as I did, when everyone else there showed up in a suit and tie. including my friend, who never bothered to call me and let me know!)

1 comment:

Jeff Porten said...

It probably depends on the baptism. I attended Easter Sunday services with a Catholic girlfriend years ago, and remembering the phrase "Sunday best" (and assuming that Easter Sunday would be the Grand High Poohbah of Sundays), I went in a suit and tie. Only tie in the chapel.