I was impressed early on with my young son’s insatiable curiosity for facts. He was interested in learning about anything anyone would tell him: magnets, fishing, guitars, but he never cared much about hearing about people’s lives, which is a complete disparity to me, who is fascinated by humanity and its drama.
When this school year began, I asked my newly freshman son about some of his peripheral friends, inquiring about their summers. “I dunno,” was all I got as an answer.
“Didn’t you talk to anyone?” I asked, imagining him buried in a device in the corner somewhere.
“Of course I did,” he said rattling off a list of names and telling me about some game they were playing online, while together. [Fuck you, technology, for digitizing socialization.]
Now that he’s ventured into the theater world, I wonder if his inquisitiveness will be piqued. With his study of characters, together with the scrutiny of intentions and motivations behind the words and actions, I question whether he’ll develop more interest in the life clubs fellow humans have entered before his interaction with them.
I, on the other hand, don’t give a shit about a fake world, or any shooting, fighting, or dungeons and dragons type games. I’m captivated by narratives. I am the precise target market for The Instagram account, Humans of NY.
This morning I was drawn to an article on Mental Floss about how Sweden is giving a tax break for repairing goods rather than tossing them. While there, I “cracked out” (as the millennials say) on the “Amazing Fact Generator,” which tempted me with the “HIT ME AGAIN!” button more times than I care to admit, but I learned crucial facts (I may or may not ever need again).
- “The poinsettia, the red-and-green flower commonly seen in Christmas arrangements, isn’t snow-friendly; it’s native to sunny Mexico.”
- “Al Capone’s brother was a cop.”
- “George de Mestral, the inventor of Velcro, also received a patent for a toy plane at age 12.”
- “Frank Sinatra was the producer’s first choice to play the role of Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry.”
- “Symbols such as “!#@%” that are used to indicate swearing in comic strips are called grawlix.”
- “In 1980, Detroit presented Saddam Hussein with a key to the city.”
- “Cleopatra had a special lipstick made for her, consisting of crushed ants and deep red carmine beetles.
- “Pandas are notoriously reluctant to mate in captivity. This has led breeders to create “panda porn”—videos of pandas copulating.”
- Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell is also responsible for starting up the Chuck E. Cheese’s franchise.”