I was telling my brother the other night that I want to know everything. I don’t even know why, it’s a disease, most people can enjoy a glass of wine, I want to know how it is made. Some people go to church, I want to learn about all the world religions, some people enjoy someone playing guitar, I need to learn how to play one. It’s like an addiction, the more I cram up in that brain the more I want to cram up in that brain.
Today, I decided to take a long hard look at myself and I am a little lost.
Why? What is the use of knowing a bunch of stuff? How am I serving humanity by being a walking Trivial Pursuit game?
I’m asking, what is it about me that has to learn something about everything?
It’s not like I’m going to go teach, God forbid I’d have to talk to… students (and read their papers, Eeech). I’m not going to write a book on this stuff, nobody wants to read a book about my attempts to learn ancient Greek. No, I’m destined to be a lifelong impulse buyer of knowledge, Amazon Prime’s favorite customer. Speaking of Amazon, and this is how my brother and I got on the subject, I don’t even read fiction anymore, no patience for stories that didn’t happen, instead I have to squeeze more useless knowledge up there. I’d much rather build a model boat than read a story about someone in a fictional one. I missed the fun gene and got the know it all gene instead. It’s no day in the park. While you all go to the park, I walk around on the path outside of it listening to college lectures through my IPOD. Yes, I buy college lectures. What the Hell is wrong with me?
Actual sentence that came out of my mouth in a client meeting not long ago: “Well, Mussolini said it isn’t impossible to govern the Italians, just pointless,” and then I went on to give a history of the Italian peninsula. Which would have been fine if my clients had hired me to teach them Italian history but I am a Certified Financial Planner. Somehow, in a discussion of the merits of keeping Berkshire Hathaway in their portfolio Tuscany came up and off I went. They chuckled, politely.
I am a quirky one.
Is that it? I have become quirky. This whole Middle Aged Crazy thing is just a cover, by masquerading as an author I can pretend to be researching all the things I’m going to write about. But my family knows, I’m just a little odd, I’d be like this even if I wasn’t a writer. I write because all this stuff has to come out somewhere. Sometimes it helps my son, he doesn’t have to go far to research homework, he has Wiki-Dad at the ready; willing and able to tell him all kinds of facts and lies about almost anything and nothing. In the last week I have lectured him about Hagle, Keynes, free markets, the history of Fenway Park, and why our Desert Rose plant has brown leaves. Okay, he didn’t ask about the last one, but being around me is like being around nuclear fallout, you can’t avoid the radiation that is my trivia. I am a walking Jeopardy contestant (which, by the way, I would excel at, but Wheel of Fortune is another thing, I swear, Vanna might have “C_ts a_d D_gs” revealed and I wouldn’t get it. I am in the remembering department, not the figuring stuff out department.)
Having a steel trap memory used to be a good thing, you needed people like me to avoid a trip to the library or paying too much income tax. But now that we all walk around with devices that provide the sum total of all human knowledge at our very fingertips people like me are rendered useless. It’s not that I’m brilliant, I just have a good memory and the internet took my job. I don’t NEED to remember the lineup for the 67 Redsox or 68 Tigers, Google does. I am a walking museum of what used to pass for a smart person, now just a quirky one.
So what am I going to do with all this stuff? It looks like I am going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and the rest of my life traveling to museums, buying recorded lectures, and boring the living crap out of my poor Grandchildren.
“Did you go to see Grandpa D?”
“Yea, he was telling me something about some guy who used to play baseball and something about flowers.”
“Does he like the Home?”
I think that is my future, I will be the guy they let call Bingo in the Home and seize the microphone to lecture about St. Francis of Assisi until they drag me off screaming about Pope Urban…
Sigh, I have to go sign into my online classes now.