#180: Become an expert on something you know nothing about

This reader suggestion has been haunting me for weeks. How can I become an expert in a day (or perhaps a week), when becoming an expert takes thousands of hours?

Answer: specialise.

Originally I was going to become an expert on my tetras. I would be the Only One in the Whole World who could tell my four neon tetras apart.

Here’s someone else’s neon tetra photo, from wikipedia:

Unfortunately, after several months I still can’t tell my tetras apart (with one exception, because my pakistan loach bit that one).

So I tried to think of something else very specific – something that I’m obsessed with. Writing doesn’t cut it, because there are just too many writers more expert than myself.

The answer was so obvious: CJ.

I am the world expert on being married to CJ. In fact, since I’m the only girl he ever dated, I corner the market on dating CJ, too. That’s very cool.

So, as a service to you single folk out there, this is apparently how one finds and acquires the love of their life:

1. Dress up as Jack Sparrow and act like a drunken letch to a lot of your same-orientation friends (see picture at right).

2. Accidentally talk to CJ at pirate ball. Fall in love instantly.

3. Confirm CJ’s hotness by looking at photos the next day, because the only thing you remember clearly is laughing, and the feel of his arm (mmm. . . arm. . . )

4. Spend the next two months stalking him – personally, I visited a dance hall and two churches before I gave up and acquired his number off a friend of a friend.

5. Call him. Lure him to you with lies about how your writing group is desperate for new members. NB: Realise at this point that this has proven an excellent method for making hot guys become your bestest friend without ever noticing that you are, in fact, female.

6. Force your writing group to suddenly meet weekly instead of annually. Tell them to act natural. Watch as Ben takes a series of phone calls week after week, and says he has to leave. Immediately. End up alone with CJ each time.

7. Talk to CJ for hours in a series of cafes. Quickly cease bothering to pretend to write. Go to another ball together, wearing a dress this time (me, not him).

8. Stop inviting the rest of the writing group to the alleged writing days.

CJ: “Should we wait for the others?”

Louise: “Uh. . . they’re not coming. Would you like to have lunch here at the romantically-lit Pancake Parlour in a booth for two – and then walk over to Glebe Park and lay side by side in the emerald grass as a band plays love songs?” (I didn’t actually say all that.)

CJ: “Sure.”

NB: It was that day, Australia Day 2007, that CJ observed (after several hours) that Something Was Afoot. The euphempism “and then they lay down in the grass” wasn’t invented for nothing, kids.

9. Decide it’d be “cool” to have a night-time picnic on Mount Roger the day after Valentine’s Day.

10. When he asks you out and is so nervous he gets your name wrong, don’t tell him until after the kissing.

And voila! Marriage and babies, here we come. Here’s a photo taken a year after we met (at another pirate ball):

Play along at home: Err. . . no guarantees regarding the ol’ success rate of this method.

But in the meantime, here’s today’s “Peace Hostage” rainforest pic from flickr.com (the narrator’s body is buried near the stump on the left):

Coming soon: Experiment on a pet, three-ingredient thursday (dinner), that alphabet thing (for real this time), make music, etc

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