I was recently talking with a complete stranger regarding his website and marketing needs for a specific campaign he was getting ready to launch for the holidays. How I got into this conversation is a long story and not worthy of mentioning at this time and the only thing I can say is that I was abandoned and left alone to fend for myself in this conversation. All of you reading this know that situation.
I listened to this very nice man and after a short time I began to tune him out as he constantly used and interjected these little slogans from the past into his conversation which just bores me to tears. You know the slogans: “Growing old isn’t for sissies”, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and “curiosity killed the cat.” OK, I agree with the first two slogans as they seem plausible but the curious cat thing has got me all riled up because there was no reason to add this into his conversation. He was just one of those guys who think it’s clever to remind us of old sayings. Boring!
He made the ‘curious cat’ comment after I said that I was curious about one of his points and he actually interrupted me with it before hearing why I was curious. Not only is he boring me to death with these slogans, he’s also an interrupter. Nice! This got me thinking in my head at the time that I cannot, for the life of me, think of a time in history or have read a children’s fable, heard a myth, some folklore, or even a tale or a mystery where a cat died from being curious. Where did this stupid little saying come from? Anyone? I bring it up because it was the only interesting thing about this conversation. I didn’t want to be rude so I kept it to myself.
Are you wondering why I’m telling you this? Well I’m a very curious person and everyone at RPG is very curious as well and we have crazy and curiously interesting conversations about all sorts of topics ranging from technology to art and everything in between. We are insatiably curious about everything. So, if being curious can kill you I want to know about it. I have a friend who only wears shirts with a breast pocket so he can carry his 3×5 cards and a pen where he make notes on thoughts and ideas all the time. You can look at his cards on Monday morning and know exactly what he was thinking and curious about all weekend. He’s a little crazy, but he’s my kind of crazy.
I recently read a story about a sky diver named Adrian Nicholas who was curious about a theory that Leonardo da Vinci wrote around 1485. The theory accompanied with a very rough drawing stated that a man provided with a length of gummed linen cloth 12 yards wide by 12 yards high could jump from any great height and float safely to earth. That is a very bold statement to make in 1485 and up until Adrian, modern day experts have long agreed that da Vinci was very wrong about this theory but nobody wanted to test it for obvious reasons. Adrian Nichols was curious about this and decided to give it a try. Here is where curiosity can kill you and maybe doing crazy experiments is where this slogan started although we’re still missing the cat!
On June 27, 2000 Adrian got into a hot air balloon with the 187 pound canvas and wood contraption made exactly the way Di Vinci would have made it with the tools available in 1485 and soared to 10,000 feet. Once he got there he jumped out with this thing and floated safely to earth. This is also my kind of crazy although he did have a parachute on but his curiosity demanded he give this theory a go. This event took place in South Africa and was witnessed and photographed by many people as the above image shows. The event actually made Adrian famous but not for setting the record straight about di Vinci’s theory but for being curious enough to try it. You gotta love that. I’m now curious about how di Vinci knew that it would take fabric 12 yards wide by 12 yards tall. How did he come up with that formula?
“Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristic of a vigorous intellect.” ~ Samual Johnson
Sadly, Adrian Nicholas died on September 17, 2005 while skydiving in Texel, Holland. I would have loved to have met and talked with this curious person instead of the terminally dull slogan teller.
This is the kind of conversation that I wanted to be in. Give me curious people any day of the week and I promise you that the conversation won’t be dull. Conversely, dull and boring people are seldom curious.