We all learned about it in High School biology… Hell, we probably even learned about it in grade school science. I mean, I’m relatively certain I knew the word and its meaning by the 3rd grade myself. But then, that’s me…
The point here is that we’ve all heard about osmosis. We pretty much know what it is – whether it’s an amoeba eating a dead paramecium, or the way your home water filter works to remove chemicals from tap water. It’s a process that occurs in nature, and can be applied to many things. But, I’m sorry to say, learning is not one of them.
Now, while I will not deny that we “pick up” things from being around people, situations, or the like, we do NOT soak up all knowledge and experience on a subject simply because we come into contact with it. Some, yes. All of it, no.
So, what am I on about?
Well, you see, it’s like this… Several years ago I had a gal contact me on Myspace. Why she sent a friend request, I have no idea. But, she did. I accepted and next thing you know she started messaging me. Given that she was a self-described “former adult model turned Barbie soccer mom” or some such, I was wary. Still, we chatted a bit and it seemed to be all cool. No weirdness, no invites to go see nekkid pics, no “help me put a hex on my neighbor” kind of crap. Although, from the tone of her messages I had the impression she might have been a bit of a “collector,” and by that I mean “celebrity collector.” While I don’t consider myself a celebrity by any stretch of the imagination, sometimes people see that profession of “Author” and assume such. Well, soon she informed me that she was going to rush right out and find one of my books to read.
Okay. Good deal. That’s the idea behind me being on social networking sites to begin with – generate new readers. Apparently, it was working.
A couple of weeks went by and she contacted me again. She had procured a copy of Harm None and read it. Her message told me that she enjoyed it, BUT that she wanted to let me know that it was completely unrealistic because Rowan would have never been allowed to consult on a murder investigation. She knew this because her father was a retired cop. And, because of that little factoid she could detail for me, step by step, police procedure from the ground up. She had learned it all by osmosis. She then proceeded to tell me all manner of things that didn’t gibe in any way shape or form with the things that the actual, badge-wearing, gun-toting, crime-solving/preventing cops who are my friends had told me.
Go figure. During the osmosis I’m guessing that a few things got caught in the semi-permeable membrane through which all the knowledge was passing.
Okay… Let’s forget for just a moment here that the book is FICTION.
She had never been a cop, completely unlike the cops I know who are actually accredited law enforcement officers and whom I consult about various procedures as previously noted. Nope. She wasn’t, nor had she ever been, one of them.
She was an ex adult model barbie soccer mom something or another.
However, because her father was a retired cop she automatically knew everything there was to know about being a cop, police procedure, etc. Apparently, while at work, her father had some manner of psychic connection with her that allowed everything he knew about his job to automatically flow into her head. She didn’t actually say that, but it’s about the only thing I can imagine, because all of the cops I know don’t discuss their jobs at home all that much – especially with their kids.
Yet, because her father was a retired cop, she KNEW everything…
I realize I’m dwelling on that a bit, but I’m simply trying to make a point here. It’s pretty much as if she lived in a Holiday Inn Express, if you know what I mean. (Gratuitous stupid TV commercial reference, yes…)
So anyway, I told her, “Thanks. By the way, would you like for me to explain to you how to build an F-15 Fighter Jet?”
“How do you know how to do that?” she asked.
“Easy,” I replied. “MY father wasn’t a cop. He was a schedule planner for McDonnell-Douglas and he worked on the F-15 project. Therefore, I should be able to tell you the ins and outs of how to build one, don’tcha think?”
She didn’t find this particularly amusing. I, however, thought it was hilarious.
And so, the moral of the story is this: This ain’t your father’s diffusion of fluids through membranes or porous partitions, so quit acting like you somehow inherited his brain through your DNA or something.
Stick to what you really know, not what you think you know. You’re less likely to make a fool of yourself that way.
However, if in the future I happen to have an “ex adult model turned soccer mom” as a character in a book, I know exactly who to call…
More to come…