I’ve always been a curious person with a love of scientific exploration. One time, I stuck a few quarters up my nose to see if I could. Another time, I licked a bunch of doorknobs to see which illness I would get first. My friends always told me, “Curiosity killed that cat,” but I’d just roll my eyes at their superstitious beliefs and think, I may be curious, but I’m certainly not a cat.
And then one day, I finally understood.
It happened on a Sunday morning. My best friend Aubrie had to cancel our brunch plans so I slept in and decided to have a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats. I had a sudden flashback to when I was a kid and my mom would make me eat the gross, healthy cereal instead of the colorful cereal my friends got to eat. On weekends, my dad—the coolest dad ever—would secretly slip me some marshmallows or candy to make those bland wheat flakes a little bearable.
Excited to relive this memory, I looked through my pantry to see what I could mix into my Honey Bunches. Dried apricots? Nah. Bacon bits? Yuck! Ranch dressing? Maybe.
Then I saw some thumbtacks on the kitchen counter.“I wonder what those would taste like,” I thought. I took a handful of thumbtacks and tossed them into my cereal along with some milk. I was so eager to see how this experiment would unfold.
First, it tasted like metal. Then, it tasted like blood! After the blood part, I don’t remember much because I blacked out. When I woke up a few hours later, I was in the hospital. My throat hurt a lot and I couldn’t speak. Luckily, Aubrie was by my side.
The doctor came in and told me how to take care of the holes in my esophagus.
“Holes in my esophagus!” I thought, smiling from ear to ear. “Cool!”
Aubrie said, “This isn’t a joke. You could have died.” Haha! I love Aubrie.
“Why did you do this?” the doctor asked.
“She’s very curious,” Aubrie explained.
“Well, you know what they say,” the doc replied. “Curiosity killed the cat.”
In that moment, I realized that my own curiosity had, in fact, almost killed me. It’s not always cool to act blindly on every impulse. Sometimes, your research will lead you to unexpected and dangerous results. Absorbing this lesson was profound. These days, I don’t stick every battery to my tongue—I think about the size of the battery first. I also don’t step into traffic with my eyes closed, unless I’m wearing a reflective vest. And I certainly don’t put tacks in my cereal without first dulling the points.
I hope other curious minds will learn from my story. The bounds of science and exploration are unknown, and if you dare to venture forth, it should be with caution.