There was a time when I may have tried to appear I knew more than I really did, or at least hide the fact I didn't know something. But maturity has taught me that humility is freedom -- freedom to be yourself, to admit your limitations and ignorance. And be happy to learn. I certainly don't seek out moments of humility, they just find me. And by the time I realize I am having one, it's too late to back out, like yesterday:
We all went to a massive hunting supply store. It had all kinds of large, stuffed animals posed mid-action on an artifical mountain with a stream of live fish beneath it. Corinna and I walked slowly around the mountain, observing the various animals, frozen in their beauty and majesty and, some of them, cuteness. But what captured my attention most was the enormous aquarium in the fishing supply section. It was full of large fish of kinds I have rarely seen -- at least without having to look down through murkey water outdoors.
Later I excitedly told Richie about the aquarium: "Richie, there was a huge aquarium in there! They had big lake fish! There were catfish and bass or... whatever." I faltered a moment, then added, "Salmon." Jon, who was sitting in the truck seat in front of me turned his head slightly.
"There were catfish and bass," he said, "There were no salmon."
I was quiet a moment, then ventured on. "Trout."
"There were no trout." Jon said calmly.
I fell completely silent while Jon proceeded to give the proper name for each fish in the tank as well as the region of the world it came from. "And," he added, "They are not lake fish. They live in rivers."
You would think I would have remained silent, but I had to go on: "Yes," I said, "I only meant they were...big water fish. That they weren't...pet store fish." I shut up for good then, realizing I had just created two very ridiculous and nonexistent categories of fish.
"Good Lord," was all Jon could say.