Enough to be Dangerous

Our glimmering set of Emerilware (a generous wedding gift we love to use) hangs from a rack outside our pantry.

I had just watched Emeril Lagasse's TV show where he "kicked up" a gourmet meal of Rainbow Fruit-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Fried Cheddar Grits and a Blueberry Coulis. Several, lucky audience members tasted his finished dishes. They rolled their eyes and contorted their faces in what looked like pain, but turned out to be an involuntary reaction to intense deliciousness. The audience applauded, some stood in ovation.
Emeril had cooked everything in what seemed like fifteen minutes -all while talking and joking. Sure, his ingredients were pre-measured and lined up in a row for him and he chopped with a thousand-dollar food processor, but how hard could it be? I should try it. Ah, but I know better.

Instead, I flopped into a chair for more TV. On the DIY (Do It Yourself) cable channel a plumber showed a nervous woman how to install a new sink in her basement. Within a half hour he had shut off water, measured and cut pipes, redirected old pipes, dropped in the new sink, whipped out a torch and soldered every new seam all while explaining his explicit obedience to picky regulations by doing it this or that way. The guy made it look easy and I could use an extra sink downstairs. Ah, but I know better.

These televised "masters" of their crafts present an effortless, abbreviated demo of a skill that has taken them years to learn. The ease of their performance can delude ambitious people -luring them to tackle tasks they oughtn't.

Sometimes the results thrill, sometimes, ehh -not so good. The problem is one of judgment. A person who successfully fried a pork chop once might take on Emeril's dish and end up with cheddar topped fried pork loin with a side of blueberry soup.

Or someone who successfully installed a washer in a faucet way-back-when, could end up sitting amidst floating plumbing parts -yellow pages on her lap opened to plumbers. These people earn the unflattering title: "Knows enough to be dangerous."

Computer skill can be misjudged too. I don't profess to be the Emeril of computers, but if I claim one bragging point, it is that I know my limitations and I resist tasks outside my scope of skill (unlike certain actors who try to sing, and singers who try to act).

I have clients who will try to install, upgrade, migrate, remove, add, unplug, computers and programs without having a clue what they are doing because it looked easy. After they've been dangerous, I get their call in crisis.

The good news for these ambitious computer doers is that a sound backup beforehand is a fantastic rescuer and makes you ineligible for the title "knows enough to be dangerous." My software of choice for complete PC backup is Norton Ghost. With its protection, you can try almost anything on your computer with quick recovery if something goes terribly wrong. However, your pork loin might not be so lucky.

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