Awhile back, at some friends’ holiday party, I had the chance to see (but not meet) a guy who caught my eye. I put it aside for a while, then did what any ex-journalist would do in such a situation: research.
Nothing like the Full-On FOIA style of digging that comes instinctively to reporters (“Let’s start with a public records search and see where that leads us”). Just asking a few reliable sources for their input — background material, if you will, and maybe some local color. And rather than make it seem too much like an interrogation, I phrased it more along the lines of: “Hey, tell me five things about your friend.”
The way they responded was entertaining as well as informative — not only about him but them as well. One shot off five short answers …
1. [Occupation] 2. Funny 3. Clean freak 4. Considerate 5. Smartass”
while the other, after a precursive “Insufficient Data: Require Context for Processing” — savvy, that one! — tended toward longer but more incisive blurbs …
“Resilient, both physically (can take a headbutt) and emotionally (can be practical in the face of emotional turmoil), but goes from zero to Diva when he reaches his limit.”
I told them that reading the blurbs was so entertaining — how did his ability to take a headbutt become a known entity? — that I wanted to start asking them to “do the same thing for other people, selected at whim. ([Other mutual friend!] Mariah Carey! Aristotle!)”*
And then I thought: “Do I even know five things about Aristotle?” After ruminating for a bit, I decided to give it a test. Here goes:
- Very wise Greek philosopher — big on logic and ethics.
- Student of Plato. Or possibly vice versa.
- Also: Not Socrates, so he’s not The One Who Took Poison or The Guy Who Came Up With That Method of Making People Defend Their Positions.
- Also: Not Sophocles. (He wrote plays.)
- And … that about does it. Aristotle Onassis was probably named after him. There, that’s five.
Imagine how smart I felt after pouring out such a wealth of exhaustive knowledge! I’m trying to decide how best to remedy such ignorance; it never hurts to know a little more about things.
Then again, I’ve stumbled through life this far and my inability to discuss Aristotelian treatises and dialogues hasn’t hindered me yet, that I’m aware of. Plus, even browsing his page on Wikipedia made my head hurt, so apparently I should start with some sort of Aristotle for Dummies. Maybe one of those Don’t Know Much About books has something. That seems like the appropriate amount to make me seem smarter than I actually am.
But in the meanwhile, I can’t wait to do my “5 things” about Mariah Carey.
*Also, I decided that although it sounded fun in principle, I probably wouldn’t like to hear what five things other people would say about me, unless I had given them advance warning the questions were coming, and possibly cash gifts.
|WHAT SAM WORE: 12-13-11|
|The sweater: Navy/gray argyle cotton V-neck, from Old Navy.|
|The shirt: Long-sleeved waffle-weave hoodie, from Old Navy.|
|The pants: Boot-fit trousers from Banana Republic. (Selection inspired by above admission of pants laziness.)|
|The shoes: Loafers by Rush Gordon Rush, from Nordstrom.|