If you’re really good at something and you know it,

pat yourself on the back. But not so often that your arms become unnaturally long. And not in response to someone commenting on their own similar ability. I hate that. And if I am guilty of that with this post then you have my permission, indeed are encouraged, to smack me down.

I am really good at research. Always have been. Going back, back, back into the dark ages of the world of brick and mortar libraries only. Oh yes, we had encyclopedias and dictionaries at home but libraries had more plus, microfiche. 

Whatever I don’t know interests me. My shrink said I was the most curious person he had ever met and by curious he didn’t mean odd, tho I am that too. He suggested I become a private detective or a journalist. I’m not sure how those two equate, I don’t think the term ‘investigative journalist’ existed back then. 

I would, and did, spend hours in the library racing down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. Just as I now spend hours at my computer, not just chasing answers but getting sidetracked and bushwhacked by new information that leads me out of one rabbit hole into another.   I didn’t really understand that people didn’t know that libraries had the answers to all their questions. 

Por ejemplo – 

Guy I was living with was a history buff. He knew enough about the library to obtain books on the subject, primarily modern history, 20th century, WWII – along those lines. He became interested in Thomas Brackett Reed, an American politician. He remarked that Reed’s most important speeches had only been printed in the Congressional Record and he really wanted to read them. I said “So, go to the library and read them” His response was along the lines that he wasn’t prepared to go to Washington, DC. I responded in, I suppose,  an exasperated tone of voice – “The library down the block has every issue of the Congressional Record on file, either on microfiche or bound.” The man was shocked and surprised while I couldn’t believe than an intelligent, well read, middle-aged man didn’t know how to use a library.  Further adventures ensued from his discovery. 

As much as I love a library, Google has been a dear good friend. 

I have so many bits and pieces of poetry in my head that I can’t always connect a remembered line with the entire poem. I spent years (YEARS) trying to track down a poem based on one line, a mis-remembered line as it turns out. I scoured every library source, I had the idea that it was from one of the war poets.  Turns out I was wrong about that too. The Wonderful, All-Knowing Google finally put me out of my misery – the poem was by William Blake. He was never on my radar as the poet – never. 

Recently the same problem presented itself. It wasn’t even a line that I remembered, just the sense of the poem and good old Google came through and saved me years of frustration – I searched ‘poem+throw’ and Bingo! there was the poem. To save my sanity, I copied the poem and have it saved in my documents. 

Should anyone be interested, the William Blake poem is “London” and the other, more easily recovered poem, is by Gregory Corso, “The Whole Mess”, and it’s a corker. 

So, here I am patting myself on the back because I am a whiz-bang researcher. I have patience for nothing, except, research. Curiouser and curiouser, I am. And I will stop at nothing to satisfy that curiosity.

And now for something completely different – today’s haiku

Wind gently whooshes
Softly through open windows.
Ah, nature's sweet breath. 

14 thoughts on “If you’re really good at something and you know it,

  1. Nothing wrong or negative about knowing and saying that you’re really good at something! It’s important for all of us to know are strengths and what we’re good at. I admire someone who knows it, and can say it.

    “I am really good at research.”

    That’s AWESOME!

    And I also think it’s awesome that you’re curious because I believe curiosity keeps people involved in life; always learning. I’m the same way. I love to learn. I have a job now that is completely different from what I’ve done in the past. And I took it because I knew I’d be learning something new.

    “microfiche.”

    OMG…yes! I when I first moved to NYC, I worked at the library at Pace University in the microfilm department. It’s funny because if you mention microfilm to the younger generation, they don’t know what you’re talking about.

    And I agree, as much as I love the experience of a real library, Google is so convenient and fast. I use it so much.

    So, congrats on being “a whiz-bang researcher.”

    I applaud you!

    P. S. enjoyed the haiku

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose it’s ok to say you are good at something in a job interview (not that anyone believes you in that situation LOL) but I am averse to folks who are always patting themselves on the back. I’ve been lucky in that so many jobs I’ve had (and I’ve had A LOT) I always got to learn something new – whether it was a new industry or a new skill, being curious and not averse to change has some very positive aspects (and we will leave the negative ones for another day.) As for the haiku – I’ve never attempted them before and I have to be careful to not get obsessed by the format (because we all know how I am with something new…)

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  2. This is a fun look back in time. I always enjoyed researching in the library back when it was all about books and journals and periodicals and microfiche. But for me the research process morphed into computer searches and reading abstracts of articles, available for a price. Had to do with earning a college degree I suppose. Today I’ll research using Google or Bing, following my curiosity down a rabbit hole, but I only go as far as I want to go. When I’m tired of the topic, I move on.

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    1. I cannot even imagine what I would have been like if there was the internet when I was in college, oh dear, oh dear! I always wanted a subscription to Lexus Nexus and I hate that I have to pay to access information tho I could get access for free at the library! I also hate that without a car I can’t get to a library where I live now. So it’s been ebooks for me for a long time and no library research. Plus – old fogey speaking here – I have such fond memories of the library when I was a child – big fancy building – high ceilings, sweeping marble staircases, heavy drapes on window seats where a child could hide in a nook and a book. Now libraries are all glass and shiny and modern, which I like in my home but not in a library.

      One search always leads to another – yesterday I happened to see a trailer for the re-make of West Side Story (why???) which lead me to looking for the original Broadway cast which lead me to bios of some of those cast members which lead me to…And there I went!

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  3. Ah, microfiche, and, of course, paper card catalogues. The university where I did my undergrad had about 10 different subject libraries. I used the biomedical library the most, and it was the ugliest and least comfortable. I was never a fan of academic journal databases, and then Google Scholar came along, and I fell in love.

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    1. No Ashley, you did not just do that to me!! Google Scholar? I was unaware, and now I am and now I shall lose a good part of my day exploring that – Oh Ashley, I thought you were my friend…

      (I had a temp job once typing up/correcting/updating those card catalogue cards…)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well now, off Googling I went as I was unfamiliar with that Blake poem. Indeed as I was unfamiliar with the hymn ‘Jerusalem’ but the more I read the poem I could start to hear the hymn in my head (I watch a lot of British tv shows) – Seems the hymn was taken from the opening verses of Blake’s poem ‘Milton’
      “The preface to Blake’s Milton includes a lyric poem beginning ‘And did those feet in ancient time’ (p. 1). This was set to music by Charles Hubert Parry in 1916, and became known as ‘Jerusalem’ – now one of the best-loved English hymns. Blake seems to have been inspired by the legend that the young Jesus visited England with his great-uncle Joseph of Arimathea. Blake asks if we can imagine building a new ‘Jerusalem’ – a kind of second Heaven – in England’s industrial landscape of ‘dark Satanic Mills’. More about it HERE

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    1. There are some things better left for other people to say about you. I get all twitchy when people tell you how wonderful they are – like all the time. Or that whatever you did they did better – people who try to make themselves bigger by trying to make other people smaller. There’s a maxim about writing – show don’t tell – I think that applies to life as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see your point, but we live in a world we people are very quick to damn others for the slightest ‘whichever’, so l think at times we must do what we can to preserve our sanity, confidence and self esteem. if we left some things to others we may never hear anything nice about ourselves.

        For years and years l was put down by my parents, and for years and years l believed they were right – they weren’t, l had to start believing in myself and reboosting my confidence.

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