Friday, January 27, 2012

My problem is that I want to know everything

Okay so sometimes I get really anxious that I won't have time to learn about everything I want to know. Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble, and I got really overwhelmed because I wanted to read every book in the store but I didn't know where to start.  Antique furniture?  The history of Ireland?  Do-it-yourself electrics?  Gah!!  I walked out with the Hunger Games trilogy and a notebook in which to collect facts.  I think that if I write down everything I learn, then I'll be able to see what's missing and therefore figure out what it is that I don't know, and then I can study that.  The only problem is that I might be dead before I figure it out.  Did you know that the surface area of the small intestine is the size of a tennis court?  Sheesh.  Also, I'll bet you don't know why a papal bull is called a papal bull.  (I even had to look up what the heck a papal bull was in the first place; it's basically a document from the Pope or his office.  Decrees, letters patent, charters, etc.)  But allow me to drop some knowledge on you as to why it's called a bull—it's named for the device that they use to seal the document: a bulla.  It's a little metal disc thingy that they stamp with symbols of the current Pope and the church, and they attach it to the document with a silk or hemp cord.  Silk cord for good decrees like sanctifications, and hemp cord for bad ones like excommunications.  BAM.  

"Who was vice president under John Quincy Adams?  Daniel D. Tompkins, and I'll bet your Mr. Sawyer doesn't know that."

1 comment:

Chris Ellmann said...

One of my all-time favorite novels is The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. 600ish page coda to both The Children of Captain Grant and 20000 Leagues under the sea, but that's not important. One of the main characters is an engineer-- and he knows *everything* : zoology, botany, chemistry. What animals are good to eat, what plants have medicinal use, how to make nitroglycerin to remove that pesky cliff. I sorta miss the concept of an era where everything was actually learnable, because everything was such a smaller concept.