Plain Nosey
Off The Wall, January 07, 2011

I think part of our human nature contain nosiness. Oh, there are going to be people who will tell you they just don’t have it, but really, I think they are just fooling themselves. If men and women didn’t have it, neither of them would have been married. Each had that inner drive to seek out what made the other tick. It was through curiosity that drove each to the other that eventually resulted in the two of them tying the knot.

I know I am a curious soul. I have two scanners to make sure I am on top of everything that in happening wherever I go throughout Allegheny, Westmoreland and Indiana County. I can only attribute that to the many years of being both a police and newspaper photographer. I learned way back that if I heard the faint sound of a whistle, on went the device and I was all ears, so to speak. But even if a whistle didn’t go off, years ago, I had the scanner on so I could be ready to respond when called to do so.

Animals have that inborn curiosity built into their nature. Even though I have never heard one call their nosiness animal nature, each species has inborn curiosity that leads to fulfillment of needs or death, as the case may be.

Take the expression, “Curiosity killed the cat.” On the surface, that is an excellent example. However, this phrase, which began in the late 1500’s, really may be interpreted as “mind your own business.”

But the funny thing about this animal is that someone coined another statement about this animal that could tie into this saying – “A cat has nine lives.” If curiosity killed the cat and it has nine lives after its first demise, then it has eight more chances to make good. However, the story points to the fact that it must falter through all those years before it finally succumbs.

I am once again reminded of a few stories long time friend John Stewart gave me before Christmas, which I shared with readers of my “Inside the Outdoors” column. I thought I’d highlight these stories in this column as well.

“I talked to one hunter,” John said, “who told me about his experience. It was a rainy day. He decided to wear a rubber rain suit. Apparently, it kept his scent in because a doe walked right up to him and stood there observing him. He stayed absolutely still to see what she would do. She sniffed, noisily, and went through her whole routine to try to get him to move. Soon she advanced closer. When the deer got to the hunter, she nudged his stomach a couple of times with her nose.”

Now, that proves my point right here. Animals definitely have the instinct of animal nature with built in curiosity to seek out when called to do so. What happened next?

“Finally, the hunter jumped and shouted. She spun around, charging headfirst into a tree, got up and walked away somewhat unsteadily!”

The last two stories concern John’s experiences.

“When I was hunting near Emporium, I was eating a bologna sandwich while sitting on a stump. A doe came up behind me, stuck her head over my shoulder and sniffed the sandwich. She departed abruptly when I told her that she couldn’t have a bite! I guess she was greatly offended by my lack of charity!”

I had to chuckle when I read his second episode. “I was in the Deer Control Tower most all day, yesterday (Monday, first day deer rifle season). When I got home, Debbie wanted a report. I told her that I’d seen six deer, four does, one legal buck and one unknown. She wanted to know why I hadn’t shot the legal buck. I told her that I was afraid that the fellow dragging it might get upset with me. She thought that was a good reason.”

John could have come home, put his weapon and clothes away, and then sat down to read the paper and never heard from his next store neighbor for quite some time. But, Debbie’s curiosity was there. I don’t think anyone of us wouldn’t have been in her shoes in asking what she did. It’s definitely part of our nature.

Both the two-legged and four-legged animals have something very much in common – curiosity. Given to us by God, our creator, we hear and feel His call. It is something we share, though many may not give it any thought. For Christians, it’s the Holy Spirit who drives up to do the will of the Father. As for animals, I believe they are led through their own special gift - instinct. It’s just that simple.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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