Monday, September 15, 2014

My Many Interests

I spent most of my life waiting to be seized by a passion for something.  Seized momentarily, as though it were just around the corner, waiting for me.  It never happened, and eventually the sense of expectation left me.  It was replaced by the vague, melancholy feeling that I would have to settle for a real interest in many things, without any deep interests at all.  I will admit that I was somewhat disappointed. 

Now I will admit that there are benefits to this generality of interest, and that maybe I was lucky.

Sometimes I wonder if I should wish that I were more scholarly.  But really, what would that accomplish?  Probably I am better off with my essentially lazy nature and my fondness for periods of inactivity.  I find naps more pleasant than the study of German verbs.  Is that so terrible?  No, actually, naps are quite nice. 

Not that I don’t love German verbs.  “Sie dienen nur genug Geld, um weiter arbeiten zu koennen.”  How great is that?  It’s from a short story by Heinrich Boell.  “They earn only enough money to enable them to continue working.”  As I said, I have real interests in many things.  A ridiculously broad spectrum of things, you might say.  And that’s a good thing.

I can tell you with a straight face that I have never been bored.  Never.  Technically I know what the word means, but I’m not certain what it would feel like. 

So being the jack of all trades, but master of none, has its silver linings.  Recall that in those “once upon a time” European folk tales it was very often a character named “Simpleton” who got the prize at the end of the story.  The prince that came out ahead was the one that had no particular skills and wasted all of his time fooling around while his princely brothers were out mastering hunting or soldiering.  The friendly, non-threatening nonentity won the king’s favor in the end. 

Perhaps that’s me.  

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