Paperwork: Life sure can be a curious thing, and that is wonderful

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

Well ... good for the cat. Not that it got burned, but that it was curious.

I salute curiosity, despite what your great-grandma used to say. She just wanted you to be careful where you stuck your nose.

Maybe it’s the reporter in me to have lots of questions. But it should be more than a job.

Curiosity might seem like a passing fancy. Kids have lots of questions but then get smarter, I guess. Or maybe just quieter, more introspective.

That is curiosity on a higher level. Pondering life’s questions: “Who am I and where am I going?”

I’m urging more simple curiosity. What better way to smack your daily routine off the track than to unleash your curiosity.

We don’t do that enough. I don’t do it enough.

For years I’ve driven by what looks like a lodge built from logs. It’s not a residence, but I see no sign of it being used. I tell myself to just pull in and ask. I’ve asked others. They don’t know and wonder also.

But ... this is an itch I never scratch. Shame on me. Because what do you think would be more exciting? Pulling in to see what or who I can find or finally knowing the details.

I’m thinking the chase is the rush. The drumbeat building to the end. Often the question is more interesting than the answer. Sadness moves in when the quest is over.

Oh my, I’m sounding a bit melodramatic for someone applauding the importance of being nosy.

But this is about more than wondering why so many cars are parked at the neighbor’s house. (Usually not hard to figure that out, right?)

I’m just suggesting we need to live a more curious life. When curiosity does not kill the cat, it probably makes the furry fellow smarter.

I still imagine myself lecturing students studying journalism. Yes, asking questions is part of the job. But curiosity also must be a passion. An itch that must be scratched.

I picture myself coming to class carrying a plain box. Larger than a shoe box with no markings. I place it by me, in plain sight, as if it has a purpose. I never mention the box.

I wait to see who will be the first to ask why I bring the box to every class.

To prove a point: Raise your hand if you were curious. If you were not, ask yourself why. If you were, then why not ask? (The person who did ask gets the gift card inside to a local fast food joint.)

The formula is simple enough: Those who ask, find out. Those who don’t, don’t.

It takes courage to ask questions sometimes – another reason we need to do it more often.

I am pushing you to be curious but also nudging myself to pull in next time and explore that log lodge.

One reason I never do is because I am speeding by between points A and B and don’t want to take the time to make that turn. Ahhh, there’s a point to ponder. That’s what life is – a trip between points A and B.

I’m betting the more turns you make, the more you discover. The more you live.

Lonny Cain, retired managing editor of The Times in Ottawa, also was a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet in the 1970s. Email or mail The Times, 110 W. Jefferson St., Ottawa, IL 61350.