Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elusive Quest for Answers

Not knowing things vexes me. Not that I expect to know everything, because quite frankly who'd want to? Some things are much, much better off left unknown, like what that fuzzy, brightly colored piece of something or other that got dropped behind your desk would actually taste like if you put it in your mouth. Or certain smells. (Ah, you never thought of that, you say? You figured knowing everything would just include lottery numbers and when to wash your car so it doesn't rain the next day? Clearly you haven't read enough stories about djinn and what happens when you get your wish.)

Sometimes, though, something crops up and it seems like I should know it. Or at least marginally recognize it. And if I can't do that, then I ought to be able to look it up. Only it doesn't always work that way. You'd think, in this day and age, with all the resources available just from sitting at a computer, that you could find the answer to almost anything. Yet you can't. Some things are just too obscure, or their origins too murky, for you to be able to track them down.

Case in point was a quotation someone used the other day. They didn't attribute it to anyone, but it looked familiar enough to me that I recognized it as a quote. From someone, who said it somewhere. That was the best I could come up with on my own. So, I did what any self-respecting person does in this day and age: I Googled it. (I could've consulted the Wiki gods, but I have discovered they are less useful for things of this nature. You have to be somewhat specific in your supplication to the Wiki gods, or they tend to ignore you.) Only that didn't help.

Turns out either it's one of those things that only sounds like a quote, or it's been used so often by so many it's impossible to trace it back. There were similar quotes on the subject, including one by Mark Twain who had turned up as a possible source for the original quote I was looking for. It was close enough in fact that I began to expect perhaps the one I was searching for was a bastardization of the original Twain quote, only it wasn't quite that close.

Regardless, I never did come up with an answer, and it's been relegated to the back of my brain. Though it will continue to vex me.

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