“Curiosity killed the cat.”
Doesn’t that kind’a cliché, sound bite, kind’a make your teeth itch? Who comes up with this stiff? Who spreads it around? It sounds cute, except for that poor little cat, but hey, do you know a dead cat is the most valuable thing in the world?
“Nobody can put a price on it.”
Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the furry feline before this is over.
Curiosity is, actually, one of the most delightful of human traits. Think of bright young minds. They ask a zillion questions. Why is the sky blue? Do fingers on both hands always add up to 10? How far away is the moon? Will it fall down someday? Do skyscrapers really scrape the sky? If they don’t, why do they call them skyscrapers? Is there really a Santa Claus? Where do babies and old people come from? Is 2 times 3 always six? Where’d you hide the cookie jar?
After a few hours of this, I can sort of understand an exasperated adult, in despair, screaming out the dead cat thing. But we mustn’t ask our kids to take it seriously. For goodness’ sakes don’t kill the desire to ask questions. I think that’s what we’re here to do: inquire. Imagine. Create.
My American Heritage Dictionary, which bumps my shoulder at my desk, defines it as: 1. A desire to know or learn. 3. An object that arouses interest, as by being novel or extraordinary. 4. A strange or odd aspect. It goes on to more esoteric definitions which are interesting, but, did you notice, I left out 2?
There’s always a dark side. 2. A desire to know about people or things that does not concern one: nosiness. A gossip.
Someone said, “Bright people talk about ideas, mediocre minds talk about things, simple minds talk about people.” I’ll buy that.
Scrolling down the page I see Curitiba. What’s Curitiba? A city in southeast Brazil southwest of Sao Paulo. It was founded in 1654 but did not grow rapidly until the late 19th and early 20th centuries when German, Italian and Slavic immigrants began to develop the surrounding area. Population 1,024,975. That’s 1992.
In 2010 it had a population of 1,760, 500. Wow. Today, it is a gorgeous city with a luxurious Sheraton Four Points Hotel. The food looks delicious. The city also has one of the world’s greatest attractions, their Botanical Garden, Jardin Botanico Fanchetta Rischbieter. I’m taking the tour, smelling the flowers, I’ll be right back…
… Oh my gosh. Glorious. Stunning architecture. That Green House …
“All right, I’m back. What were we talking about?”
“Yeah, but you should’ve seen that city! That hotel. The lobby. The bars. The restaurants. Rooms. Spas. Food…”
“See any cats?”
“I’ll go back and look.”
OK. I was born with an overactive sense of curiosity. Drove my mother nuts. It’s never left me and it’s never let me down. Cats or no cats — dead or alive — never step on your kids’ inquisitive mind.
I’m outta here. Gonna miss my flight. Curitiba here I come.
• Bettejo Dux is a Kalaheo resident and author of “The Scam: A madcap romp through North Shore Kauai.”