Curiosity and a Cat Named Adrian

Posted by on August 19, 2000

From One Curious Person to Another, This is the Monday Morning Memo.

“Curiosity killed the cat,” is an expression often quoted by the terminally dull, but I’ve never been able to make any sense of the statement. To which cat does this old adage refer? I’m aware of no story, myth, fable or fairy tale in which a cat dies of curiosity.

But I do know a story about a contemporary Englishman named Adrian.

Adrian Nicholas was curious about a small sketch drawn by Leonardo DaVinci in the margin of a notebook nearly 500 years ago. Beneath this obscure and unremarkable sketch, DaVinci had added these few words, “If a man is provided with a length of gummed linen cloth with a length of 12 yards on each side and 12 yards high, he can jump from any great height whatsoever without injury.” Modern experts have long been united in their agreement that Leonardo DaVinci was wrong. Very wrong.

Adrian Nicholas, however, wasn’t so sure. Using only the tools and materials that would have been available to Leonardo in 1514, Adrian Nicholas built DaVinci’s 187-pound, pyramid-shaped, canvas and wood contraption and on June 27, 2000, took it with him in a hot-air balloon to an altitude of 10,000 feet and then cheerfully jumped out with it.

You gotta love a guy like that. Even though it’s been 10 weeks since Adrian jumped, I figure DaVinci is still struttin’ around the streets of heaven, high-fiving all his buddies and saying, “That’s right. Uh-huh. I’m bad. I’m bad. You know I’m bad,” because from the majestic skies above Mpumalanga, South Africa, Adrian Nicholas lazily floated to perfect safety beneath DaVinci’s canvas pyramid, saying the ride was “smoother than with modern parachutes.” Heathcliff O’Malley, who photographed Adrian’s drop from a helicopter, said, “It was amazing, really beautiful. But none of us knew if it would fold up and Adrian would plummet to Earth… It works, and everyone thought it wouldn’t.”

Like Leonardo DaVinci, Adrian Nicholas is a curious person. As were Queen Isabella of Spain, Claude Monet of France and Benjamin Franklin of the Red, White and Blue. Are you a curious person?

One of the many benefits of curiosity is that curious people are seldom bored.

Conversely, boring people are seldom curious.

Which are you?

Roy H Williams

# # #

PS Good News! is now online. Got time to take a look?

Among other things, you’ll find the long-awaited, downloadable Brain Map that I’ve been promising many of you for more than a year. You’ll also see a description of the courses taught at Wizard Academy and the names and email addresses of all our graduates. RHW

Leave a Reply