Stick To What You Know

The longer I live the more I believe that once you become very proficient at a certain set of skills it is unwise to dabble in other areas in which it takes professionals years to become expert. I am a professional children’s therapist. I consider myself quite good at it. I have no plans to try dentistry or nuclear science as a hobby on the side. The results of that would likely be disastrous.

I am dreading the day when I become so famous that my ego convinces me that I am capable of dabbling in other professions which are dangerous to even the most seasoned professionals. Two examples of this phenomena occurred fairly recently. New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle apparently flew his plane into the side of a New York City apartment building Wednesday afternoon. (My first thought was “I wonder if those people will get their security deposit back?”) About four weeks prior to that Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray. First and foremost, both deaths were tragic because these were men with a lot of life left ahead of them and who left behind wives and children. Secondly, they were both situations in which each was dabbling in an area out of their expertise.

Flying airplanes seems to be a very popular and very deadly hobby for the rich and famous. Cory Lidle, John F. Kennedy Jr., John Denver, Buddy Holley, Thurman Munson etc. The list could obviously go on. Those are just the ones off of the top of my head. My opinion is that if one mistake leads to your death, it probably shouldn’t be just a hobby. Aren’t hobbies supposed to be fun? There is very little chance I’ll die from a blogging accident, but if I were to take up flying I think my chances of death would increase by at least double. But then again, as I’ve already made clear, I’m not going to die.

Back to my premise: everyone should stick to what they do best. It’s what makes the world go round. If I need someone to throw a fastball high and tight, I call a baseball player. If I want someone to fly me across the country I call a pilot. If I find a stingray in my bathtub and I’m flipping through the yellow pages do I go looking in the crocodile section of my phone book? Absolutely not. I go straight to the stingray section.

26 responses to “Stick To What You Know

  1. <>“I am dreading the day when I become so famous that my ego convinces me that I am capable of dabbling in other professions which are dangerous to even the most seasoned professionals.”<>I guess we’ll just have to hold off from electing you “President or the Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first” then…

  2. The first thing that came to mind when I read this was, what else might I be good at other than traffic and english (yeah i know, but literature, not spelling), the instant response “soap dodging” came to mind. I am now faintly disturbed and off to Lush to remind myself why soap is good.

  3. Nope…I plan to always try new things. And if something gives me pleasure, and I am not particularly good at it, I will keep at it. After all, the reason we got good at what we are good at is that we tried it.-N

  4. I hate it when people say, “Well, he died doing what he loved.”Remember when Sonny Bono slammed into a tree while he was skiing?Dead is dead.

  5. If you insist on calling yourself a pilot and think you are competent just because you got a license that says so, please have the decency and foresight to crash your plane out in a field somewhere that is unoccupied, so as to not endanger those of us who are smart enough to stay on the ground where we belong. You might have a death wish, but I don’t share it with you.

  6. I agree with Josie. Dead is dead. However, I would very much prefer dying doing something truly fantastic (if only to me) than to die screaming and terrified in some horrible situation in which I found absolutely no enjoyment at all. Better yet, just let me die in my sleep. But wait a minute, I enjoy sleep. You get my drift.

  7. I wanna muck around with people’s genes. They don’t let you do that without years and years of schooling. They’re really anal about that actually. Go figure.

  8. <>Phil<>, if you should find a stingray in your bathtub, it is time to call “The Ghostbusters” cuz you are being hexed circa Friday, the 13th. I have to admit you make a lot of sense in sticking to what you know. However, circumstances beyond our control sometimes dictate that we step out of our comfort zones in order to survive. It makes for a very interesting if somewhat stressful lifestyle at times.You know what I mean, if you win at something you had to make a stretch for, you become an instant hero/heroine. If you fail, as in the case of Cory Lidle, et al, then you become fair game. All we can do is try to enjoy the moments we are given on this earth.

  9. They actually let you around kids? :o)

  10. Well, that’s an interesting theory to say the least – and one that I agree with to a certain degree.However, the spice of life comes from trying things outside of your comfort zone. I guess you sound a little too comfy; but then, it does take all kinds to make the world go round AND sometimes, we’ve already dabbled in all those “other” areas of life and are perfectly content to remain in our happy bubble. I, personally, am still in the “let’s party and be really stupid and really single while we get through our nursing classes then we can stop pretending to play grown-up and actually BE an adult.” It works for me for now :). Your blog is interesting – I’ll be back.

  11. …well, professionally, I am a crisis worker, and I also feel that Im pretty good at it.So with your rationale, which I take quite seriously (for the most part), are you telling me to drop out of teachers college right now? Becuase if I dont, I might wind up in one of those horrible school shootings? (i am terrified of this actually happening. I am more afraid of possibly working at a school, then at a women’s crisis shelter, or was working at a children’s mental health facility for kids with conduct disorders…)

  12. Thanks, as always for the laugh. You crack me up. I love your new byline (the caption thing). If you ever decide to change careers, you could always become a stand up comic (or not).

  13. Jazz- I don’t think President or SMA are out of my areas of expertise. What qualifications do you really need for either of those?Hageltoast- Your comment completely confused me.Natalia- You missed my point. I’m not saying people shouldn’t try new things. I’m saying that if something is a potentially lethal activity you shouldn’t just do it as a hobby.Josie- Yes, dead is bad.Bobciz- My sentiments exactly. If your hobby might kill others, then don’t do it around me.

  14. Wanderinggirl- I agree with the dying doing something you love line of thought. My point is if it could kill you, then it shouldn’t be just a part time hobby. You’d better be damn good at it.ChooChoo- LMAO! You can try mucking about with my jeans if you want. Oh…did you say ‘genes’? How embarrassing. I’m sorry.Belize- Of course we all need to step out of our comfort zones, I’m just saying that if that stepping out could kill you and you don’t have to do a lethal activity, then why do it?Lindsey- Yeah, can you believe it?

  15. Rocky Mountain Princess- Welcome to The Phil Factor. Boy, is everyone interpreting this post the wrong way. I’m not saying don’t ever try new things. I’m saying that if something could kill you then you’d better spend more time on it than just a hobby on the side. Especially if you might accidentally crash your plane into someones living room.Princess- No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be a teacher. Teaching is rarely lethal, if you do it right. Although since you have said on your blog that you hate children I find it odd that you want to go into teaching.dzeni- Thanks for noticing the byline. I liked that one. Actually, many years ago I did some stand up comedy. It was definitely not a hobby that was in any danger of getting me killed though.

  16. Still nope…people have a choice… and if they want to kill themselves…so bt it 🙂-NAnd just for your pleasure…I got the word verification wrong…I know you love that…derr.

  17. I think I should stop sitting in my living room just in case someone near here has taken up flying as a part time thing. It’s a first floor apartment, but you can never be too safe.

  18. they are usually sticky and dirty, and I am usually not. For the most part, I hate them…You seem to be confused, allow me to clarify. I am not going to teachers college because I want to be a teacher, and I love children. I am going to teachers college because its the easiest way to be able to travel the entire world, and have a job where ever I go. Its purely selfishness.

  19. I’m going with hageltoast to Lush, since what I’m best at is almost certainly shopping. The only way I could be better at it is if I had more money with which to do it.

  20. Okay, I would just be awful at flying an airplane. I recognize that.But, durnit all, dabbling in this and that is fun. It’s called being well-rounded or multi-faceted. Life’s too long for just one career. (I’m feeling that thought strongly after ten years in the same profession).But I agree with you on the “no hobbies that will probably kill you” page.

  21. That’s a great post, Phil, as always. I love it. I was thinking of learning to speak Japanese, but maybe I’ll just rewire the house instead.

  22. “Professional children’s therapist” Is that the same thing as a child psychologist or is that just not the pc term? That explains some of your blog topics.I’ve decided when I try new things that might get me killed (like skydiving) it will be when I’m at least 75 years old. I’ll have lived a good, long life by then and really have nothing to lose.

  23. I agree with you about dentistry, but I don’t think nuclear fusion is as hard as it is cracked up to be. 🙂

  24. you are being a LAZY blogger too!!!

  25. Every time I hear the word “small aircraft” I get the huzz. That stuff scares the crap outta me!

  26. Okay, so I read the entry and all of the comments. I understand the point, if you are going to do something potetially deadly, be good at it, okay so be damn good at it. I agree. I honestly don’t think that I will be killed in a drive by scrapbooking or anything like that, but hunting, well, only if I was with someone I trusted and I mean REALLY trusted. No, Not Dick Cheany. Did you see what that guy did to his BEST FRIEND? If that is what he does to someone he likes, I’d hate to see what he does to an enemy!! I agree. I would rather doe doing something that I love, but my hobbies aren’t deadly.

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