I have four dental crowns cemented into my noggin. I’m completely familiar with every step of the procedure for getting them in there: the prepping of the tooth; the creation and application of the temporary crown; the molding of the permanent one; and the implanting of the permanent crown with some space-age epoxy that ensures the bond will last longer than I will.

But it’s never crossed my mind that I should conduct the procedure and implant the nugget in my own yap. That’s why, at least up till now, I’ve continued to hire a dentist for such projects. But I’m beginning to wonder if that constitutes a disarming lack of imagination. And it’s a particular kind of imagination that seems to apply almost universally. Here’s why I think so:

Practitioners of every stripe experience the same phenomenon: The better the practitioner is at what he does — and the easier he makes what he does appear to be — the less he’s appreciated and the more inclined his constituents are to believe they can do what he does. The phenomenon manifests like this:

A company (The Company) needs a particular kind of help, knows it, admits it, asks for it, buys it from another company (The Vendor), then won’t take it — for two reasons:

  1. The Vendor loses its perceived value and authority.
  2. The Company finds its own people miraculously acquiring the capabilities for which they hired The Vendor.

The marketing/advertising industry alone sees any number of seemingly ordinary folks magically transformed into art directors; copy directors; and web design, readability, and usability experts.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is too simple and cynical to explain such magical transformations. They’re more plausibly attributed to the fact that The Vendor made it look easy. (The Company: “What do we need those guys for?”) Further, once it seems easy, The Vendor’s job starts to look like a lot more fun.

But the fallacy in that line of thinking is that The Company … Hey! … wait a minute. My dentist is a beautiful young woman. She’s clearly happy in her work. And she makes even the most complicated procedures seem easy. Plus, the price of dental work is escalating faster than my golf scores. What do I need her for?

I’m gonna yank this chicklet myself.

Image by geralt, courtesy of pixabay.com.