Hay: A scratch you have to itch

I’ve been accused of being just a tad inquisitive. OK, so I admit, I’m certifiably, pathologically, curious. About just about everything. For example, if I am watching a baseball game on TV, I suddenly have to know what first base is made out of, and how much it weighs. And where baseball bases are made. See what I mean?

And now that encyclopedia sales people don’t come to the door anymore, I now instantly satiate my curiosity by clicking a couple of times, saying the magic words “Bill Gates” and anything my tiny brain questions is revealed on the world wide interweb!

Which is always 100 per cent true at least 10 to 15 per cent of the time.

I’m the kind of person who gets a new prescription from my anonymous doctor (Dr. Mah) and before even filling it I have to carefully scrutinize, study, and extensively research every single blessed nuance of said medicine. Especially the details about side effects that usually state that you could get a headache, stomach ache, rash, confusion, constipation or diarrhea or both, blurred vision, itchy eyeballs, vertigo, hair loss, and that you could have permanently brittle toenails and your ears might fall off. Then I always ignore all that and have at it.

And speaking of vitamins, I wonder what the “I.U.” means on those bottles. Don’t they mean “I.O.U.? Certainly not “I.U.D.”, I don’t think. Curious, isn’t it.

When I go for frequent walks I often find myself thinking about what makes the sky blue and why the grass is green, and why the grass on my lawn is more, say, yellow and sad than green. I’m pretty sure that last part has something to do with fertilizer or possibly something called “quack grass”. And then I’m curious about why it’s named “quack grass” and whether it has something to do with ducks.

At night, during TV time, I like to make popcorn – it’s one of my minor addictions (the eating not the popping part). While it’s popping happily away I never fail to ask myself how come if you heat corn on the cob the kernels don’t explode right off of there like some sort of pinwheel machine gun vegetable. (Because that would be awesome!) And then I wonder if corn is actually a vegetable.

And recently I got really curious about how police car lights flash so many different colors now instead of the one red “cherry” on the top of the old black and white police cars, and then I wondered why they were flashing so close behind me. A short while later, I was pondering just exactly how those police radar guns work.

And just now, in the middle of that last sentence I got really curious about curiosity. So I just looked it up. And guess what? I found out that really curious people are smart and good looking, and also they like to fib. (Kidding.) But I didn’t make up the study from the University of California that found that “a hunger for knowledge is not always an agreeable experience… It’s like an itch that you have to scratch.”

That’s so true. I wonder if my anonymous Dr. Mah has a prescription for that.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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