Why So “Curious”?

I now feel that the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” is a deplorable saying and I’ve seen it be extremely misused in and around my life.  After a little research though (let me point out that my research did go beyond Wikipedia) I discovered that the phrase originated from a 16th century play and the original phrase was actually “care killed the cat” and in the context “care” actually meant “worry/sorrow”. That made much more sense because to me curiosity is actually the one thing that makes us unique and special as human beings and it is in that curiosity (and getting rid of worry/sorrow) that allows life and love to flow through us. Whether it’s our curiosity into the way the world works, our curiosity about relationships, our curiosity about God, or our curiosity about an interest or passion. That initial curiosity is what leads to discoveries, which leads to progress, which, if one will let it, leads to maturity.

For screenwriters there is a popular book called, “Save the Cat!”  and it is quickly becoming one of the standards out there for story structure and outlining. The premise of the book is that every popular movie follows a certain sequence of events and “beats” etc and the author, Blake Snyder, actually defines “genre” in a way that hasn’t really been presented before. Instead of seeing genre as things like Sci-Fi, Horror, Drama etc, the author defines genre as the types of stories (and sequence of events that follow under those particular types of stories). One example is “Dude with a Problem” which is the classic action film story type. Another example is “Buddy Love” which a lot of buddy cop, “bromance” movies would fall under. The title “Save the Cat!” comes from the author’s criticism of modern cinema. He feels that movies these days are lacking a moment where we can immediately latch on to our protagonist by an action or interaction that makes them instantly likable. One example would be Mr. Incredible literally “saving the cat” from the tree in the beginning of “The Incredibles”. In that moment we get a sense of his true character (especially as he puts up with the nonsense of the old lady) which allows us to immediately like him and root for him as he eventually goes on this journey of maturity even though he does some despicable things along the way. I agree with the author’s sentiment, if a movie (or story) is about some character that gives me nothing to latch onto, I don’t usually like the movie (or story). Even anti-heroes like Clint Eastwood in the Spaghetti Westerns had a moment where you’d see him do something that was admirable.

The reason I’m bringing all this up is that I’m finding that it is my curiosity and the curiosity of others around me that is making this time of recovery worthwhile and new life possible. When I think about it, it’s when we think that we have all the answers that we get stunted in our progress and maturity (and not to mention, usually end up being pretty disliked by most people). I’m thankful for the curiosity of my doctors, the curiosity of my family, my friends, my wife, and especially my own curiosity…and I know, for the rest of my life that I need to stay committed to always staying curious and never thinking that I have all the answers (and choosing to not worry). Doing that will continue to…Save This CAT (me).

Here’s a little pic of me and our kitty “Girl” right when I got out of the hospital.

“Girl” reminding me to always stay curious.

Staying curious,

Alex

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