People Share The Cringey Moment When An “Expert” Was Exposed As A Fraud
Dealing with a know-it-all is usually irritating, but it can also be extremely satisfying. In a world where fake news dominates the headlines, it’s more important than ever to be analytical of what people claim to be the truth. Know-it-alls often fail to realize that arguments stemming from willful ignorance of the facts can never be validated. No matter how eloquently something false is put, it will still be inherently false.
The following stories are examples of times when real experts came across a know-it-all who thought they knew better than everyone else. If you find enjoyment in seeing a know-it-all be proven wrong and humbled back to earth from the clouds, then keep reading on—you will not be disappointed.
#1 I Can Literally Teach This
I had a friend of a friend explain the causes and effects of the American Civil War to me at a backyard party. I kept trying to take part in the conversation and he kept interrupting me. At some point, our mutual friend overheard our conversation. He leaned in and said, “You do know she got her graduate degree in this, right?”
I’d love to say that learning about my credentials, so to speak, changed the tone or course of our conversation, but it didn’t. Somehow, it intensified his need to explain things I can literally teach a class on. Classic.
#2 I Have A Certificate!
We had a few lectures at the university given by the head of cardiology at the adjacent hospital. He told us about the time he was waiting to cross the road when a man next to him collapsed. As he knelt down to attend to him, a large lady strode over, physically lifted him out of her way and said in a loud voice, “I’ll take charge! I have a first aid certificate!”
#3 Oh, Honey
I was being discharged from a week-long hospital stay and even though I was ready to go home, I was still having some bouts of nausea. I had been taking Zofran and asked the nurse if the discharging provider could send in a script for a few doses. In a sweet, sickly voice, she said: “Oh, honey, Zofran only comes in IV form.”
I replied with, “Oh, honey, I’m a pharmacist, and can assure you it also comes in tablets, liquid, and oral-disintegrating tabs.” She fumbled a bit, then mumbled something under her breath about checking with the doctor and quickly exited the room. I may not have perfectly mimicked her condescending tone, but I sure tried.
#4 He’s My Supervisor
One day after work, I went to the mall. It as around Christmas time. I came across a man who had fallen and was seizing. He was bleeding from the back of his head as well. A man had grabbed him and was trying to jam a pen into the man’s mouth, ostensibly under the old delusion that sticking something in the seizing person’s mouth would keep him from biting his tongue off.
I jumped in and pulled the man’s hand away. I then cleared the man’s airway, being careful NOT to get my fingers near his mouth. The man shouted, “Who the heck do you think you are? My cousin had seizures and this I what we always did.” I told him, “I know what I’m doing sir, please step back.” The guy was obviously angry, and started mumbling things like: “If he passes away, it’s his fault.”
The man was in no danger. The laceration on his head wasn’t so bad, but a person at the nearby kiosk handed me a towel and I held it against the man’s wound. I continued to keep his airway open, though he wasn’t having any trouble breathing. After some time, a cop came over with two medics and Mr. Know-it-all jumped in front of them to complain about me and my ” behavior.”
The cop pretty much ignored the guy. We moved the man to a stretcher and put some gauze pads on his head wound. He was going to be okay—they were going to transport him to the ER where he would be evaluated and get a few stitches. Before they left, the disgruntled man said to the medic: “I tried to get something in his mouth but this guy wouldn’t let me. He thinks he is special or something.”
The medic calmly replied, “Well, he is. He is my supervisor.”
#5 This Is My Uniform
I’ve been in martial arts (taekwondo, specifically) for 14 years, and I’m a 4th-degree black belt. I don’t claim to know everything, not even close, but I do know what I’m talking about for the most part. At my university, I decided to try out the taekwondo club on campus. I already expected that there wouldn’t be as many people at my level, but I just wanted to see how it was.
It was my first day, and I didn’t know if we were supposed to wear uniforms or not, so I went in with workout clothes. I still brought my full gear though, just in case. Before the class started, one of the leaders (who was wearing a 2nd-degree black belt) came up to me and started explaining the general protocol of class. He also offered to stand next to me during the class to show me how to do the different steps.
Throughout all of this, he seemed annoyed that he was having to explain everything as if he didn’t want new, inexperienced students. I politely agreed and asked if we should wear our uniforms for the class. He explained that if we had them we should, but it wasn’t a problem if I didn’t have one. I explained that I did have one, and said I’d be right back. I changed into my uniform and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw me walk out with my instructor’s uniform and 4th-degree belt.
#6 Tortoise Vs. Turtle
I was working as a lifeguard at the beach. I just got back to the stand when I saw an old lady dropping a gopher tortoise in the water. Immediately, I fished it out and yelled at her for dropping it in the water. Then, the following conversation actually ensued: “This is not a sea turtle! These guys do not belong in the ocean!”
She yelled back at me, “Yes, they do! They’re turtles and they live near water. That’s not a tortoise, that’s a sea turtle,” I then replied: “You see his back feet? You see how they’re stumpy and not fins? Do you see how he has a small horn right here and a dome shell? Sea turtles have flat shells and flippers that don’t have claws. This guy obviously has claws. I’ve raised these kinds of tortoises for over 18 years and I can tell you that this is a gopher tortoise, which is a protected species here.”
“No! That’s a turtle,” she said with complete confidence. “Wrong,” I replied back. “A turtle would have swum off and I wouldn’t have him in my hands. What you did to this tortoise constitutes for multiples felonies. Drop another tortoise in the water and I’ll make sure you get arrested.” Her jaw dropped as I walked away furiously with the tortoise.
#7 Big Pharma Dreams
I’m a neuroscience Ph.D. candidate with a focus on neuroimmunology, and I can’t count the number of times anti-vaccine mommy bloggers have tried to explain the supposed link between vaccines and autism to me. Unfortunately, no matter how much science I clearly spell out for them, it’s never enough, and they just yell that I’m clearly on big pharma’s payroll. So, I just go home, snuggle with my cats, and dream of having big pharma money instead of academic money.
#8 We’d All Be Dead
I had a nurse explain to me that I needed to drink more water so that more oxygen could get to my brain. At my questioning look, he explained that water dissolves into oxygen and hydrogen, and the oxygen component travels to the brain. I’m a chemist, and what she was saying was completely absurd. Yes, I called the clinic director.
#9 Just Cool Off
I’m a doctor in the UK. I went for my compulsory basic training day to learn how to ride a motorbike and I was in a group of six others. It was a very hot day and none of us were used to being in full leathers. One person in our group overheated and felt faint, so I went over to him. I got him some water, asking if he was okay, but the instructor freaked out and told me to stay away and call for help.
After multiple attempts of telling the instructor that I was a doctor and that the guy just needed to cool off, he listened to me. Ten minutes of cooling down helped to stabilize the person’s condition. We carried on with our training but not after the instructor asked me how long I’d been a nurse. I’m a female, so, unfortunately, that happens a lot.
When I was pregnant, I was drinking a decaf iced latte. I had some woman in line at the pharmacy tell me that caffeine was going to rearrange the genes in my baby’s brain. I work full-time as a geneticist. I actually couldn’t even come up with a response. I just stood there somewhat dumbfounded at the absurdity of it all.
#11 But You Have Cancer
I’m a doctor. A common thing that happens on the job involves patients trying to explain medicine to you, while you’re treating them. I was with a patient who was explaining to me that the key to not getting cancer was her list of natural herbs and remedies. Clearly, it didn’t work, because she was in the hospital for cancer.
#12 I Wrote It
There was a guy at work who I got on well with. One day, he was incorrectly explaining the “manual” to me. When I told he did not understand it properly, he got super defensive and condescending. He then said, “What makes you the expert on this?” With the biggest smirk on my face, I told him, “Well, I was the one who wrote it.”
#13 Skater Doctor
I was picked up by an old taxi driver on my way to a skatepark with my skateboard. He rudely demanded to know where I had been skateboarding and informed me that if I collided with someone his age on the sidewalk, they had an 80% chance of dying from a brain hemorrhage. I politely informed him that this was unlikely.
I hadn’t even been skating on the sidewalk. He then told me to “ask anyone in the medical profession” as would confirm it. I then politely informed him that I was an ER doctor and he changed his manner with me completely. All of a sudden, he became very respectful once he realized I wasn’t just some skater punk.
#14 Inventor’s Prerogative
I had a customer with a question about a machine she was using. She wasn’t satisfied with the solution I gave her. She then suggested something impossible and I explained why her method wouldn’t work. We went back and forth several times with each other until she finally asked: “What makes you the expert on this?”
I simply replied, “Take a look at Patent Number xxxxxxxx. It lists me as the inventor.” That felt good. That felt really good.
#15 You Use It, But I Wrote It
I had a cashier get snotty with me when I told him he needed to hit F5 to get back from the credit card screen. He went into a rant about how he had been using the software for years and that what I told him was not going to work. He then explained something about computers. After he kept going on and on about how I was clearly wrong, I finally had to interrupt him: “Dude, I helped write this software, and nothing you said is right.” He then stormed off from the register and I just stood there awkwardly until a manager showed up. The manager pressed F5.
#16 Not Quite Rocket Science
I was getting a beverage at an airport bar next to some guys talking about the recent strikes in Syria. One guy said they launched the tomahawks off the aircraft carrier. In a friendly manner, I spoke up and corrected him, saying that they were actually launched from a carrier strike group and not the carrier itself. He said, “No, they launch tomahawks from the aircraft carrier.”
I politely replied: “No, they launch Tomcats (a type of aircraft) off of carriers but Tomahawk missiles only launch from destroyers, cruisers, and subs.” Cue about five minutes of him explaining how he knew a guy who was in the Navy and he was pretty sure he knew what he was talking about. Mind you, this was a friendly conversation, so I got to smile and drop the bomb on him in a good way. I was a Tomahawk Fire Controlman in the Navy and helped in the Red Sea during the gas attack crisis.
#17 Even Had Backup Evidence
I had someone argue with me on Facebook on how to play one of my own band’s tracks. Yep, I wrote it. I even linked him to a YouTube video showing him the riff he was messing up. He still maintained that I was wrong and didn’t seem to get that I was in the band and had written the track. He answered with, “Sure thing buddy!” The responses from other users were hilarious. Some even provided photographic evidence. He still wouldn’t take it and told me I should improve my ear training.
#18 On A Tangent
I’m working on a Ph.D. in math. Every Friday, some friends from my department and I go to happy hour at this pretty chill bar downtown to play pool. There was one Friday that we were particularly sucking, but weren’t exactly trying our hardest — we’d probably been trying to sink the last three balls for about four rounds at this point.
That’s when a guy at the table next to ours sauntered over and in his infinite, tipsy wisdom proceeded to tell four math grad students that pool is as “easy as identifying tangent lines.” It took about two minutes of this guy trying to explain this to us before my friend chimed in. “Yeah, we’re all working on Ph.D.’s in math, we know plenty about tangent lines. Let me give you a counterexample to explain why you’re wrong.” The guy’s eyes got so wide. He didn’t say much to us after that.
#19 Jet And A Jag
I was an aircraft mechanic, USAF, and a student pilot at one time. I was looking at cars in a showroom. The salesman started talking to me and my friend about the V12 in the ’70s Jaguar XL12. He went on about the engine and why it was so fast. “It’s got the same fuel injection system as an F4 fighter jet,” he said.
Taken aback, I said “Really?!” acting all impressed and surprised. “The same fuel injection as a General Electric J79 turbojet. Funny, since that burns JP4, a gasoline and kerosene mix. How does that work?” He just stopped mid-sentence and walked out of the showroom. We didn’t see him again for the entire time we were there looking around.
#20 Slam Dunk
I’m a vice president at a software company but started off as a developer. Some years ago, in the lunch room, some guys were talking about something technical in the system; low-level C++ deep in the core of a real-time system engine. Then someone mentioned that a user named “tungstencoil” wrote a lot of the nifty stuff in the core.
I gently corrected their misunderstanding about how the code actually worked. When they bristled at this, I said, “I know because I’m tungstencoil.” I tossed my napkin in the trash basketball-style and left the room.
#21 Doctor Dirty Hippy
I have a Ph.D. in chemistry but I also look like a dirty hippy, so this happens pretty frequently, unfortunately. My mom’s boyfriend was trying to tell me that a certain illicit substance and sugar are basically the same thing because they have the same number of carbon and oxygen atoms. (They don’t, by the way.)
Instead of just laughing in his face, I tried to explain that the way atoms in a molecule are connected to one another plays a HUGE part in that molecule’s properties. He then told me that the university had “brainwashed me”. That’s when I laughed in his face. I have been studying chemistry all my life, I think I know a thing or two about molecular structures.
#22 Can’t Argue With Olympic Medals
I was working a bicycle race and the guy next to me was the race director. A beginner participant came up after a race and told us we scored him eleven seconds slower than he did. He even went on to say that he had won the race by more than five seconds. I asked him how he knew and he said, “Well, I counted in my head. I forgot to start my timer for a bit there.”
When we refused to change his time, he threw a fit. He started yelling, threatening to call the police on us for “stealing” his prize money and entry fee. My partner told him to calm down, but the chubby 40-year-old bike racer proceeded to yell, “WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT BIKE RACING?!” The guy next to was literally an Olympic gold medalist in bike racing. 1984, Los Angeles.
#23 Don’t Doubt A Gym Girl
When I was working out in a new gym, I had some guy tell me that I was doing an exercise wrong even though I wasn’t. After listening to his very poor explanation of how to do it “right” (which was still incorrect), I set him straight. I broke down the biomechanics of why he was wrong and dropped some more science on him.
I then informed him that not only did I have a masters in exercise science, but I was also a certified personal trainer and trained military personnel for a living. The bottom line: just because I’m a girl in a gym, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing. People who assume other people’s capabilities based on their gender are the worst.
#24 Check The Author
I wasn’t granted access to some servers at work because they were mission critical. Only a few people on the team had access to them, but I needed to them for the work I was doing and getting other people to do it for me took forever. After six months of my boss talking to their boss and political back and forth, it was agreed that I would be granted limited access to specific things on the server.
They made it clear, however, that they didn’t think I knew enough about the subject to be doing this. So they provided me documentation for the correct way these things were supposed to be done. I laughed when I saw it and asked my boss to check the author. I had written those instructions a few years earlier and they had become the official documentation for the company.
#25 An Old Case Of Mine
I’m a lawyer. One of my clients showed me a court ruling and demanded I start the same proceeding for him. I tried to explain that there were several reasons why it would not work for him, then proposed a different route. He insisted his case was exactly the same and that it would be an easy win. I tried to explain again. He then said, “Well, what do you know about it!” I calmly replied, “Err…. look at that ruling again. See who’s listed as the plaintiff’s lawyer?” It was me. Oh, that was delicious.
#26 Made It All Possible For Him
My background has always been in tech support. I was working for a startup that was developing an anti-fraud solution and was working as the product lead long before product management was a proper thing. The team I led produced a few really cool pieces of work and I was named on a number of patents as a result.
At some point, I was asked to consult with law enforcement agencies (nationally and internationally) on anti-fraud initiatives for over a decade. I’ve worked on over 300 criminal cases, attended court as the state expert witness in dozens of cases, etc. A couple of years after leaving that space, I was invited to attend the retirement party of a senior banking guy. He ran retail fraud for one of the biggest high street banks and I’d made him look very good over the years.
I’m not in the game anymore, so not everyone recognized me at the party. I was chatting to the people I knew and made my way around the room as per usual. I ended up within the circle of the guest of honor and was greeted with a big handshake. I was introduced to the group by my new role in a completely unrelated industry.
One guy in the circle was in middle management and was obviously using the party as a networking opportunity with the higher management folks. For whatever reason, he decided that the way to make himself look better was to compare the state of my new industry to the bright and shining new financial tech world.
He went on about how all of the new tech solutions were making everything so responsive, blah blah blah. He was being a bit of a jerk, to be honest, so when he mentioned fraud rates I decided to steer him down that path… He described how the bank had internally reviewed their approach on how the fraud was proactively managed, how the new systems were developed, and how his teams were industry-leading, etc.
He also told me that I could learn a lot from everything that they’d done as my current role and company (top three global pharma company) was obviously in the dark ages in comparison. I then asked him directly: “So that transformation programme is still delivering the expected results?” That was the point Mr. Jerk found out that I was the programme director that ran the eight teams of internal resources for fourteen months and delivered his world.
I’m not sure he ever properly recovered professionally from screwing up in front of his senior management.
#27 Doctors Make The Worst Patients
I’m an optician. I had a patient who told us he was a doctor and that he’d been writing his own glasses prescriptions for years. We remade them over and over again because he still couldn’t see out of his no-line bifocals. He told us he was having trouble reading so I suggested that he adjust his glasses so they sat higher up on his face. That way, he could look at the reading card more naturally and see if the glasses prescription was good or not.
He then yelled, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! I’VE HAD SURGERY FOR AN EYE DISEASE YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE!” He went on and on about how it shouldn’t matter how they sit on his face/ That’s the opposite of reality, though. Any eye doctor would know this. A no-line bifocal has your distance prescription at the top of the lens and that slowly changes into a reading prescription as you go towards the bottom.
Many times, if someone can’t read clearly it’s because they’re looking too high up in their lens. Moving the frame up allows them better access to the bottom of the lens. So I told him if he didn’t want me to adjust them then he could just take them home to try to get used to it. He came back the next day, and an older coworker gently chewed him out, saying I was right. The next time I saw him he apologized.
Turns out, he’s a lung doctor.
#28 Trying To Argue Religion
My former roommate studied psychology and was in the midst of conducting a scientific study on people’s religious beliefs. She was trying to determine how those beliefs correlated with their hopefulness. My sister and her boyfriend visited us. Over dinner, my boyfriend asked my roommate about her work. My roommate briefly summarized her research, elevator-pitch style.
This guy, who had never taken an intro class in psychology, proceeded to explain to her that her study was flawed. Apparently, in his opinion, the only way to experience hope is by believing in God just like he does (a notion which was disproved by the research study). He rejected out of hand anything she said that was science related at all.
#29 Dangerously Wrong
I am a woman and I work outdoor pursuits. I had a guy in my group of guests think I was just another guest at one point. I wasn’t wearing my high-visibility top that identifies the guides and group leaders. He showed me how to rig up a climbing line. He was full of confidence but dangerously wrong. He tried to run the carabiner upside down for a start.
When I pointed this out and informed him I was the group instructor, he went quiet whilst I undid his ropes. He didn’t say much for the rest of the trip.
#30 Hair Magic
I’m a hair stylist and I’ll often have new clients show me a 30-second hair video from Instagram with a makeover of black-haired individuals getting their hair dyed white blonde. Many people will tell me the video is “proof” that their at-home box dye will be able to achieve the same results as in the video and that it’s possible to do it all in a two-hour appointment that doesn’t exceed $200.
In reality, what that video doesn’t show is the eight or more hours the client was in the salon for, the numerous bleach outs performed, and how fragile the hair became afterward. The worst part is, even after explaining why it isn’t possible, many will still argue that it is. Hair isn’t “one size fits all.” Chemicals aren’t something to play around with.
#31 Kept My Word
I’m a younger guy in my office, but the industry itself is young enough that I have more experience than many of my co-workers since I’ve been here since about the beginning. I’m accustomed to older co-workers assuming that my age makes me less qualified to talk about certain matters. One amusing incident occurred with a coworker I don’t get along with that well.
He suggested that I attend an upcoming seminar at the local community college that was basically an “Intro to BluSuedeNicNac81’s Industry.” I told him I thought it looked interesting and that I would go if he did. He agreed. Three weeks later, I kept my word. I was the presenter. I still laugh when I recall the look on his face as I stepped to the mic.
#32 Not Mansplaining, Explaining
I was at a bar with a friend of mine and we got to talking with this girl who was there on her 21st birthday. We congratulated her and buy her a drink. Shortly thereafter, we got into a conversation about the populating of South America. She proceeded to arrogantly accuse me of white-washing history. I explained, again, that I’m wasn’t, and that there were no human beings on that land until they migrated there.
“No,” she insisted, “Invaders wiped out the indigenous populations.” I then replied, “No that happened thousands of years later.” After going back and forth with each other a couple of times, she accused me of mansplaining. I was at a loss. I said, “Okay, well, I’m sorry.” She yelled at my friend, saying, “How are you friends with him? God, what does he even do, like, sell stocks?”
I’m a geographer.
#33 Truth On The Back Of My Jacket
I am a history teacher. I was taking a bus back from the airport and got to talking with a gentleman beside me. He kept claiming that Napoleon actually attacked Brazil and dug tunnels underneath the mountains. I just nodded for a bit, then argued with him when he claimed that Napoleon did this before the Revolution.
He didn’t like when I corrected him and he called me an idiot. I laughed, and eventually, my stop came. I had to get up from my seat and walk out of the door. On the back of my sweater, he could see that it said: “Princeton University Department of Graduate Studies: History.” I just smiled and said, “It was nice chatting history with you!” He scowled.
#34 Thanks For Proving My Point
A woman at a snooty scholarship dinner was telling me how she was doing the “boot camp” type workouts and that they were exactly like what they do in the US army. I was fine with her thinking that but I mentioned that it’s a lot easier to work out hard for one hour and then go home to a warm house. She said, “What do you even know about it, did you get second-hand info from your boyfriend?”
I asked her to open her event program as I was the key speaker on female veteran post-military experiences. My topic was “Lack of Visibility of the Female Veteran.”
#35 Actually, It’s That Way
I’m an American living in Dublin. I’m writing a Ph.D. thesis on medieval Irish history, specifically the Hiberno-Norse. Locals always assume I’m a tourist, which is reasonable at first, but they often double down on telling me “facts” about Norse Dublin when they find out what I do. Most recently I was at a pub and two lads, after hearing my reply as to what I was doing in Dublin, fell over themselves to tell me about the Viking-era archaeology that was destroyed at a site called Wood Quay when a government building was built there.
They explained the protests and the artifacts and everything in a confused, muddled narrative, jabbing dramatically in the wrong direction. They also completely ignored my “Yes— well— okay— actually” attempts to respond. Finally, they stopped long enough for me to reply. I explained that not only was Wood Quay in that direction, but I was well aware of it, seeing as I had given a paper there on the Norse in Dublin less than a month ago. They went silent, then asked if my son wanted a bag of crisps.
#36 Accidentally Mean
I am almost finished with my evolution degree and have done four internships in the field. My friend, an English education major tried explaining to me why the evolutionary theory was flawed. He was very condescending and interrupted me often. My boyfriend was in the room and I texted him about the situation, talking about how stupid my friend sounded.
Except I accidentally sent it to my friend. His name and my boyfriend’s name are very similar. My friend read it and left the room angrily, but he never tried to correct me about my own degree again.
#37 Always Worry About Mistakes
I had a non-medical person tell me that I didn’t need to worry about making mistakes since physician assistants “don’t have their own license so the doctor would take the hit”. Um, no. I’m licensed in my state to practice medicine and I’m certified by a national body. I can be sued, people can lobby complaints, and I can lose my license. It is true that PAs have to have a supervising physician, but the supervising physician doesn’t even have to be on site or in the same area.
#38 Actually, I Do
I have a Ph.D. in Musicology. The number of random people I encounter who give me unsolicited music advice is UNREAL. Like, it happens so often that I no longer tell people the field I’m in. One time, I had this guy who worked at a record shop going on and on about some ’70s band I’d never heard of in my life.
I grew tired of it and tried to politely excuse myself. He then got super grumpy and increasingly volatile, saying out loud: “It’s not like you’re a music professor at Harvard and I’m not!” To which I got to reply while leaving, “Actually, I was invited to teach for a semester at Harvard recently. Have a nice day.”
#39 Everyone’s A Photographer Now
I have a degree in electrical engineering from UCSD and worked on digital camera sensors and graphics processors, among many other things. I retired from EE and now use those digital cameras as a freelance photographer and videographer. My work has been nominated for Emmy awards. I can’t tell you how many people see me working and try to give me advice based on some stuff they learned about photography from YouTube.
People tell me things like the sun should ALWAYS be behind the photographer. Or the camera doesn’t work this way or that way. Or, these are the best camera settings. One lady was very condescending and told me the camera should ALWAYS be at the same level as the eyes of the subject. I told her that no matter what angle I shoot from, ugly will still be ugly (not true, but I was annoyed).
#40 Check Who’s In The Band
I was at one of my ex’s parties. All the guests were IT professionals, and people like that have a tendency to showcase how insanely cool their lives are. One guy with long hair, a beard, and tattoos decided to have an argument with me about my taste in music. He said that I should start listening to some of the non-mainstream stuff.
When I asked him to name a few artists, he gave a few names. I told him to look up the guitar player for one of those bands he mentioned which was me. It felt good.
#41 Not An Easy Climb
I’m a competitive rock climber. One day, a few college-aged guys came into the gym I train at and they clearly thought they were hot stuff. They knew some climbing-specific vernacular and that was it. They spotted me and thought they could “help” me on a route that I was on. I wasn’t just climbing; I also was performing an exercise, but they were oblivious to that. The two guys kept talking about what I should do. I kept just kept nodding.
Then, one of the guys said, “Hey, don’t feel bad, girls just aren’t as good at rock climbing.” I waited for about an hour until they went on a specific route, then I asked if I could hop in. The same guy was like, “Don’t feel bad if you can’t get it, this one’s hard.” I flew up it. The guy just stood there baffled, and I just walked away. It might have been the most technically balanced and flawless climbing I had ever done.
#42 Smile And Nod
A long time ago, I worked for a networking company. There was a super educated woman there, the kind who earned a few masters for practice before she got her Ph.D. She was one of the key scientist/engineers who designed and built some of our products. If you didn’t know that, it was super easy to slip into mansplaining, because she was so quiet.
One day, she was in the network operations center (NOC) because she needed to enable access to a few core routers. I happened to be there with the director of the NOC and one of the senior operations engineers. One of the NOC guys who had recently been promoted from tech support was logging in for her, and while he was doing it, he was telling her about how the product worked. She was politely listening, nodding her head. Meantime, the three of us were in the back, giggling away.
After she left, the manager of the NOC asked the former tech-support guy to look up the IETF (Internet engineering task force) members for that particular standard and the inventor of the technology. The look on his face, I will never forget. He was explaining to her how her own invention worked… How embarrassing is that?
#43 Arguing With The Author
I once had someone try to explain the imagery, symbolism, and metaphors used in a couple of poems and short stories written by the same author. Being familiar with the pieces he was referring to, I offered a different opinion. He then went on a huge, long-winded rant at me about how he knows what he is talking about because he is a fan of the author and that he has read all of their works before, that he has all of their books, that he has read the poems and stories many times and had studied them with his class.
Politely, I explained that the author had never published their works in book format, only online. He then tried to explain part of the plot of one of the stories and how “this character did this for this reason which led to this and this and this and the moral and meaning behind the story is this and this”. I asked him how he knew that for definite and he continued with the rant that he had studied it before and he knows what he is talking about.
In his defense, he did know the poems and stories very well, but his analysis was skewed. He had tried to find a hidden or underlying meaning to everything instead of believing what was written. Because of this, he had misunderstood part of the plot, the meaning of the story and the actions of the characters, and I told him this. He then asked me why I was in a position to argue against him. My immensely satisfying response was:
“I’m the author.”
#44 Trained To Do This In My Sleep
I’m a former Marine. I’ve spent enough time with M16s and M4s that I know them better than I know my own hands. My brother-in-law must have forgotten because he showed up one day with an AR15, which is the civilian model of the M16. He tried to impress me by going over its specs, then he excused himself to the bathroom. He came back to it fully stripped on my kitchen table. It took him an hour to undo what I did in five minutes.
#45 Comply Or Else
When I was pregnant with my second child, my husband called to make a doctor’s appointment for me and was told he couldn’t do so because of HIPAA. My husband explained to the scheduler that he wasn’t requesting PHI and our OB had directed him to call if I couldn’t, so it was fine. They refused to make the appointment saying it was a HIPAA violation to do so.
The appointment was for early symptoms of antenatal depression, which I had with my first, so we knew I was at risk for it again. I was hardly able to tell him, much less call for the appointment, hence why my OB has instructed him to call. My husband and I both happened to work in healthcare on the admin side. I worked for a vendor and had helped craft HIPAA training in the past.
He worked for one of the largest health systems in the country and was on the team that implemented HIPAA requirements when it was mandated. We knew HIPAA inside and out. We contacted the Chief Compliance Officer for the large academic medical institution that my OB’s office is a part of and as a result, the entire front office staff was retrained on HIPAA.
#47 Reaching For The Rail
I’m a railroader as well as a railfan. I’ve had other people who don’t know about my professional experience try to explain all sorts of things that I do every day. It’s always fun to let them finish, then tell them, “Yeah, I know what you’re saying, at work the other day we…” They always turn bright red after and immediately regret trying to take the upper hand over me.
There’s an odd dynamic in our hobby where railroad employees are treated like royalty by the railfans (which I’ve never understood), and as soon as you out yourself as an actual worker, anything you say is the word of God himself. But before that? HA!
#48 Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News
I was a combat medic in the army, then a private bodyguard, and I’m now working corporate security. One of our requirements is to be first aid certified, so I had to do a short course. My boss was aware I knew far more than required, but rules are rules, so he told me to just get it over with. The girl training the course was explaining something (related to seizures, I think).
I corrected her. She asked me how in the world I thought I knew more than her. Well, I was a combat medic in an elite unit and worked as a bodyguard where I had dealt with over a dozen seizures among other medical emergencies. She shut up quickly and I passed the course.
#49 Wrong Field, Pal
I was at the gym and I ran into this stereotypical alpha guy that I talk to out of obligation because my boyfriend is friends with him. I am currently getting my master’s and teaching credential in education and I previously graduated as an education major with a math minor. When I told him where I wanted to teach in the future, this guy started telling me about funding in the educational system.
He told me where it’s supposedly best to go to get the most of out my salary. I was a little annoyed so I just smiled and waited for the whole thing to be over. He verified his information by telling me that he used to work in the police department for five months.
#50 Written In Stone
I was in Nemo, a museum in Amsterdam where they hung these tablets with a game on it that helps with research of youth learning capabilities in language. I was talking to this lady, probably a mom of one of the children playing on the tablet. She tried to help one child but she was making a mistake in her explanation.
Out of impulse, I corrected her. She turned around and told me, “What do you know about it!” I was quite taken back by this since we had been talking nicely up to that point. When I recovered I said, “Well, I wrote that software.” It was so satisfying to see her face after that.
#51 It’s Heating Up
A Home Depot employee was trying to explain to me why I shouldn’t get the water heater I was trying to purchase. I did tech support for this specific water heater manufacturer for four years; please don’t try to tell me that propane water heaters are a scam and that the natural gas models will work exactly the same. That employee is going to cause so many fires telling people this.
#52 Send Us A Signal
I work in IT. I had a user tell me their brilliant idea that ‘the servers’ should actually be out in the office where people worked. He didn’t know I was in IT, and when I asked why, he gave me an eye-roll and told me it was “common sense.” Apparently, if the servers were in the middle of the office instead of downstairs in the server room, they’d be closer to the workstations.
This supposedly means the signal wouldn’t have as far to travel and everything would be quicker. When I started to explain the many, many reasons why that was a complete and utter lie, he put up a hand and said, “Look, my brother’s an electrical engineer, I think I know a bit more about this stuff than you.”
#53 Rolling Away From The Madness
I had a colleague explain to me the differences between quadriplegics and paraplegics once. I was born with spina bifida and have been a paraplegic all my life. This particular person is known for being unable to read situations and apply correct appropriateness in a lot of situations. I just wheeled away once she finished her speel. It still amazes me though and makes me laugh.
#54 Another Day At The Library
I’m a library technology clerk. A woman wanted help rotating some images she scanned. The first was an image file which opens in Windows Photo Viewer (a program that has buttons to rotate the image clockwise or counterclockwise). The second was a PDF file, which opens in Adobe Acrobat Reader (a program that has several options, but not to rotate the document).
I tried to explain to her how the two “images” were different file types, and how to change the scanner settings so the second image could be scanned as an image file. She kept butting in with, “I scanned both of them the same way,” to which I replied, “Apparently you didn’t because they aren’t the same file type!”
I tried reaching over to change the scanner settings myself and she wouldn’t even let me do that, because she really wanted to know how they ended up as different file types even though she scanned both images the same way. Right as I was making some headway on getting her to understand, she just blurts out, “Never mind, don’t worry about it.”
#55 The Heat Is On
I had a co-worker at a pizza place claim that he knew a guy who could hack a computer if he knew the IP address, then make the computer overheat and permanently damage itself. I told him that’s not how it works, but he insisted that his hacker friend was really good at hacking and could do it. Computer processors are designed to shut off if they exceed a certain temperature. When they shut off, they will stop producing heat.
#56 Getting Misinformed About Health
Pharmacy student here. A lot of people don’t understand that pharmacy school covers a lot more than just medicine and how it works. We learn a lot about disease states. It’s a doctorate program so it is pretty intensive. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert yet, but I know a lot more than people who get their information from the “Mom’s Against Vaccines and GMOs” Facebook page.
I absolutely hate it when people try to explain to me how vaccines are bad for you. They don’t understand any of the nuances of these issues. One time, someone told me that the flu shot doesn’t work and that it’s just poison. I proceeded to go on about how the immune system works and I went through every ingredient in flu shots in order to explain that they are okay.
#57 Where’s The Spaghetti, Though?
I was 41 weeks pregnant, in the summertime. I had just been sent home from the hospital after my induction was started. I had suffered through twelve gruelling hours of misoprostol contractions, then nothing because there was an emergency elsewhere in the maternity wing. Unfortunately, my doctor was the only person qualified to oversee the induction.
I was an exhausted, sore, sweaty wreck and just wanted ice cream. A man asked when I was due and I tensely answered, “A week ago.” He then told me all the things (raw pineapple, castor oil, spicy food) that I should be buying to get labor started. Because it’s all surefire, obviously—some spicy meatballs and that baby will shoot right out, right?
#58 Strike Up The Band
I was on a Boy Scout trip to the National Jamboree, and we got to stay at a military base near Washington DC. The night we got there, we went to the base bowling alley. My first turn came up, and my patrol leader, who was 14, decided that 11-year-old me needed coaching. He proceeded to take five minutes to explain how to bowl, in detail.
I thanked him, then stepped up to the line and rolled a strike. I turned around and told him that I’d been bowling since I was five. I bowled a 156 that night, the highest score on the team. Needless to say, that patrol leader never tried to assume anything about my abilities or experience ever again. Not too shabby for 11-year-old me.
#59 Not Their First Rodeo
I was attending a mediation session in another city with a barrister on behalf of my defendant employer. The plaintiff was a lawyer, represented by his own barrister, and the mediator was a former local judge. The plaintiff and his counsel asked the mediator to explain, for my benefit, how mediation sessions worked.
Before he gave a scripted overview, the plaintiff’s counsel condescendingly tells me that I have to be ready to compromise and that their case is so strong the mediation wasn’t even necessary. He then offered to explain anything I didn’t understand (even though my barrister is there), and promised to keep the “legalese” to a minimum so I could keep up.
My counsel chuckled and the mediator paused before reading his script. I thanked the mediator for his time, then looked at the plaintiff and his counsel to tell them that I’m a lawyer. I told them that I have been one for many years, that I’ve done several dozen mediations all across the country, and that I’m well versed in what he believed constituted a compromise. I then suggested he skip his brief since it was a carbon copy of the pre-trial brief he submitted four months ago. The plaintiff and counsel went white. My mediator chuckled again, and then we began.
#60 The Capstone Of Higher Education
One time I wore a University of Alabama hat to the grocery store and the cashier mocked me. He called me a “bandwagon fan” because Alabama has a giant college football program and he thought most people just jump on the trend to fit in. My family lives in Alabama and my dad and brother have degrees from the university.
I even went there for my freshman year. I’m born, bred and Roll Tide fed. When I informed him I actually picked the hat up in Tuscaloosa (where the university is) the last time I was there, he looked at me and said, “Where??” I just smiled and told him to have a nice day.
#61 Kiss The Asphalt
I was at a bar and there was a strange smell. I knew it was from the parking lot a few buildings down that was being worked on. I asked what the smell was and a guy told me it was asphalt. After disagreeing with him a few times and him insisting he was right, I told him I worked at an asphalt plant, and it most definitely was not the smell of asphalt.
#62 Too Much Monkey Business
I was waiting for an operation reading of the famous book “Social Evolution” by biologist Bob Trivers. It has chimps on the cover. Someone, who later turned out to be the chief of surgery, said: “Evolution is all about monkeys isn’t it?” Err, no, I explained, even though monkeys and humans have a common ancestor (I teach evolutionary theory). “Well, those are monkeys on the cover, aren’t they?” she asked. No. They are not. Didn’t you study biology at medical school?
#63 Getting The Right Shot
I like to visit local areas that are photo-worthy. Somehow, I always get asked to help take a photo and it’s always fun when I’m asked to change the settings on the camera. It’s not fun, however, when the person or group thinks they already have the correct settings. It may be overstepping a little, but I still try and tell them otherwise.
I have experience using different types of point and shoot cameras because of a prior stint I had at a theme park. After a while, it gets a little maddening when folks try and tell me how to use the shutter button to take a picture. Them: “It’s the silver button on top.” Me: “Oh, you mean just like the one on my large DSLR that’s hanging around my neck?
#64 Lights, Camera, Action!
As a film graduate with an educational background in practical TV and film production, I often explain how things work in the industry when people around me make assumptions or interpret it the wrong way. For example, film history. My friend, a gardener, stated that the first film for audience consumption was released in the 1940s.
I proceeded to explain the history of film and rebutted that the first film featuring commercial sound was actually released in 1927. He then informed me that the history I explained was probably a different one that didn’t apply to audiences. Just to be clear, I spent six years studying film history… but I contained my rage and just said, “Oh yeah, probably.” Then I left the room.
#65 Use Your Inner Voice Next Time
I sold a high-end storage component system for seven years and I’m an expert on how it works. When my husband and I moved into our house and were setting it back up, he started telling me how he thought we should do it. “See, the problem is this right here, it looks like we should probably do that,” etc. He just kept going on and on, saying everything that was on his mind and trying to work through the problem.
The whole time, I was just standing there staring at him. Eventually, he stopped and looked at me, and I was like “I’ve literally taught people how to do this a million times.” He got kind of red and said, “Aw man, I forgot”. He wasn’t condescending, he was just trying to work out how the system worked out loud. But funny nonetheless.
#66 Used To The Hate
I work in finance. A faculty member tried to explain to me their department’s budget, which I administer. I don’t go into his lab and start telling him how to do his job, but that didn’t stop him from telling me how to do mine because I don’t have a Ph.D. Clearly, that means I couldn’t possibly have anything valuable to contribute.
He was arguing with me over the bottom line of his budget, which said he said had a surplus when it actually was in deficit due to his reckless spending ($800 on a freaking pingpong table for his students out of operational funds… No wonder I audited him). I had to point out to him that in the university’s accounting system, things in parentheses are credits, not debits.
The $50,000 he insisted they had was actually $50,000 in the hole. Such had already been explained to him in a dozen emails that go back to last year, but he insisted the accounting system was wrong. I insisted the meeting was over and wound up helping slash his budget for the net fiscal year to reclaim the overage. He hates my guts, but I give zero care.
#67 What’s In A Name?
My little brother’s friend who has worked in marketing for only six months tried to explain how he “cracked” Google’s SEO algorithm and could get anything to the front page of Google. I’ve worked knee-deep in SEO for almost a decade and I still have little to no idea what drives the algorithm other than speculation and trial and error. I just smiled and nodded while he told me image file names play a huge role in page ranking.
#68 Turn Up The Bass
My friend’s brother wanted to install new speakers in his car. The amplifier was rated for 4 ohms, so according to him, there was no possible way to use two 8 ohm speakers because it would blow up the amplifier. His dad joined in and argued with me too, which was frustrating because they were the ones who asked for my help. Why ask for my help if they aren’t willing to take it?
Neither would listen to a word I said until I mentioned that I was five years into an electrical engineering degree and have designed countless amplifiers, including a dozen guitar speaker cabinets. Their tone totally changed after that. Don’t know if he ever installed them though.
#69 Simply Trying To Get A Connection
The COX internet tech was trying to blame my bad internet on the WiFi being “imperfect.” He said that speeds and loss vary on conditions like location and other measurable factors, etc. He clearly had no idea who he was talking to. I played along and went, “Huh, what about hard-wired to the router?” He just said yes, the same issues can occur.
I own an ISP in California. I’ve been a tech for 27 years. Ethernet is not WiFi, pal. I let him go all in, then dropped the truth. I told him to not assume by using industry-only jargon to try and make his lack of experience and professionalism invisible. He didn’t say a single word after that. He learned a lesson about making assumptions that day.
#70 Get These Hands
I went to a boxing class. One of the newer guys started teaching me how to jab right off the bat and I just went with it. He then started teaching me how to move. I never even asked him to approach me in the first place. When it was time for sparring, I beat the heck out of him. That’s when he found out he probably should have asked if I boxed before.
#71 TVs For Everyone
I was coordinating the installation of close to 2,000 TVs on a cruise ship. One particular install was tricky because it was in a tight space and all the screens were too large. So I ducked out to a big box store to pick up a smaller screen. The salesman was explaining how difficult it was to install plasma screens.
He said I needed to hire one of their experts who knew which specific monster cable to use for optimal viewing. He kept coming out with a bunch of outright lies to try and upsell me. I ended up saying something to the effect of: “Listen, mate, I’ve installed more TVs than you’ve had hot dinners, so kindly ring up just the TV so I can be on my way.”
#72 See You On The Court
I’ve been playing tennis for over twenty years and I took it very seriously for about seven or eight. Simply put, if I really wanted to, I could embarrass an amateur on the court. But I don’t, because I’m not that kind of person. I was having lunch with a guy who I considered to be “potential boyfriend material.”
I considered him that for maybe a split second, but I quickly came to my senses. At some point in our conversation, the subject of tennis came up. I didn’t go into too many details but said that I’d been playing for a long time, mentioning that I played varsity in high school, etc. He must’ve gone deaf when I mentioned my background, and proceeded to explain a few simple concepts as if I was brand new to the game. After that, I suggested that we play a few rounds at a local court sometime, and he agreed. The day came and we made it to the courts. I was a little rusty at first since I hadn’t played in a while.
I recall him saying something like, “Don’t worry, you’ll improve.” Long story short, it didn’t take long until I was in full form and he realized that he greatly underestimated my abilities. It was pretty clear that he was pissed off, but he didn’t say anything about it. I think we only played one more time after that, but with a few more people.
#73 Deal Turned Into A Nightmare
I had a friend ask me about a car he wanted to buy. I hadn’t sold cars in years at that point but still kept all my old connections. He ignored my advice and bought a 10-year-old, high-mileage Nissan for the same price as a newer, lower mileage Honda that I showed him at my old dealership. The next time we talked, he wouldn’t shut up.
He kept bragging about the amazing deal he got on his car and how he did it all themselves, blah blah blah. He forgot I used to sell more cars in a month than they could buy in their entire life. I showed that he overpaid by $3,000 and got screwed on the rate. Yeah. Don’t be a jerk. Now he’s stuck in that turd, the transmission is going out, and he’s upside down $3,000 still.
#74 Blinded Me With Science
I had my chiropractor try to convince me that the microwaves from WiFi, cell phones, and computers can affect brain function just by touching them. He went on and on about that, then looked at me and said, “Well, I don’t know how much science background you have so I won’t go into all of it.” I have my BSc and I’m currently working on my masters in Neuroscience. He shut up after I told him that.
#75 Off To The Races
I was casually sitting in the stands at a local sprint car race one night a few years ago. I had a couple of guys who were a few beers in try to explain to me how the sprint cars worked. At one point, they got all excited when they saw that the next car that rolled on the track was a fast one. I politely leaned forward and said thanks for the support, because it was my racecar.
#76 Turn Me Loose
I work in marketing for a casino. At a video poker tournament, a lady came up to me and said, “Listen, I am a marketing genius, you should hear my idea. Make these machines as loose as possible, so we can all win a little more.” I replied, “Oh weird me too! Also its video poker. There are only 52 cards in the deck. There is no such thing as loosening a video poker machine.”
#77 Being A Good Sport
I’m a martial artist but I don’t look like one at all. One day, I was training at the club and a guy came up to me. He had his group of friends behind him, encouraging him. With this cocky attitude, he started giving me all of these tips and instructions on how to win a fight. From the looks of him, I immediately knew that he was not a seasoned fighter and even less an expert.
He offered me to spar with me for a bit. That’s when I decided to unleash my full fury on him. Within the first few minutes, he realized how stupid he was for trying to teach me how to fight. But there were no hard feelings; we even went out for drinks after. At the bar, his coach went up to him and said, “Man, she is a cage fighter. How could you even think you could go head to head with her?” He never returned to the club.
#78 Rules Are Rules, Pal
I was coaching a girl’s basketball team in an entirely unimportant high-school tournament that solely existed for the kids to have fun. Before the game, the ref made a huge fuss about what kind of hair ties and scrunchies the girls could and couldn’t wear. He asked several of my players to remove their hair ties.
He was riding on the fact that the official rules didn’t allow “that kind of material.” Two of my players were close to tears. I told the ref to please change his socks. He looked at me all dumbfounded and said, “What?!” I said, “You’re wearing white socks. The official rules require the ref to wear black socks.”
He didn’t believe me, so I whipped out the rule book and pointed him to the relevant rule. He turned bright red and we started the game with everybody wearing their original hair ties and socks. Sometimes, being too much of a stickler for the rules isn’t necessarily a good thing. Always make sure you really know your stuff before making calls that could make you look stupid.
#79 Awkward Moment At The Dinner Table
I used to manage a Starbucks. My wife’s cousin’s new boyfriend came to a family dinner and I asked him what he did for a living.
Him: “I work in finance.”
Me: “Oh cool, what kind of stuff do you do?”
Him: “Honestly, I don’t know how to explain it to you in “Starbucks” terms” (with this condescending smug smile).
Me: “Well, I actually just completed my Master’s degree in Finance so you know, I’m sure I could understand.
He just upped and left.
#80 The Weather Outside Is Frightful
I’m an airline pilot based in New York City. It’s got some of the most congested airspaces in the world. Often we are delayed, not because of weather in New York but further outside New York. For instance, a well-placed thunderstorm will force everyone else to deviate around it. This can then force other traffic to be vectored out of the way.
It’s a huge butterfly effect that forces ATC to start limiting the flow rate of traffic flying into a specific area, like New York City (This is part of the reason why EWR, LGA, and JFK have some of the worst on-time performances in the country). Unfortunately, most passengers don’t understand this and it’s frustrating.
They feel the need to inform us that we shouldn’t be delayed for the weather because their relatives said the weather is fine at the destination. Gee, thanks Karen in seat 15C. I’ll tell ATC they don’t know what the heck they’re doing because your husband said the weather looks good at home. That’ll definitely get us on our way!
#81 On An Annoying Loop
About a month ago, a new guy joined the team. I’ve worked here for about three years, despite the fact that I’m still pretty young. Anyway, he recently started explaining how a certain process works to me and I sat at my desk staring at him until he stopped. I said, “Yeah I know, I wrote the protocol. Do you have a question?”
When he didn’t, I put in my headphones and turned away from him. He still annoys the heck out me. He’ll repeat things back to me that I had explained to him just the day prior. I thought he just rubbed me the wrong way, but some new people started on the team and you can clearly see that he’s even more condescending to them.
#82 That’s What I Call Home
My father-in-law told me that I was framing a house wrong. His son was helping with the job and I guess they talked about it. Based on that, he determined I was doing something wrong. We argued about it a lot—I told him I was taught by my dad who has built hundreds of homes. My father-in-law has never built a home in his life and I’m not even sure he has ever even been on a construction site.
He pulled out a book about construction from the ’70s and showed me what I was doing wrong. At this point, I was sick of it and went to my car, grabbed the house plans, and showed him an exact detail that showed what I was saying was correct. He stared at it for a long time and had nothing to say. He mumbled on later about how his outdated book was right. He was such a know-it-all. Good riddance.