After referring a friend to an article I thought he might be interested in, he commented with the following:
Thanks for the link. How have you been? I’m graduating soon and I want to be as interesting as you are…how can I achieve this goal? ;-)
My first instinct was to respond with a Dos Equis reference, as I felt it might be most appropriate — particularly in light of the tongue-in-cheek interpretation the winking emoticon might suggest the question should be read in. Then, in a slightly more reflective mood, I thought ‘What an odd question.’ Now, in light of a few days’ ponderance as per how to best either flippantly brush off the question or honestly answer it, I sit down to write a post in an effort to give it just and appropriate attention.
First then (assuming the original question is at least not entirely tongue-in-cheek), is to assess why my purported interestingness is worthy of emulation. This, I assert, is a confluence of my decision to become Orthodox. In fact, this may well be the only aspect of me worthy of emulation. I maintain that while I may have been interesting even had I not chosen to become Orthodox, I am confident to say my interestingness would then not have been worth emulating — certainly not by good, upstanding gentlemen like that which asked me the originating question.
Now, lest this become a post on ‘why I became Orthodox’, let me summarise years of thought, intrigue and personal turmoil and simply say: I did not see Protestant nor Roman Catholic traditions sufficient to hold nor worthy of my prolonged attention, but did see in the Orthodox Church sufficient and abundant reason to stay within the Christian witness.
Next it seems best to list suggestions, in no particular order, which may help the enquirer emulate aspects of myself which I (quite arbitrarily) deem at least not uninteresting. It may also be worth noting, that I do not practice all the following with equal rigour.
1) Familiarise yourself with an ever-increasing stock of totally useless factuals. Read news, blogs, book jackets, Wikipedia, eavesdrop (have your ipod on silent, if it helps). Never anything which does not interest you, but stay safely without general necessity.
2) Make note of antiquated grammatical forms; expand your lexicon into the oblique; familiarise yourself within the range of language which may be understood, not just the sad prescriptive limits of normative speech patterns;–speak accordingly, adjust for audiences as needed.
3) Read the dictionary–esp. the ‘etymology’ sections on the OED.
4) On occasion, pick an item or class of items which you do not like. Learn to like it/them.
5) Know which categories are safe/ethical to transgress, colour outside the lines.
7) Learn new things as though they were a science, practice them as though they were an art.
8) Remember that the music is always playing, sometimes it simply cannot be heard.
9) On periodic intervals, ask for suggestions from those more skilled/knowledgeable on how and where to expand. Grow a general knowledge about anything that is moderately interesting to you, so that you are able to at least loosely follow conversations among experts.
10) Respect others and their prerogative to be wrong; accept the fact that you often exercise that prerogative yourself.
12) Attempt to be human at least once a day.
Well, my dear friend A., hopefully that helps answer your question. Best wishes as you prepare to graduate.