You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

By Marilyn L. Pinsky

timeWonderful friends invited me to dinner and made a gourmet meal, one course of which was a pasta dish they had eaten recently in Italy. They had a substitute pasta for me, and when I asked how they knew I was gluten free, the response was, “We know all kinds of things about you from your articles, including that you get up three times a night to pee!”

OK, so maybe it’s too much information, but if I can’t tell you guys, who can I tell? I have all these random thoughts running around in my head calling for resolution, as well as some that I have solved but just need to share so you don’t have to worry about them. For example:

I love, love, love my Instant Pot. (As an aside, my husband Philip had this great joke, that for some reason only he and I laughed at, about this man who really, really, really loved his galoshes. Does anyone even know what galoshes are nowadays?)

Anyway, back to the Instant Pot (IP). I really, really, really love my IP. It’s a pressure cooker that won’t explode like the one I had 30 years ago that left beef stew stuck to the kitchen ceiling for two years. I told the kids it was a piece of art that hung upside down and Philip never looked up, so it worked out.

All right, I can tell you want to hear about the IP already. It is supposed to be impossible to burn food in it and you can set it and leave it be for hours. Which I did — but shouldn’t have. As you can. Burn food in it, that is.

The good news is that I now know how to clean a burnt pot and in my case, that is a valuable life skill to have. Water, dishwashing detergent and baking soda, my new best friends.

Changing world

On another note, I spend a lot of time, when I’m not scrubbing pots that is, wondering about the expression “you don’t know what you don’t know.” What does that mean exactly? I figured a benefit of getting older would be that I’d know whatever “it” is that I don’t know by now. Some stuff I do know I’ll never know, such as why planes full of people stay in the air or is there life on other planets. I figure that I really don’t have to worry about those things as my knowing or not knowing isn’t actually hurting anyone. On the other hand, I don’t want to make bad decisions out of ignorance for anything that is important. And that leads me into racing to keep up with the world.

We are living in such a fast changing world, that how do we know which of what we know is still relevant? It seems every week we learn that something else we were taught in school or even from our parents, religious institutions or government, needs correcting.

In high school, back in the day, we were not taught certain facts about the Civil War because the people who wrote the text books chose the information they wanted to use and left out what they didn’t want to use. This led to us having beliefs not based in fact, but that we nevertheless carry with us to this day. If we dig in our heels and say ‘that’s what we were taught and we’re too old to change now’, then we don’t give ourselves the exciting opportunity to keep learning and growing and becoming more interesting human beings.

Along this line of thinking, I find it helpful imagining Moses coming down from Mount Sinai again, this time bringing with him revisions, amendments and explanatory clauses to the Ten Commandments. After all, his boss has been around forever and must realize things aren’t working out quite as planned. I can’t imagine the basics will change that much, but given our history, s/he can figure out where some further clarification is needed and get us to come to agreements that will at least stop murders and wars. We can figure the rest out from there.