Covid created a plague of self-appointed 'experts' but it's amazing when you meet a real one – Susan Morrison

2020 shall go down in history as the Year of the Experts.
A plea for sanity over false claims about 5G and Covid is made in graffiti (Picture: Victoria Jones/PA)A plea for sanity over false claims about 5G and Covid is made in graffiti (Picture: Victoria Jones/PA)
A plea for sanity over false claims about 5G and Covid is made in graffiti (Picture: Victoria Jones/PA)

Suddenly people who got a C in O-Grade biology back when tartan flares were all the rage revealed in-depth expertise about vitamin D, how viruses spread and breath-plume-contact infection rates.

People became stone cold experts in measuring two metres with the laser-eyed accuracy of a Terminator, tutting at those who got too close. Lidl back in June saw a pair of Leith’s more marinated sons create mayhem as they caroomed about like two out of control dodgems. The tutting in their wake sounded like the graduating class at Spanish castanet school.

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Other ‘experts’ assured us that 5G mobile networks spread the virus. This reminded me of my school friend Janet. When we were 11, she told me most emphatically that if a boy sat on a seat on the Number 44 bus and then we sat on it, we’d get pregnant. She had the same certainty as the 5G fanatics, and was just as wrong.

This strange year also saw us become experts on our neighbourhoods. Our city was empty and we had no place else to go, so exploring nooks and crannies of a place we thought we knew was a joy. We also became expert at leaping sideways like startled gazelles when high-speed, bell-ringing bicycle bandits came barrelling along the walkways like Lance Armstrong in his chemically enhanced days.

On my ambles around the Water of Leith, I became an expert birdwatcher. I spotted little black duck things with white eyes and bigger browner ones who don’t like Hovis so much, but are quite keen on stale plain white. Bound to be proper names for them, but if the ducks don’t know them, why should I?

We rediscovered our national expertise for the queue. We used to be world leaders in queuing. Even during the darkest days of the Second World War, we did queues and we did them well. It has to be said, like our leadership in other fields such as aviation, shipbuilding and the Eurovision song contest, our lining-up skills had rather fallen off lately, but Covid brought back the great Scottish queue.

In these times of the self-appointed expert, it's refreshing to meet a real one. In early December I went to meet my amazing oncologist.

She told me the cancer surgeries on my liver and my lung had gone stormingly well and that the surgeons were very pleased with me. I was quite chuffed, but really, I hadn’t done very much. Mind you, I felt I should have been commended for not punching anyone when I came out of the anaesthetic, something which has occasionally featured in my adventures in theatre.

She said that there was no present need for chemotherapy. I immediately worried that the chemo ward staff had told her about the time I got caught swearing at the dripstand and they ticked me off for my “salty language”.

No, she said, the chemo ward isn’t a nightclub. You don’t get banned for occasional sweary words.

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No, she said, you, me and the surgeons are going to fight this and we’re going to win. And do you know what? I believe her, because she’s an expert. A real one.

Here’s to a great 2021!

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