Uncovering secrets

November 5, 2020
 by Paul McGowan

As a young lad, I remember staring at my grandfather’s fireplace mantle where sat a majestic ship in a bottle. It was a three-mast schooner with big billowing white sails jutting out of the dark brown wooden hull perched on a wavy blue bed of stylistic ocean. It had to be a good ten inches tall. How that beautiful sailing ship got through the bottle’s tiny neck and into that glass vessel was a mystery to me. I begged and pleaded with my grandfather to tell me the bottle’s secret but he refused. With a twinkle in his eye, he challenged me to figure it out.

I never did. Puzzles and I don’t get along together. I think it was my father that finally shared the secret with me, and I found myself disappointed with the answer. The magic was suddenly gone.

Some secrets like magic tricks and ships in bottles should remain unknown. Once exposed all the fun and wonder vanish into the ordinary.

But other secrets such as those once reserved for hired experts, like the art of turntable arm setup, the inner workings of circuits, computer coding, speaker placement, and how to build a system unlike anyone else has, deserve to be shared.

Keeping an expert’s hard-won tricks of the trade close to the vest in order to protect one’s livelihood once made sense, but not so much today. Thanks to the internet’s open access as well as the proliferation of worldwide markets, personal experts for hire are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Today, it makes much more sense for experts to hop onto a YouTube channel and uncover the secrets once reserved for those who paid admission.

The times they are a’ changin’.

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