In nearly all contexts, expertise is invisible.
When we're walking around in the world, at a party, or in the workplace, an obscure proficiency remains a secret.
The years of practice and study needed to amass expertise happened in the past, and in the present its simply held within as silent potential.
But every once in awhile, circumstances align and the person is given an opportunity to demonstrate that hard-earned forte.
Sometimes it comes as an unexpectedly clutch move when its needed most. Other times it's more of a mic drop when a presumptuous doubter judges a book by its cover.
However it goes, the unveiling is its own kind of epic.
somekid437 asked, "When did someone challenge you at something you were an expert at?"
"Medieval Faire, 2002. Carnie running the fencing game picks me out of the crowd for being tall, and challenges me to a free bout against 'The Master.'"
"Not a lot of people fence, so his gambit probably worked most of the time, but when he handed me that saber, I handed him his a**."
The Stars Aligned
"Not quite this but I tried to learn piano years ago, i bought a keyboard and learned the first movement of moonlight sonata but it was literally all I could play."
"I had just started a new job as a chef in a fancy hotel, had been there maybe a month and was at the Christmas party, I sat at a piano and the head chef pointed me out, laughing and said 'look at [you], you cant play the piano.'"
"I thought I'll just act confident and play the only thing I can so was like 'yeah i can.. I've played for years' and he said 'oh really? Play moonlight sonata then,' couldn't have gone better."
"He was gobsmacked and I never told anyone there that I was actually crap at piano except that one song lol"
Coolest Clown There Was
"Not me but my friend used to ride a unicycle as a kid. He worked construction and they were working at a house that had an old unicycle."
"The other workers tried riding it and immediately fell off. My friend walked over to it and inspected the unicycle like it was the first time he ever saw one them said it didn't look that difficult."
"They all laughed at him and he said he thought he could ride it. Eventually one of them bet him $100 he couldn't ride it."
"He jumped on it and immediately rode down the street."
"By no means an expert (I'd probably rate in the 1500s), but I've played chess since I was a small child and was the best player in the middle school chess club."
"The guy who owned the pool hall me and my juvenile delinquent friends hung out in was talking about how dumb kids are these days and said he bet nobody in my group of hoodlums could play chess."
"I beat him soundly, then again in the rematch."
Getting With the Times
"For most of 2020 so far. I am an infectious disease expert (PhD from a Microbiology and Immunology program) and suddenly all my former high school classmates think they know more than me."
"They watch the news and learn a new vocabulary, and they bestow themselves a doctorate." -- mrschro
"It happens a lot lately, I'm a microbiologist, so the number of people who have suddenly taken an interest in the subject in order to be confidently wrong about it is pretty upsetting." -- slurmgurm
A Patient Man
"Kinda the reverse, for me. I'm a physical education teacher and I had a student that took a pretty bad tumble in class. Hit her head on the wall."
"Pretty clear concussion symptoms. So we get her stable, call mom & dad to come get her."
"Dad shows up & I start going through the concussion symptoms and treatments with him. Letting him know that a doctors visit is probably in order."
"Blah blah blah I keep going on and on about concussions. He just politely nods and thanks me."
"He takes daughter and leaves, and I see my principal standing behind me and he can barely contain his laughter."
"Turns out dad is an emergency room doctor. And he just sat there while his daughter's gym teacher gave him medical advice."
A Very Self Absorbed Date
"I used to play fighting games competitively all over the world. Never made one of the top slots but I could usually hold my own. One of my best games was Super Street Fighter 2."
"Went to a bar by work one day and they just so happened to have an SNES set up with SF2. I order a drink, pick random characters and just f*ck around for a bit."
"Some guy comes in and immediately starts bragging to his date that he's the best SF2 player ever. I asked him to play some games against me and offered to buy him a drink if he could beat 2 out of 3."
"Twelve games later I am completed hammered and he finally gives up and leaves. Still don't remember getting home that night."
"Colour. It sounds weird but anytime the colour of something comes up and someone tries to correct me."
"I've been a commercial printing press operator for 20 years. I can spot VERY subtle differences in colours that most people can't."
A Lifetime of Training
"I have been wrapping my family's Christmas presents since a very young age.
"It's the perfect activity to focus my crippling perfectionism with my overall anxiety riddled self to create a beautiful master piece that would make anyone think twice about discovering the mysteries beneath the colorful paper and bows."
"I have just always loved to do it and my mom was more than happy to not spend hours wrapping presents.'
"Flash forward to the company Christmas party in my late 20s. We are split into teams to compete for random prizes, I am up for the next game. I had no idea what I would be doing."
"I see a big cardboard box, a neck tie, wrapping paper, scissors, tape and a bow....I know what's about to go down and I am here for it!"
"It's a blind present wrapping challenge. My competitors start talking about how they can wrap presents fast and I sit there silently staring down that cardboard box knowing fully that the crowd is in for a show."
"Blindfolds (neckties) go on, we have a partner that isn't blindfolded that is supposed to give verbal directions. Just before the timer starts, I lean over to my partner and say quietly 'are you ready for this?' And she just says 'what?!'"
"Bam, timer starts, partner tries to give directions at first and quickly realizes I'm way ahead of her. Before anyone else can even get their paper cut, I've got my box wrapped, taped, and bowed. I even folded the ends in 'fancy' to have the triangles meet."
"And that, my friends, is how I earned the most satisfying $10 Starbucks gift card of my life and earned the title of wrap-master."
Do NOT Mess with Email Guy
"The property management company for my homeowner's association insisted that I had received emails that I never received."
"So I asked them to prove that I had received them. They said they're sure I received them."
"I'm a software engineer and at the time I had just finished an enterprise email delivery system (like an in-house Constant Contact). I knew the rules of the CAN-SPAM Act by heart. I KNEW exactly how their system worked."
"So this real bi*** of a property manager said 'I know how email works. You wouldn't understand.'"
"I mentally did the arrogant knuckle crack and started to explain - very methodically - how email delivery works and how they'd track various actions."
"I spent about five minutes detailing my credentials and why I was absolutely certain they had never sent me the emails they alleged I received. When I was finished, the HOA board just agreed to waive the fines."
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