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Fred White appeals to my heart today with his entry on stretching the mind.  I love to learn.  I wish I could make a career out of it and make money doing it.  I often hear people lamenting that they wish they had paid more attention in school.  School is wasted on the youth.  They just don’t have the perspective to appreciate it. 

When I was young, my parents made an extravagant purchase.  They bought on a payment plan all 26 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica including the 1978 yearbook and a separately bound index.  My parents will tell me I have the dates wrong but that’s how I remember it.  It was the bane of my existence in the beginning.  Every time I asked a question about anything, my dad would send me to the bookshelf to look it up.  It didn’t take long for me to get addicted.  I loved the weight of those leather-bound, gold-leaf embossed books in my hand and before long, I was approaching the bookshelf on my own.

I learned with regard to the encyclopedia that it’s best to avoid specifics.  Start with a general topic and then focus in to the details.  It is the complete opposite today with access to the internet.  Start with a general topic and end up with millions of entries to sort through.  Hone in on a detail and Google gives you a manageable list.  I can spend hours researching topic after topic as long as my connection to the internet holds out. 

My family just doesn’t get it.  They make fun of me because I hold useless bits of trivia in my mind.  Like the names of trees.  My son once asked me, “Mom, why do you care what kind of tree that is.”  My answer was, “I don’t know.  I just do.”  And, it’s true.  I not only want to know more.  I need to know more.  I love when I am engaged in a conversation with someone and they offer a fresh perspective on a topic.  It will send me on a research frenzy for days to determine if I agree or disagree on the subject.  Some people waste time with television.  I get lost in blog threads linking from page to page to page.

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