You have to be careful who you listen to these days, because you never know what kind of advice you’re you going to get. Take yesterday, for instance.
I had to go to the ATM before work, but I didn’t have much time. Unfortunately when I pulled up to the bank, heavy equipment blocked the entrance. They were repaving the parking lot and starting by the ATM, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I needed to transfer money to cover some checks, and I had to do it before the day got started.
Undeterred, I pulled into the other entrance and caught a bank employee as she was leaving the building. She was wearing a suit. She looked respectable. I thought, surely this is a person whose advice I can trust.
“Is the ATM open?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” she said, “The bank’s open all day. Sorry about the mess.”
I still wasn’t sure how this was going to work. The construction guys were paving right down the ATM drive-thru lane. Obviously I couldn’t drive my car over, so I got out, walked over and asked the guy driving the big roller if it was okay if I went to the ATM.
“Sure,” he said, “Go on over.”
He looked like an expert. He was wearing an orange vest and everything. Surely this guy knew when it was and was not safe to walk on fresh blacktop, right?
By the time I made it to the ATM my feet said otherwise. Hmm, that’s funny, I thought. The blacktop is so fresh it’s still warm. Halfway through my transaction, though, I realized it wasn’t just warm. It was hot, so hot, in fact I was feeling it through my sneakers.
Every second I pecked away at the ATM keys, I swear I felt myself sink another inch into the pavement. Visions of dinosaurs and tar pits filled my head. I finished up my business, grabbed my receipt and yanked my feet free.
Back at my car I checked out my shoes, which of course, were now caked in blacktop and underneath that, melted rubber. Then I started to feel it in my feet. In fact 24 hours later I can still feel it in my feet. It had actually burned me through my shoes.
I bet that construction guy does that to people all the time. It’s how he gets his jollies. He probably posts video of dummies like me on YouTube and gets a million hits.
Like I said before, you have to be careful who you listen to these days because you never what kind of advice you’re going to get. It could be well meaning but misguided advice like my banker friend, or it could be advice designed to intentionally lead you astray so that your advisor can post video of you on YouTube with the title, “Hotfoot Harry and the ATM.”
Either way, you still end up in the same place. Bad advice is bad advice.
Maybe that’s why the Bible says, “Walk with the wise and become wise for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Of course walking with the wise is hard to do when your feet are burned, but if I’d had somebody wise with me to begin with, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up in that mess.
We’ve all heard it said, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the fire,” but I say, “wise friends keep you out of hot situations.” Good advice? I guess it depends on who you ask.