When Curiosity Does NOT Pay

[The story takes place in Baghdad, Iraq, circa 389 A.D.]

“2,387,447,” Yasin counted. “2,387,448,” he continued.

“Yasin,” his friend, Anshu, walked up on Yasin in the field and interrupted. “What are you doing?”

“Sssh,” Yasin chastened without looking up. “2,387,449. And 2,387,450.” Yasin said as he scratched a number into the ground with a stick. “Now what is it, Anshu?”

“What are you doing to that camel?” Anshu asked.

“Anshu,” Yasin responded with feigned patience. “Have you not heard the saying, ‘The straw that broke the camel’s back?'” Yasin answered as if that explained it all.

“Of course,” Anshu said, not sure if he had heard that saying before or not. “So?’

“Well,” Yasin replied, “I am answering definitively the question of how many straws it takes to break the back of a camel.” Yasin spread his hands wide as if he had made things so clear that even his young friend, Anshu, could understand.

Anshu nodded his head, grasping what his friend intended.

“May I ask you something, Yasin?” Anshu requested. “How many times have you survived being thrown into a den of lions?”

Yasin screwed up his face to suggest that the question his friend asked was ludicrous.

“Never,” Yasin shook his head. “Why would I even attempt such a thing?”

“Because,” Anshu responded, “Your father said that he would throw you in the den of lions if you harmed one more of his camel with any of your foolishness.”

In general, curiosity is a sign of intelligence. Curious people want answers about things that “normal” people wouldn’t think to question.

Feel free to exhibit healthy curiosity. What’s considered healthy? If you can say that “NO CAMEL–OR OTHER LIFE FORM–COULD BE HARMED IF I ACTED UPON THE CURIOUS THOUGHT THAT JUST POPPED INTO MY HEAD”, you are golden. But if there’s even a remote possibility of someone getting hurt, that’s when you want to back away.

Now stop putting bags of cotton balls on the back of your cat, and get back to work. And stop feeling sorry for yourself because it’s another work week. Monday’s are NOT the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

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