Maybe I read too many Nancy Drew and English manor house mysteries growing up, or watched too many X-Files. Don’t judge — my little sister had a thing for Mulder, and I had a thing for dark.
I’m a curious sort of girl. Asking and answering questions is my favorite thing to do. I am rarely happier than when I don’t know something, because that means…drumroll, anticipatory salivation, happy dancing…I get to go find out.
That’s why even after swearing upside down and sideways that I would never, EVER, go back to school, I ended up getting a degree in library and information studies. (Thanks, Daddy! I promise this blogging thing is just a lark!) Getting trained as a librarian was as close as I could get to being a professional searcher, without having to carry a gun and eat in my car like a private investigator.
It’s also why I love thrift shopping. Not only do you get a strange mix of eras and objects to sift through, you get mystery items missing their original packaging. I had a lady awhile back turn to me in the kitchen stuff aisle and hold up one of these that she found in the utensil bin:
“Do you what THIS is?!” she asked.
“I believe it’s a shedding blade.”
“A what now?”
“It’s a tool for grooming dogs with thick coats. But you could probably run it through the dishwasher and use it to de-seed a cantaloupe.”
I try to be helpful. I”m sure she meant to thank me before running away.
Now, have I ever bought, touched, or used a shedding blade? No.
Have I ever said the words “shedding blade” out loud? Nope.
But could I piece the cultural detritus in my head together for the win? Yes. And failing that, could I have used my iphone to figure it out? For sure.
“I don’t know about this, but I’d like to” is something I feel or say or think at least 20 times a day. The internet has been the perfect vehicle to feed my addiction curiosity. When I have a health question, I can hit MedlinePlus or PubMed or MayoClinic or a million other sites. I have a steady stream of MS-related abstracts and news delivered via RSS right into my google reader and twitter stream. I correctly diagnose my friends and family so often that I usually end our phone conversations with, “I’ll send you my bill.”
Even before the internet, I was the kid with her own reference library. (Thanks, grandmothers and yard sales!) I loved reading the front matter of the phone book and going through the trash at the post office. Flipping through almanacs and atlases was a perfectly reasonable way to spend an afternoon.
But my all-time favorite lookbook was The American Medical Association’s Family Medical Guide, whichever edition was published in the early 1980s. I would pull out that fat navy volume and just browse. There were the usual anatomical illustrations that any pre-pubescent kid would find stare-worthy. Lots of basic first aid information, just in case.
But there was also an entire section of delicious flow charts for diagnosing and treating common injuries and illnesses – a simplified glimpse into the way doctor’s think. And somewhere, buried in the middle, there was a picture of somebody with black hairy tongue disease:
Like panning for gold, that looking and finding.
Black. Hairy. Gold.
What do you want to know about today?