It’s been two years since Andrew passed away on Easter Sunday 2014. I felt really sad. He had touched my life so deeply, with his humour and his honesty in all his messages to me in the last few years of his life.
I’ve always felt ignorant, and that everyone else seemed to be so much more knowledgeable about the world and its workings than I was. During my MBA, I subscribed to The Economist, and forced myself to read every single article in the hopes that some worldliness about the affairs of international countries would seep into my brain and somehow made me, more. It never seemed to work.
I had just finished reading AJ Jacob‘s The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World and I felt a deep urge to do just what he did. Attempt to expand my horizon by reading the Encyclopedia. Why the book form, and not the online version? Well, I love the tactile feel of paper, and the smell of ink and the whole experience of holding something in your hands while you absorb its content.
So I did a bit of research, and was a little gutted when I found out that EB no longer sold any print versions of its Encyclopedias. I mosey’ed onto Amazon, and bought a second hand set of the 2010 version for about £500.
I wrote to Andrew and told him about my plan, and that his job was to keep me motivated and interested by grunting approval and acknowledgement every time I fed him a little nugget of information that I gleaned. He was delighted to be a part of my goal. I told him that he had to hang around until I got to ‘Z’, so we’d be the two cleverest people in London.
In the meantime, I was hauling volume A with me in my backpack around London, and created a little drama for myself when I accidentally left my bag in Clapham Junction station. I panicked and got off the next station, running to catch the train going the opposite direction, praying with all my might that the transport police wouldn’t confiscate the ‘unattended’ bag! Luckily it was still there – I was more worried about my Volume A, than I was about my laptop!
I only managed to get to page 4 of Volume A, where I regaled Andrew about Moses’ brother Aaron when he got sicker, and wasn’t able to text me anymore. When I heard that he had passed away, I just stopped reading.
As I said above, it’s been 2 years now. I’ve been feeling a little lost lately, and I think that I need to find my purpose. And maybe Andrew will give me a little bit of help again this time.
I hope that I am able to retain what I’ve read by writing about my journey. Like AJ Jacob, I am not sure what I’ll find along the way, other than trivia, but I think that I’ll enjoy finding out.