This is how I imagine it happened. A group of gypsy women wandered by as I, a newborn babe but already showing the promise of genius, lay in my mother's arms. (Yes, I know we were in a hospital, but trust me, in any hospital today, much stranger things happen than gypsies wandering by.)
Sprinkling some magic dust on me, the first gypsy said, "What a lovely child. He will be handsome, brilliant, charming, witty and extremely modest."
And the second gypsy said, "Now that you have blessed him, I must curse him."
"Why must you curse him when I have blessed him?" the first gypsy asked.
"Because I am Republican," the second gypsy says, throwing some more dust on me. "I curse you with ... curiosity!"
The third gypsy stepped forward, but before she could say anything, hospital security showed up and made them leave. But it was too late. I had already been cursed with curiosity.
I've always wanted to know everything. When I was younger and was misbehaving, my mother would tell me sternly, "If you don't stop, something terrible is going to happen to you." I would always ask, "What?" She would then proceed to impart the information to the business end of my body which somehow never seemed to appreciate my mind's thirst for new knowledge.
As a small child, I questioned everything. I would point up and ask, "What's that?"
"The sky," my mother would reply.
"Why is it blue?" I'd ask.
"Because God wanted it blue," she'd say.
"Oh, look, there's a puppy," my mother would say in an attempt to distract me. "See, it wants to play."
"Because it likes little boys."
"I don't know," she'd say evenly and then make my sister play with me.
My curse hung with me through school and college where it must have driven my teachers mad. If an English teacher quoted someone, I wanted to know who he or she was, when he said what he said and why was it being quoted. If a math professor shared the Pythagorean theorem with the class, I wanted -- well, actually in math, I usually wanted to know how to get out of that class as soon as possible. You would think that such curiosity would only enhance my education; explain to me why then I got such strange looks in sex education class. On second thought, don't.
My personal life also suffered from my curse. If something was wrong with a relationship I was in, I wanted to know what the problem was. I used to ask girls that I dated what they disliked about me. One girl broke me of the habit when she pulled out several sheets of paper and said that she had been taking notes on just that subject -- in shorthand.
Some short-sighted people who do not understand the workings of a curse have accused me of being "nosy." This is untrue. Like I told my girlfriend the time she caught me going through her dresser, I simply have the instincts of a born journalist.
"That's the problem!" she said as she tossed a vase, a mirror, several books and a footstool at me. "You have all the instincts!"
"Why is that a problem?" I said, ducking (a fowl thing to do, I know -- sorry, I just felt punny all of a sudden).
"Because everything you know, you tell!" She grabbed an easy chair, but I escaped out the window before she could strain her back -- something for which she did not thank me later.
Besides being ungrateful, she was also mistaken. There are many things I know that I don't tell. For instance, I know my Aunt Ingrid wears a wig and is completely bald because of a threshing machine accident when she was young, and I haven't told anyone about it.
It's hard to be cursed. If it wasn't for the first gypsy's gifts of intelligence, good looks, wit, charm and extreme modesty (I'm very proud of my modesty), I don't know how I could handle it.
And for some reason, I'm not at all curious about what you're thinking right now. Isn't that odd.
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