My wife had mentioned that her sister had made a stuffed artichoke for her and her husband to have for dinner that night. And because my wife knows me well and knows that I have never actually had a stuffed artichoke, she proceeded to explain the process of eating one; apparently, you take off a leaf, put it in your mouth, and scrape the bread crumbs off with your teeth.
(Later on in the week, a lively debate ensued as to the prpoer way to do this scraping business: my wife and her family always had the bread crumbs facing up and scraped them off with their top teeth, while my brother-in-law insists that you should actually have the bread crumbs facing down, and scrape with your bottom teeth. An unsolved mystery of the universe, I suppose. But I digress.)
Back to Christmas Eve. As my wife is explaining all this to me, I realize something: not only have I never consumed a stuffed artichoke, I don't think I even know what an artichoke looks like. If an artichoke every mugged me, I'd be hard-pressed to pick it out of a vegetable line-up.
And that's a fault, I decided. Not because I'm going to start eating artichokes, but because it seems that knowing what an artichoke looks like is something I should know-- if only because everyone else seems to know it.
And thus came the revelation: 2010 is going to be my year for learning things I should have known years ago. The simple things. Everyday things. Artichoke kinds of things.
First, some answers to some frequently-asked-questions about TISK (Things I Should've Know):
Not philosophical at all. I'm talking factual information, not unanswerable questions like "Why did I have a girlfriend at home for my first semester of college?"
Does this have anything to do with you turning 40 later this year? This whole thing smacks of "bucket-list"...
It's not a bucket list. I'm not talking about things I want to do, just things I want to know. So don't bother cuing up your Tim McGraw.
Why write about this stuff? Why not just learn about it?
Partly to chart my journey, partly to resuscitate this blog, and partly to help me commit this stuff to memory. Personally, I've always found that the best ways to remember something are to write about it or to teach it to someone else.
If this is stuff hat everyone else supposedly knows, won't it be a little mortifying for you to advertise your ignorance on the Web like this?
Maybe, but it's the price I'm willing to pay for enlightenment.
Um, if it's just factual information posted here, couldn't someone just go to, say, Wikipedia instead?
Absolutely... except in those rare cases where the information is too basic and commonplace for even Wikipedia's standards.
In any case, above you will find a picture of an artichoke. (Turns out I did know what one looks like. Whaddaya know!)
Cross one off the list.