The Random Tuesday Morning Thought for this fine, late winter snowy morning concerns well, helping others. Or not. I had one of those epiphanies this weekend, when the light-bulb knocks me over the head instead of an effortless "Eureka!" moment, more like "Wake up, stupid!" On the Ain't Got Time post, I wrote a side-note, more for myself as a mental placeholder about helping a friend with a big project:
*I am going to straight-up bitch: this project is like walking back into a fire when I have come out on the other side, and need to assist her journey. Going back feels like going in reverse over spiky tire treadles. But a promise is a promise is a promise. I can't break this one, like I did for Ceniza leveling her way through dungeons.
Meeting with her and providing some assistance was not difficult at all. She needed a sounding-board, and I can do that, no problem. My area of expertise is just the thing she needs: in truth, she is a superior professional to me in many ways, so my "help" was in context of a niche ability. I speak the language of our profession fluently (have shovel, will dig bullsh*t).
When grousing to young druid and cross-dressing rogue about this issue, that is when the big light of truth smacked me on the noggin: that is precisely why young druid has never really helped me with my steep learning-curve in WoW. He has repeatedly told me in frustration that he put in the hours, the study, the research, and practice, time and again, to get to the level of play he's achieved. Anytime I would ask a [dumb] question, his eye-rolling and inner turmoil would create a storm of guilt and annoyance. "JUST LOOK IT UP!" was his typical response. In the time it would take to talk him out of the tree he could have just answered my damn question. What seemed like an easy way for me to move forward represented to him hours of blood, sweat, and trolls.
Now I get it.
Think of anything, any avocation, profession, academic success, or other that we attempt to master. No one does it for us, ever. But we can't do it totally alone, either. So what is the balance? Because the thing is, when you do know an expert, isn't it just easier to go to them, and seek their insight? What is the point of having all of this great Encyclopedia Brown-esque data at the retrieval speed of a neuron flash if it just sits in one container, aka brain? My argument to the young druids of the world (and they come in all ages, niches, professions, and skill sets) is I have hit a wall in my learning, and I need help knocking it down. But--BUT--he did have a point. I was...dare I say this four-letter word? Being lazy. On my part, it demonstrated a lack of truly understanding my class, my spells, abilities, and process. I blame my love of leveling characters, jack-of-all-master-of-half-ass-shaman, and yes, I blame lack of comprehension. Many times I just wasn't understanding the jargon of WoW, and it has unnerved me on more than one occasion. I have had to remind myself time and again about my degrees, my successes, my own evidence of intelligent life, and yet, found myself mentally on my knees over not understanding a spell rotation or mechanics function. In truth, it's happening again, my lack of understanding about a class. Last night Ceniza my fire mage reached level 81, and now the "real" work begins to understand how to get the most bang for my buck out of her class. Don't want to end up with soggy matches and green wood.
So for those who have gone through the fire and come out the other side with amazing game skills, hats off to you. You are under no obligation to help me or others. It is tiresome and tedious, and it does feel like riding back over treadles. I so understand now. But to those of you who share your insights, missteps, and knowledge, also take a bow. We appreciate it, those of us who are prone to confusion and derps.
There are such things as dumb questions, even if the dumbest question is the one that isn't asked.