I’m still amazed at how a 30 second glance combined with my ever present curiosity led me to interact with people in places I’ve read about but have never visited. What a fascinating group! Poets and Playwrights and Writers…oh my. With styles as distinct as their personalities, they’ve opened my eyes and made me rethink a thing or two. Growth is good. Growth among friends is cool.
All these new connections simply because my brain casually noted that David Strathairn is aging nicely.
I’ve shared this story before. About how I was reading the newspaper, waiting for some t.v. program when out of the corner of my eye I caught a promo for the movie “The Bourne Ultimatum”. What my brain latched on to in passing was actor David Strathairn. He’s often described as “good but with an odd mix of features, isn’t a classically handsome leading man type.” The brain cells not involved in reading smirked as feminine admiration noted that some gray haired men actually get sexier with age.
Strathairn has always been my favorite character actor. As a teenager I recall him being on my Mom’s soap opera, stuck with a one time appearance which probably was just to pay the bills. He made it last for months. When he was onscreen, soap opera evolved into legitimate theater. While his co-workers practiced the over-the-top method of acting, he quietly drew you in, allowing you to suspend disbelief and enjoy the moment. He was so convincing that when they killed off his character, I wept. Sure, I felt silly. But he was a master storyteller, allowing me along for the ride. I hated when the ride was over.
And there I was, newspaper in lap years later, when my curiosity raised its head and whispered, “Yeah, but what do you really know about him?”
Ah, the mental challenge. I swear I inherited the go-look-it-up gene instead of one for bravery or mathematically brilliance. I looked up Strathairn and discovered that “odd mix” was inherited from a Scottish father and a Hawaiian grandmother.
Ah, when my curiosity is peaked, there is no stopping it until I’ve got enough information to drown it into submission. In short I got hooked on researching
Today’s confession: I love the sound of words. In school when asked to pick out a word whose sound brought a vivid mental picture, most kids chose words like “Bam!” “Pow!” “Smack”. I picked “cacophony”. If words make me happy, then accents are icing on the cake. They are a word’s personality. I’ve lived in the south all my life. Yet I grew up with friends from all over, so my accent evened out. I don’t talk like molasses in winter. Because I speak rapidly people still ask, “But seriously. Where were you from? Before you moved here.” My reply, “I didn’t exist before here,” always confuses them.
Television has homogenized Americans, removing regional seclusion. We’re like a nation of one sound. Or as my ears think of it: bland. Oh sure, catch me when I’m tired and you’ll hear me drawl out a word or two. That love of word sounds is why I enjoy listening to other cultures speak. It’s like chocolate for my ears. My natural curiosity, combined with the ear candy effect, explains why I often try to pronounce a word with the accent I heard it spoken. I’m sure Susan would get a kick out of the fact I attempted an Irish pronunciation of Fergus after one of our family tree conversations. Not just once. No, for about half a day. When no one was around to have me committed.
It makes me wonder: am I the only one who thinks curiosity is a good thing? The kids I work with don’t have any. Questions on the work front are discouraged. Someone suggested it’s a manifestation of a person who doesn’t want to grow up, insinuating I cling to childhood by needing to always ask “Why?”
Grumpy Grown Ups. I pity them.
I stumbled onto a couple of quotes about curiosity today that made me realize I’m not alone on my quest to understand. The second quote made me think of Dave King. And Ken, the last one definitely belongs to you.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. “ Walt Disney
“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” Albert Einstein
“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.” comedian Steven Wright
Curiosity is as much a part of me as my green eyes. It’ll only stop functioning when I do. Perhaps I owe David Strathairn a thank you note… for that twinkle in his eye led me to you.