The other day, I was sagely considering all of the things I knew.

The list of intellectual certainties was long and I have to admit significantly substantial.

I was very pleased with myself.

And then I encountered the “view details” button on my Windows Defender program. The button had been obviously in plain sight for who knows how long, but I had failed to understand its importance.

Whenever I would ask the program to scan my computer it would report, after a lengthy search for evil intruders, that all was well; however, if one was to click on the “view details” button, written in tiny words at the very bottom of the page, you would see that the program had actually found several life-threatening items that had been quarantined and hidden away in some kind of software gulag.

One of the options offered to me, when viewing these sordid details, was to have the computer remove the offending item or items.

I had ignored the “view detail” button for as long as I have had the computer.

How embarrassing and how shocking to discover there was something I had not really understood about my computer program, and yelling at Windows Defender for not finding anything nefarious when in fact it had, was incredibly stupid, childish and the result of my own lack of understanding about how these programs worked.

Talk about enlightenment at lightning speed.

Could there be other things on my list I thought I had a handle on, but in reality did not?

Did I grasp what made weather or why snow only fell in my driveway, or why the sump pump in the basement always seemed to fall over when you needed it most?

Did I understand why my taxes were what they were, and why all forms of government has a tendency to reinvent itself every few years?

I realized that for the most part I could only claim to truly understand how to dress myself, pet the cat, and make a cheeseburger.

Everything else I thought I knew was now under review.

I was at once humbled and horrified to find that I may have been living my life according to a defective instruction book.

What else was out there just waiting to be re-evaluated and properly understood?

One personal observation I took away from all of this was that I had developed a blind spot when it came to reading instructions thoroughly, even though wading through lengthy instructions was not ever going to be my cup of tea.

There is nothing as upsetting as realizing that you have been just getting by all these years, and that understanding the world around you was nothing more than a happy accident at best.

This must rank high amongst the list of life lessons best learned early on.

Everything in life must have somewhere, carefully hidden from a casual glance, its own “view details” button.

– J.M.