They call me Mr. Look-at-that

I was born to be a tour guide. Whenever we leave the house, I spend the whole trip pointing out the sights.

Sometimes, it’s informative.

“Look at that,” I’ll say. “Those black rocks originally came from that volcano way over there. Wow, what an explosion, huh?”

Sometimes, it’s sublime.

“Look at that. The way the sunlight plays on the water. Beautiful.”

Other times, it’s ridiculous.

“Look at that. Another chain-saw grizzly bear sculpture!”

And sometimes, sad to say, it’s downright mean.

“Look at the ears on that guy! If he could flap ’em, he could fly.”

It’s not as if other people can’t see these passing sights for themselves. It’s not as if they’re breathlessly waiting for me to show them the next point of interest. In fact, there’s evidence that it gets downright annoying.

“I see it,” my wife says, once she’s had enough. “We can all see it. It’s right there in front of us. We are not blind.”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t sure you were looking over there,” I’ll say. “I didn’t want you to miss that particular cloud and -- Hey! Look at THAT!”

Heavy sighs all around.

My look-at-that compulsion may stem from my decades as a journalist. Newspaper folks are professional observers, relating what others don’t have the time or inclination to go see for themselves. When I see something interesting, I feel I must report back, even if the people receiving the reports are standing right next to me.

The compulsion may go even farther back, to the classroom, where I was one of those kids who always had his hand up, eager to share the (possibly) correct answer with my fellow students. They found it annoying, too, which resulted in bathroom-related hazing and the nickname “Swirly Steve.” (OK, I made up that last part.)

I can’t help it that I’m full of trivia. My brain collects factoids the way pants pockets collect lint. Acting as tour guide gives me a chance to inflict that knowledge on others.

My family doesn’t even bother to do any research before a vacation. They know Mr. Look-at-that will study the travel guides and websites so he can make pronouncements about when a particular monument was erected, the differences between bald eagles and ospreys, or why the native rock is that color. They just go along for the ride, relaxing and taking in the scenery while secretly hoping I’ll run out of steam.

I stand ready for any visitors we get this summer. I’ve got some stuff to show them. Whether they want to look at it or not.


Hal Johnson said...

Hey Steve, do you do the "look at that" thing when you play poker? Could make a guy really popular at poker get-togethers.

poodleland said...

I may have company coming (who I don't reall want to spent time with)-do you hire out as a tour guide??