In My Own Shoes: What exactly is wrong with “I know a guy”? | Guest columns
It makes me think every time I hear it… and it pisses me off every time.
One of the current herd vying for governor of Rhode Island is currently running a radio commercial stating in one of those voices that I’m trying to sound serious and sincere, “The days of ‘I know a guy “are finished.” My answer? “What’s wrong with that?”
What’s wrong with knowing a guy? And for you politically correct guys in the peanut gallery waiting to catch every reporter or broadcaster if they get pronouns, genders or titles wrong… what’s wrong with knowing a girl ? Or is “dude” okay? Is “gal” sexist or just too creepy? Truth be told, I’m sick of pacing and pacing every word I write or say to please the politically correct word police, so just for today, let’s drop it, and let’s go.
For centuries, knowing a guy has helped people. It helps you find the best body shop to repair your car or truck’s scratches and dents; it sometimes helps you find yourself at the top of a restaurant’s waiting list on a busy night; this can help you get a “warning” instead of being “written” for that foot ahead of the accelerator pedal; he can find you the best time to fly, the best new car finance rates, he can just help you get a better deal, have a better experience, navigate through life’s superfluous fine print . So what’s wrong with that?
Now if you watch too many mafia movies and “I know a guy” refers to someone who can break your cousin’s legs for not paying off a loan on time, then I’ll agree with the candidate.
I always want to know a guy, don’t you? And also be that guy for people who might need something I can provide, whether it’s a restaurant recommendation, directions, or help with something local for someone. one that is not. One of the most successful things about service clubs, churches and nonprofits in our area is that their success is measured by teamwork, which always means they know someone in their church, their Lions or Rotary Club, another organization or within the community that can best take care of something. There’s a food person or people, marketing brains, people who can build things, people who know how to decorate, writers, developers, a handyman or two, even a handyman or handywoman, with or without attached pronouns. So if Joe tells you he’s been going to the same mechanic for years who works in his garage, and Theresa knows a woman who’s a master baker, but didn’t want to work 10 hour days at a company, then she sells bread and pastries when she feels like it, so aren’t we lucky to know about it…to be told about it and maybe even asked to keep it close to us, i.e. “Hey, don’t tell too many people because if he gets too busy, he won’t be able to serve me!
What this candidate should be saying in his radio commercial is, “The days of bad connotation attached to someone knowing a guy who can do something are over.” Knowing a guy is a great, useful and wonderful thing. It means we have friends, we have a network, we can rely on each other, whether it’s for something very important or just to ask where the nearest liquor store is in this neighborhood, who does touch-ups and where can I buy fresh baked bread?
We went this far in this country because we knew a guy or we met someone who knew him. That’s how we built this country with people who made the laws and who knew how to write a Constitution; because Betsy Ross could do more than hem pants; because we had teachers who were taught by experts and then taught our children. We had factory workers to build airplanes and pilots who could fly them and so on. That’s what we’re made of, knowing a guy/girl who can be the smartest person in the room, the problem solver, the fat monkey in the garage, or the manager of the local community theater.
When I want to know how to do something, buy the best something or get the best deal, you better believe I want to know a guy.
Not you ?
Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 20 years, including her “In Their Shoes” articles. She can be reached at [email protected] or 401-539-7762.