In general, curiosity seems to be a good thing. It demonstrates an interest in the world, in new things, generates ideas for stories, and keeps the mind sharp. It can also be an excuse for avoiding what you should be doing by looking up something on the Internet. On the other hand, some of the most absurd searches sometimes lead to the best ideas while the most promising searches sometimes lead no where.
One never knows whether to fish or cut bait when it comes to deciding: “Am I goofing off or am I doing something that will turn me into an author who outsells James Patterson?” Perhaps a book called The Four-in-Hand Murders.
Speaking of Patterson, I was re-reading Criss Cross when the detectives went to a tie store while trying to identify a tie found at the scene of a crime. Now I wear flannel shirts in the winter and Tee shirts in the summer, and haven’t tied a tie in ten years. So, a tie store? You’ve got to be kidding.
I can’t imagine paying $500 for a tie or being so addicted to my tie collection that I know eighty-five ways to tie a tie. A character told detective Cross that he usually used a Pratt knot. Since I’d never heard of that, I went on an Internet search and found a site that told me how to tie a tie in ways most people have never heard of–including a Pratt knot.
My eyes glazed over as I looked at the knot-tying diagrams. They reminded me of either SAT or GRE tests where you’re presented with an unfolded cardboard something-or-other and have to pick what it turned into when folded back up. I never could figure those out. So I can safely say that if I ever tie a tie again it will be with a half Windsor knot because I grew up with that and that I will never use a Pratt or an Oriental or a Hanover.
So, was this online time worth it? Hmm, probably not. I really don’t care about ties, but the idea that there were prestigious ways of tying them caught my attention. Some day, somewhere, a character in one of my stories use a Pratt knot and wish he hadn’t.
Or, perhaps I’ll be in a bar and some drunk willshout, “I’ll give a hundred dollars to anyone who can tie a Pratt knot.” Well, there it is: curiostity paying off.