In all too many ways digression is a standard part of my life anymore. The act of seeing the tangent and following it off into odd little alleyways is considered a given since not doing so would create a near intolerable urge. Something like meeting Mr Rogers when your balls begin to itch. Decorum warns against the sack grab but reality notes that you won’t be able to speak an intelligible word until you do. (Now, actual reality in this situation is that Mr Rogers won’t care any more now that he’s passed on, but if he hadn’t and you squirmed enough in your conversation he would quickly ask, in his soft and gentle way, if you had to use the restroom.)
In an odd and offhand way this has served me well over the years in keeping me amused and entertained as there is always some side road to take and plenty of new informational detritus to learn and attempt to cross-reference into this attic of odd snippets. I’ve long held the personal motto that if one learns one thing per day then it’s, by definition, a good day. And yes, “by definition” is a rather large disclaimer, but if the one thing you learn is that eggs in a microwave explode and fling a napalm-like substance that clings and burns rather horrifically then it’s a good day because you won’t be stupid enough to do that again. (and you’ll get some much-needed first aid experience.) Besides that, if the rest of your day has been worse, then that would make for quite the capper and provide a great story.
The downside of the whole thing, however, is that I quit swimming almost two years back and now the brain wants to follow several divergent paths. Sure, it’s probably some bit of ADHD with a very small side of OCD to round it out. I’d hate to think it was some simple neuroses or anti-social tendency. That would be soooo mundane and if I am going to be psychologically out-of-round then it sure as hell should have a good name; best case it would be in Latin. For lo those many years whatever it is was muffled and bundled in hops-spun blankets; self-medication as it’s been called, and now that the landscape is drying out all the neighborhood crazies have started to sun themselves in the yard again and get active in the community, as it were. (On the plus side, I’m not nearly the asshole I figured I would be. I would say I’m annoyed more often but I chalk that up to being more aware of the potential annoyances life parades in my general direction. Anyways, that’s more for another post and yes, is a digression…)
The plus side, however, well out-weighs the negative from where I sit. I end up with a rather wide swath of information. While most everyone enjoys a sunset, not many know that despite the smog that adds those stunning oranges and reds to big city sunsets, the dinosaurs enjoyed even more beautiful sunsets than we do. Of course they were portending Saurian demise, but they’re described as being to die for… In short; the more little side paths I take, the more little snippets I feed the little gray cells, the better I understand the world around me.
And that’s the point.
It doesn’t mean I’m any smarter than anyone else – in fact I’d argue that I’m not – but simply that I have a potentially larger pool of information to relate with, and the “potential” part is a crap shoot all on its own. Some areas, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle history and lore, I know virtually nothing about. Other areas, especially in the sciences, I can hold my own. Overall, though, as long as I know enough to grasp the tail I’m happy. If I know enough to be able to pass along good info to someone else, then all the better.
It’s a perverse sort of enjoyment I get from wandering about on the tangents, balancing between chasing the rabbits of ideas and having them turn in to an overload of information tribbles. Something akin to writing; somewhat painful when the flow isn’t quite right, but rewarding when it’s even remotely close.