Photo by Steve Ryan.

Hey! Are you a jackass? Then you could probably use this advice: As much goodwill and admiration as you may think you’re earning by knowing everything about everything, I guarantee you it will not make up for what you lose when you tell a 10-year-old to pet a rabid bat.

Last week a bunch of kids in Spencer, Mass., crowded around to look at a bat that had fallen from a tree, like you do. They didn’t want to touch it, until a so-called adult picked the bat up and encouraged the assembled kids to hold or stroke it. The rabid animal was, she assured them on the basis of no knowledge whatsoever, “the friendliest thing ever.”

Of course, the bat didn’t bite her. Oh no. Instead, it bit 10-year-old Jojo Keefe, who notably was NOT slinging a lot of BS fauxspertise about wildlife. Bats have no sense of justice. Jojo now has to spend her summer getting rabies shots, and the batsplainer has slunk away into the shadows, from which she will not emerge until someone has a question about Wikileaks or Mountain Lion or the economy.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Moral: Don’t pet wild animals, you guys, and if you have to be an uninformed blowhard about something, go do it on Ron Paul forums where children can’t hear you.

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