The Norman Transcript


March 1, 2013

Our insatiable curiosity

NORMAN — Bipeds, also known as people and/or humans, are curious creatures. For the purposes of this discussion, we are using the term “curious” to mean the state of being inquisitive rather than the condition of being odd ducks.

Let’s face it. Humans have not cornered the market on being inquisitive or nosy. That label can be applied to any creature, but particularly to cats. You may be familiar with the saying “Curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back.” What you may not know is that in William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing the quotation read: “What, courage man. What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.” In this case, “care” means worry or sorrow. How “care” evolved into “curiosity” is about as clear as muddy water.

Although there is entertainment value in watching a cat chase an unreachable string or bat at a ball of yarn, watching humans poke their noses into things out of pure unadulterated curiosity ranks higher on the entertainment scale because you expect more from humans.

So, once upon a time, Hubby and his twin sister were bathed and dressed in brand new, white matching outfits. Mom told the toddlers to stay indoors and stay clean while the rest of the family finished getting ready.

As it happens, repairs were underway on the road near their house and the twins decided to investigate. By the time everyone gathered in the living room ready to leave, the twins were missing. But the sound of happy giggles drew the family to the front door.

The sweet little dirt magnets were playing in the tar — laughing and tossing tar balls at each other. And those cute little white outfits were white no longer.

It is this same endearing and deeply embedded childlike curiosity which draws us to check out an event — catastrophic or otherwise. That is why we see crowds gather when a building is on fire or eagerly watch the planned implosion of a stadium or skyscraper.

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