I’m on a need to know basis. I need to know how everything works.
When I turn the key in the ignition, I know what happens, because there was a time when I needed to know. So I asked the questions. I read the books.
Embarrassingly enough, I can’t wrap my head around how a manual transmission works. I’ve watched a few videos but failed to grasp the mechanics of it. I’ll take a break and watch a few more. One day I will be able to fully explain how it works.
I used to be fascinated by the Rubik’s Cube. So I learned how to solve one. A fun trick that impresses some, but is far from impressive. It’s just memorization of a few simple algorithms. The method I use usually gets the cube solved in under two minutes. The world record time to solve a cube is between four and five seconds. Now that’s impressive.
So I do an evaluation in my head and ask myself, “Do I want to be in the upper echelons of Rubik’s Cube solvers, or am I content just to be able to solve it at all?”
I decide I have better things to do, and building speed would take up too much time. Which brings me to the two main obstacles in the pursuit of knowing everything:
- The propensity to always change focus
- The scarcity of time in the day
I’ll never be a master Rubik’s cube solver because I’ll decide one day that learning my guitar theory is more important. I’ll never be a master guitarist because I’ll decide that watching four hours worth of 9/11 conspiracy videos is more interesting. I’ll never get to the bottom of 9/11 because I don’t have the time to read all about it.
If only I could find more time. I knew a man who was able to excel in his career because he required less than the average amount of sleep. This enabled him to read more books and become an expert in more areas. Missing sleep, however, is not good for this sheep. If I miss sleep I suffer and according to some studies, I’d be shortening my life by shortening my sleep. Lord knows I’m already participating in enough life-shortening behaviours.
This unquenchable thirst for knowledge reared its head again a couple years ago when I signed up for Ancestry.com. My folks already had a family tree with several thousand names connected to it, so I imported their work and started to connect more relatives. I soon realized this was another futile endeavour. Every time I linked a new relative to the tree, it opened up a set of parents, who each had brothers and sisters, who each had children of their own. It became an exercise of linking a seemingly infinite amount of virtual relatives in a tree that had become so large that I was researching complete strangers. The time investment because too much and the interest level became too low.
“Black Sheep, you are driving yourself nuts. How many of these anecdotes are you going to tell? Why do you torture yourself this way? What is your fracking point, by the way?”
The fracking point is:
My unquenchable thirst for knowledge, combined with the technology available to me, has put me in a state of perpetual research, where nearly all things pique my interest, but nearly no things hold my interest.
This is a great attribute for authoring a blog. It’s a horrible attribute to list on your resume.
“You know what you need, Black Sheep? A cold beer and some sports. Turn the old thinker off for a spell.”
That’s right. I can drink the poison and doze out to the 60 Hz flicker of soothing TV. I don’t need to know who built the pyramids. Who cares if the Sphinx is 5,000 or 12,000 or 100,000 years old? Who cares what Donald Dumbass is up to? All my food has poison in it? Flouride is bad? No, it’s good? Bad?
Can someone please tell me if fluoride is good or bad for fudge sakes?
It’s questions like these that prompt a different type of sheep to come out of its pen. The know-it-all sheep. The know-it-all sheep cannot reconcile the fact that he may never know the answer with the fact that he wants to sound smart. The know-it-all sheep will tell you he does know fluoride is bad because he read it in the National Enquirer. The know-it-all sheep will tell you that fluoride is good because his dentist told him so.
I have a desire not to be perceived as a know-it-all sheep (often I am perceived this way, anyway). This desire can erode confidence, for if one is never sure if they have done all the research, one can never be confident that they are truly right.
I wonder how many others there are like me, who on their quests to find out where happiness, healthiness, and intelligence intersect, have become lost sheep.