The Norman Transcript

March 1, 2013

Our insatiable curiosity


The Norman Transcript

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.

Now you see it. Boom. Then you don’t.

Accidents tend to draw rubberneckers. Folks slow down and check out what happened. How badly were the vehicles damaged? Was anyone hurt? They are compelled to feed the curious cat within.

Our curiosity is a powerful force. It may be the beginning of a great idea or invention. Or, it is unadulterated nosiness. No matter how young or old you may be, you want to know what’s going on. You want to see for yourself. This is the “inquiring minds” syndrome. If you watch people or just glance in the mirror, you realize most folks got in the curiosity gene line at least once.

This quasi-philosophical rumination evolved because of a water pipeline which runs from Lake Texoma through countless properties, including ours, all the way to Wylie, Texas and the water processing plant.

Hubby is far more curious than the average bear.

He will stand behind me while I prepare a meal. He will wander into the kitchen to peek in the pot while said meal is cooking “just to check on it.”

It is quite possible that his heart leapt with joy when he saw the digging and other preparations for the pipeline. It is a giant magnet and Hubby cannot stay away. He even braved the elements, as in brisk, cold winds, to go fishing in our lake, which just happens to be near the pipeline activity.

He watched up close and personal, chatted with the supervisor. And then he returned to the house with red cheeks and a happy smile to tell me all about it.

That worked out well. He braved the inclement weather and I stayed in the warm house, reading.

A perfect division of labor.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Check out her novel “The Dionysus Connection” on Amazon or ask your bookstore to order it for you. Visit her website www.elizabethcowan.com.

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