Prompt 2: Tell us about a subject that you couldn't stop exploring, a book you couldn't put down, or a Wikipedia rabbit hole you dove into. Why did it fascinate you?
I have always had an interest in the lonesome facts that never found a home on the glossy pages of a school textbook. As the self-proclaimed "Queen of Neglected Facts," atlases, DK Eyewitness books, and my dad's foreign periodicals are my royal court.
In elementary school, Saturday mornings were spent scrutinizing the fantastically graphic pictures of the digestive tract that were strewn across the pages of my human body diagram books. The mundaneness of my morning commute to first grade was eased by the excitement of medieval cavalry formations. As I matured into a fourth grader, the annual Guinness Book of World Records became a favorite site to mine for nuggets of information. I would dig past the layers of records that captivated my classmates and unearth the true gems, such as the world's coldest capital (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) or the highest award for animal gallantry (the Dickin Medal). My posse of information was not the kind that was popular at the lunch table, but rather quieter facts that I found to be quaint company.
Come middle school, I became acquainted with the inviting charm of a blank journal. Initially, I preserved the purity of the blank pages, but then I realized the lines offered a station into which I could deploy my troop of facts for safekeeping. Each night I would corral the homeless facts that I had collected throughout the day and plant them on the pages of my journal.
Once in high school, other activities started to veer into what was previously my fact hunting time, so I had to be more directed with my search and rescue missions. Listening to NPR's Morning Edition on the way to school, bargaining with my family to watch documentaries during our Sunday movie nights, and thumbing the pages of the CIA World Factbook every night as I turned in has allowed me to keep adding to my fleet of facts.
I can't fully explain why misfit facts are so fascinating to me, why I gather them up and care for them so tenderly. I suppose part of it that I just like to know things and I do love a beautiful journal full of orderly entries. But I suspect why I will never forsake my crown is that my quirky facts have given me a fairly shy, introverted person a way to converse with anyone. I've learned that I can initiate a conversation with a total stranger by referencing some fact related to the circumstances of our meeting. And I can banter with mere acquaintances thanks to the verbal volleying power of oddball facts. Even with the closest friends, I've discovered that our conversations last longer and go deeper with I enliven our conversation with a recently discovered fact.
So although I'm not exactly sure what the future holds, I imagine that I will continue gathering the misfit facts into journals. And, of course, should I be admitted to Pomona, I will dedicate myself to unearthing forty-seven (47) neglected facts about the college. (I’m sure you get the reference.)