Guest Column: Knowledge is flirting power

Anthony Russo

I have always had a great affinity for the game of golf. When I needed a summer job to get me from my last year of undergrad to the first year of my Ph.D. program, one of the first places I looked was a private golf club about 10 minutes from my house. I was invited to take a position working as a locker room attendant. It may have been because of my good looks, my stellar resume or maybe simply because I had reliable transportation and didn’t look like a serial killer.

At any rate, I have made good friends with my fellow employees, including the golf pros. When things are slow at work I watch a lot of television on a nice flat screen in the locker room. Where am I going with this? Well, during our little stock market blip early in August, I was watching a lot of CNBC. As an economics major, I generally enjoy following the markets.

One day, the younger golf pro came in and asked me for a quick explanation of what was causing the massive selloffs –a CliffsNotes if you will. As an econ guy and future professor, I was thrilled to explain. My answer went something like blah blah blah, European banks, yadda yadda, American exposure to debt, duh.

Little did I know that my succinct explanation was of great utility to my friend. That night, he went out and ran into a nice young lady, who happened to be a financial analyst or something of that nature. Turns out that little seed of knowledge impressed the young lady. I’m not sure of the ending of that encounter, but my guess was that some basic knowledge of the market couldn’t have hurt his efforts.

At sometime around then I was playing a round of golf with my buddy the golf pro, and I found myself in a sand trap. I am not a good sand player because I don’t hit a lot of sand shots. No problem, my friend had my back. Ball in center stance, hit behind the ball, swing hard. Blah blah. Voila! I was left with a par putt of about 6 feet, which I drained.

Am I an expert golfer? No. Is he an expert on European bank debt? No. But did our basic understanding of complex topics help us out? You bet. It’s fascinating how everyone has something to offer the world. Nearly everyone has an expertise in some area, and it’s beneficial to society to exchange these ideas. That’s the point of the university concept. I was particularly amused to find out that my nugget of econ gold had been used to flirt with a (attractive, I presume) young lady.

Never be afraid to learn a little something about whatever you may be curious about, even if it isn’t as practical as a sand save. You never know when it may come in handy.

Anthony Russo is a Graduate Assistant and Ph.D. in the Department of political science and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. He can be reached at [email protected].