Me and Thomas Paine-Who Knew We Were So Close?

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About 10 years ago, I finally understood the love of learning. Unfortunately, this wasn’t at the start of my college career, but rather, near the end. If I’d had that passion for education in the beginning, I’d be lots smarter now-and it’d have been easier on me, too.

Instead of spending years procrastinating and trying to duck and run from academics, I could have just embraced learning for the knowledge and power it gives. Alas, it’s certainly not the only thing from my past I’d change!

Well, better late than never! This is why (like now), when I’m writing, when I’m working, when I’m relaxing-almost always, there’s some talk radio, news programming or human interest media playing in the background. Why? Because there’s always something more I can learn. Heck, just glancing up right now to pay attention to the tube will give me plenty of info on the Democratic candidate for President.

Whether it’s current events, history, economic markets, literature or human relationships, I just love to learn. That’s all there is to it.

One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Todd Snyder, has a tune that starts like this:

“They say 3% of people use 5 too 6% of their brain. 97% use just 3% and the rest goes down the drain. I’ll never know just which I am but I’ll bet you my last dime, 97% think we’re 3% 100% of the time!”

And, strangely enough, Snyder’s numbers are right in line with most studies. The occasional Einstein-ish genius may be in that 5% range, but, man, I wanna be there, too! I never will be, but I’ll die trying!

In my endless quest for nerdity and self-induced geekiness, today I started reading the classic Thomas Paine work, “The Age of Reason.” Now, don’t think me too nerdly because just this morning, I completed “Slash” by Slash, the former Guns N Roses lead guitarist (hey, we’ve all gotta have our vices, right?)

Anyway, who knew, but Thomas Paine and I are on the same wavelength! Or, we would be if he weren’t 200 years dead. The book begins with a bunch of biographical info about Paine. And, if you read up on some not-so-famous aspects of Paine’s life in things like Paul Harvey’s “The Rest Of The Story”, you’ll learn all sorts of new things about the patriotic statesman. Stuff like, oh, his wife was insane and he kept her chained in the cellar. But, I digress…

Back to biographical info. Paine was a self educated man who, in a single sentence, sums up my views on learning and education:

“I seldom passed five minutes of my life, however circumstanced, in which I did not acquire some knowledge”
-Thomas Paine

I can’t quite claim to live up to Paine’s high standards, but I can darned sure try from now on!

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