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The beauty of living is learning new stuff

When I learn something new about something or someone or someplace, or something finally registers in my brain, I think of the comedian Rich Little when he used to imitate late-night talk show host Johnny Carson.

Nicknamed “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Little would say, “I did not know that!” and look around in amazement in Johnny Carson fashion and with Johnny Carson mannerisms in response to some informational revelation of epic proportions.

Little would use one hand to cup the elbow of the opposite arm and have his other hand under his chin. Or maybe he’d dig his hands in his pants pockets and make a Johnny Carson face.

“I did not know that!”

The amazing thing to me was that Rich Little always looked like who ever he was imitating at any given time, and that certainly included when he impersonated the true king of late night.

The beauty of living is learning something new every day or whenever you learn it.

When you’re little, it’s pretty life-defining when you finally figure out how to tie your shoe laces because someone showed you a trick or a shortcut or a better way.

It doesn’t make sense until you finally manage it once or twice and then it all comes together. You’re good. You got it.

And everybody seems to do that lace tying a little differently, especially if you’re a southpaw like me.

Everything’s harder to learn when you’re left-handed, including printing and learning to write in cursive. Or in my case, writing legibly.

Sometimes learning something new is just appreciating a piece of trivia or fun fact you come across.

Did you know the Hercules beetle is the world’s weirdest insect?

I did not know that.

What I do know is that the Hercules beetle makes a fly or two seem like not such bad visitors in your house after all. You don’t want to step barefooted on a Hercules beetle, which is a species of a rhinoceros beetle native to the rainforests. It’s a pretty scary-looking bug.

Sometimes I’ve learned useful things that have stuck with me and come in handy. I always had trouble with Francis and Frances, for example — not as people, mind you, but which goes with what gender so I could spell them correctly.

Someone offered this suggestion: Associate Frances with her, since they both have an “e,” and connect Francis with him, since they both have an ‘i.”

Now I know that trick.

I’m always amazed when I come to finally discover that two people I know independently are related or they grew up in the same neighborhood or they have some connection that makes me have to confess “I did not know that.”

Sometimes I have to say that to myself in situations that are a bit embarrassing.

This includes recently when I went to one of those drive-throughs to get the oil changed in the car. I was supposed to push the button to pop the hood, only nothing was happening, and I realized I didn’t know where it was.

Nothing was happening because I was pushing the wrong button. Duhh.

Regrettably, I did not know that … until the attendant politely pointed out the hatch was indeed open but not the hood.

Oops.

Sometimes I come home from work and discover there’s no dinner on the table.

Better Half reminds me that it was my turn to cook.

I did not know that.

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