Oliver resident Wayne Skuhala can explain to you how the sun works, how to hit the perfect note when singing, rebuild your computer and snowboard in deep powder, but don’t call him a know-it-all.
The negative connotation behind the term is something Skuhala wants to change, and he isn’t taking that lightly. The 37-year-old set out to do just that on the Discovery Channel’s new television show, the ultimate battle of brains and brawn,
Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All, which started Monday night. He will be testing himself against 10 of Canada’s self-proclaimed egg-heads.
“Nobody ever calls someone a know-it-all in a kind way,” said Skuhala. “I don’t think people should be punished for knowing things, but being a know-it-all always has a derogatory connotation. If they are saying something positive, it is, ‘Oh you know a lot.’ Now, of course, there are the people that lack the social graces and feel the need to let you know that they are a know-it-all on a constant basis. That is where the negativity comes from.”
If the first episode was any indication, don’t go thinking this is just another quiz show — it is far from it. The brain-busting competition tests problem-solving skills, leadership, co-operation and game playing strategy. Just what the competitors found out when they were tasked with constructing a house using only cardboard and rope to withstand a tropical wind storm and determine an explosives kill zone. That isn’t the only blow-up on the eight-part series, expect plenty of fireworks between the competitors who include a bushman who lives off-the-grid, a former U.S. Navy nuclear engineer, an accountant and stay-at-home mom and a millwright with military training.
“You will see some definite conflicts and some language exchanged. There was some interesting days and I hope they can transfer the emotion onto the screen,” said Skuhala.
Don’t let Skuhala’s soul patch and bandanna holding back his shoulder-length hair fool you. The 37-year-old is a highly-skilled carpenter who has a degree in physics under his belt. As a self-proclaimed “science geek,” Skuhala said his knowledge base is a mix of book-smarts and practical know-how.
“If I see something and I think it’s cool, I will go and look it up. You can’t be afraid of learning and you have to have a natural curiosity. If I really want to know about something, I will sit down and search on the internet, study it or do something to find the answer. I’ve got to go and get the information right now because it is burning,” said Skuhala of what it takes to be a know-it-all.
Challenges promised in upcoming episodes of Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All for the jacks-of-all trades competitors will include racing against the clock to extract synthetic human bones out of blocks of ice and reassemble them, designing and building unpowered aircraft and constructing a massive trebuchet to play the ultimate game of Trojan basketball.
Something Skuhala’s friend and nominator, Guy Smith, doesn’t think he will struggle with. Smith thought of only one person when he saw the original commercial asking for people to audition for the show last year. His friend of seven years who has imparted more than just information.
“If you hang around know-it-alls, they teach you patience,” advises Smith.
Putting up with Skuhala means knowing that if you ask something simple you might get a 20-minute explanation, said Smith. It also means something as simple as watching television together can be a lesson on what is feasible and what is not and the long explanation of why.
“You either love him or you hate him. I can put up with it now,” laughed Smith. “Wayne is a good
guy and hopefully it will put a new light on knowit- alls and people will see they aren’t as annoying as they come off all the time. You’ve just got to have patience.”
Catch Skuhala on Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All on Monday’s at 7 or 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.