I’m pretty smart. There, I said it. Not trying to toot my own horn or feel some sort of superiority but compared to the general population, I know a hell of a lot. I’m probably the smartest and most educated among my close relatives.
I’ve always wondered why. I don’t come from that type of family. Most of my family was in the blue collar realm when I was growing up. I was never pushed to do well in school. It just came naturally. I can say the one thing I know about myself that I don’t often see in others is an innate curiosity about everything.
I ask questions all the time. I must have been quite the handful for my parents. The best thing my father said to me once when I had exhausted the limits of his knowledge was, “I don’t know. Go look it up.”
And thankfully, at some point early in my childhood, my parents had decided to invest in a set of encyclopedias, The World Book Encyclopedia. This set was omnipresent in my youth. If I came across something while reading or watching TV that I didn’t understand or know about, I would head straight to the bookshelf. Sometimes, I would just pick a letter and read through it at random. Nerd!
In addition to the general set, there was a set just for kids called Childcraft. In this set, there were volumes dedicated to specific topics like animals or space or the human body.
Perhaps it was always having so much information at my fingertips that kept me asking questions or maybe just that sense of accomplishment that came with finding the right answer.
I imagine it’s something similar for an athletic kid who discovers how good he or she is at physical activities. Once you find that thing that sets you apart, it often becomes a part of your identity.
I still have a voracious appetite for new things, new experiences and new information. The internet now feeds me the answers to my never-ending questions but every once in a while, I think back to my beloved encyclopedias.
Today was one of those days, and I ended up buying the above set on eBay. I hope they are as much fun as I remember them to be.