Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shouting Out Words

    Reading is fundamental.  Often, after the fundamental part wears off, it's hard to keep at it.  I like the idea of reading.  In fact, I like most bits about reading, except for when I'm actually reading and I drift off to sleep after only reading 4 pages.  Then I start feeling bad about myself.  I want to be a reader.  I want to read everything I can get my hands on and actually remember it all.  I want to know things.  And sure, I know some things, but there are just so many things out there to know; I want to know more of them.
     A typical way to get an improv show started is to ask someone to shout out a word.  From that word, themes are cultivated and scenes unfold.  I was at a show the other night and the word that was shouted out was irrigation.  Ah, what a great word.  Irrigation.
     Irrigation is one of those things we learn about when we're in school at some point--5th grade maybe.  But then we don't irrigate much, save for a wound or two, and we tend to forget the specifics of it.  We know it's how farmers water crops.  We can picture sprinkler heads and long lengths of pipe.  Irrigating up a hill is probably a thing.  It's probably difficult, but the irrigation engineers figured out how to overcome it.  Other than that we don't think much about it, so we tuck it away in our brains.
     Of the 8 people on the improv team, I would guess about 5 of them were irrigation experts.  How the hell did they remember all of that about irrigation?  A reservoir?  Catching overflow?  What the hell?  There is a chance they were completely bullshitting, but I actually don't think so.  Not everyone on the team offered new irrigation information and the information seemed specific enough to be completely accurate.  It was unreal.  It made me want to read a book about irrigation so I wouldn't be caught off guard for when it comes up again.
     I don't really want to read a book about irrigation.  I can't imagine how long it would take me to get through since I'd be reading it a page at a time between 8 hour naps.  This is because I think a book about irrigation would be very very boring.  However, I would like for all the information I do read to stick in my head.  That way if I'm ever in an improv show and someone shouts out "ornithology," I'll have a think or two to say about puffins and ostriches and the study thereof.    

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