Two anecdotes about two beginners in two different fields.
1. A medical doctor recently joined our laboratory. He is a skilled physician but is still cutting his teeth at the lab bench. He recently learned how to perform a western blot, a basic biochemical technique used to detect specific proteins within a cellular extract.
This is an artist's rendition of what a good western blot looks like.
This is what the good doctor's first western blot looked like.
We had gotten off-topic during our most recent lab meeting, somehow discussing the myriad complications and maladies that can arise with human health and during childbirth. My ever-wise advisor (click here or here) commented, "It's a miracle a baby ever comes out normal."
The young doctor replied, "That's how I feel about western blotting. Childbirth is nothing."
2. We had lunch today at CiCi's pizza buffet where a new pizza chef was being trained.
I watched as the novice removed a pizza from the conveyor oven and attempted to divide it into eight proportional slices. He failed at this task, and this is roughly what his pie looked like.
The manager, displeased with his protege's poor sense of symmetry, took a deep breath and explained (as though this wasn't the first time he'd said it), "You need to visualize the center of the pizza." He paused to demonstrate, carefully cutting eight pieces in a sample pizza. Proud of his perfectly divided circle, the manager added, "This is an art form."
The neophyte retorted, under his breath, "Mine is an abstract pizza."