No Special Talents


“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

He was being humble. In my case, this actually applies.

Curiosity is what keeps people from being boring. We ask questions because we genuinely want to understand why others are different and if it’s something we should try. Often, the people we ask think we are trying to change them. That’s usually not the case. It’s just curiosity.

“Why are you so fucking weird, and is it fun? In fact, is it possible that you are normal, and I am weird?”

Few people actually use those words. Good thing. There are nicer ways to make the query sound less like nosy interrogation and more like genuine curiosity. Perhaps examples will help.

  • “The eighties called; they want their [shirt/jeans/shoes/hairstyle] back.” – BAD
  • “That’s an interesting shirt. Where did you buy it?” – GOOD
  • “Your boyfriend must have an enormous either trust fund or penis.” – BAD
  • “Your boyfriend seems nice. How did you meet, and what does he do for a living?” – GOOD
  • “Your girlfriend is hot. Fuck this up, and I’ll be taking her to pound town.” – BAD
  • “What a delightful person she is. Do you think she’s the one?”
  • “Thank you for that Facebook update. I couldn’t wait to hear about your breakfast.” – BAD
  • “How do you find time to post on Facebook all day?” – GOOD
  • “Does that line ever work? How often has it gotten you laid?” – BAD
  • “Come on, you can do better than that. Try again. Give me something original. Go.” – GOOD
  • “What the fuck is that on the back of your jeans? Did you sit on a branding iron and broken glass?” – BAD
  • “Have you ever tried Joe’s jeans?” – GOOD
  • “The beanie, hoodie, and mandals pretty much guarantee you will never see a vagina … or, was that your intention?” – BAD
  • “What do you think about this crazy weather?” – GOOD

Here’s a fun thing to try: Next time you’re out around a crowd of people, look up and stare at nothing in particular. Wait a few seconds and see who else around you is looking up with wrinkled noses, trying to figure out what you find so interesting. If nobody is reacting (you’re around a bunch of self-centered douches), you can hasten the process by pointing. The person who first approaches you and asks what you see, is a passionately curious person, with whom it would likely be worth sharing a frosty beverage. Depending on your level of attraction toward this person, select from the following answers:

  1. Oh, nothing.
  2. I think I see a meteor approaching. Duck!
  3. I have a sore neck. Wanna rub it?
  4. I wanted to see if anyone cared. You win. The prize is you get to buy me a beer.
  5. The cloud you must have fallen from, my sweet angel.

I guess we fall into one of two categories: the show or the audience. I’m content to be in the audience and have no particular desire to climb on stage. How about you? Do you see someone doing something odd and grow tempted to show them how it should be done? Or, do you sit back and absorb? Perhaps we should consider being a sponge a special talent. It takes bravery and extroversion to ask how or why something is done. There’s no harm in asking … nicely.

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About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.