Column: A scientist is lurking within

Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer

If I hadn’t become a writer, or reporter, or journalist, or copy editor, or paginator, or editor, or cat herder, I probably could have been a pretty good scientist.

I loved my sociology and psychology classes at Ohio State.

I am a big fan of astronomy and the cosmos.

I wasn’t a big fan of physics or physiology or biology or botany.

But I love people … well, most of them.

Give me a bunch of folks, and I can watch and study and observe them all day long.

To this day, I’m always doing social experiments and studies in my head.

I like to watch people.

I do it with people I know, people I’ve never met. I do it with family and co-workers (I hope they aren’t reading this column today).

And I think I’m a pretty good judge of people and personalities.

Literally, I can get along with anyone. Yes, even if they are 100 percent different from me in their political beliefs.

But I truly detest and have no use for people who are fake, who lie or try to be someone they aren’t.

Again, I think I’m a good judge of people.

Still, I’m certain there are a lot of folks out there who have been fooling me, or lying to me, for years and I haven’t figured them out.

Or have I?

I truly love to watch people. I watch them on the beach … how they strut, jog, puff out their chests or hold in their bellies.

I like to watch people in shopping malls. I’ll pick out one of those comfortable chairs — for some reason it’s always in front of Victoria’s Secrets store — and watch the shoppers and mall-walkers. They’re hilarious. The men trail along behind their wives and girlfriends. The kids drag their parents along with them to the next toy store or food court.

You truly can have a good time watching people. And it’s a lot cheaper than a movie. Even a matinee.

If I’m in a bar — I don’t spend near as much time in bars as I used to — I like to watch people change as they down one drink after another. I want to see what kind of drunkard they become..

I hate generalizations, but I’ve noticed that in almost 100 percent of folks, if you’re a butthead when you’re sober, you’re just a louder, more obnoxious butthead at the 2 a.m. last call.

My family had a little cottage in St. Cloud, Florida, less than an hour from Disney World when I was growing up. I went to Disney World and Busch Gardens and Gatorland and Universal Studios fairly often. Even my preteen years, I discovered the joy of watching families in a crowded amusement park.

It was most fun to watch their behavior in a park nicknamed “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

Walking six or 10 miles in 85 degree weather while toting and safe-guarding three or four kids and some stuffed animals can turn parents and kids into mean, ferocious little animals. Up close, it’s kind of uncomfortable to see and hear. But if you are watching from, it’s almost worth that $125 admission to Disney World.

On Thursday night, I tried another experiment.

I saw a video on social media. Some enterprising — yet obviously bored — cat owner had outlined the shape of a box on the floor of a living room, kitchen or dining room. Soon, their cat walked over, sniffed around and plopped down in the middle of that box.

Right now, there is an outline of a box on the floor of my front porch.

It’s been 30 minutes since that box appeared, and all is quiet on the front porch. Jack and Jill have shown zero interest in that box.

But I have booted Beatrix off it two or three times already.

In the sake of scientific integrity, I should say that I had no tape and I didn’t want to draw my box with a piece of chalk. So I used a bunch of band-aids to outline my box. Maybe that antiseptic smell has changed the parameters of the experiment.

Anyway, there are other things going on tonight as I watch my cats ignore my scientific experiment.

It’s 8 p.m. The Cleveland Browns are on the clock at the NFL Draft, I hope they pick soon, I’m missing “Big Bang Theory.”

As a diehard, life-long Browns fan, I’m not even hoping for a home run from this team via tonight’s draft.

I just hope a couple of the players they choose this year will remain with the team — and will be contributing — in three years. That would be a huge improvement for this group of StumbleBrowns.

Also, I forgot how fun it is to watch Jon Gruden disagree with Mel Kiper. That might be worth missing “Big Bang Theory” tonight.

Oh my. It is fun to watch those two needle one another.

Alrighty, then. The Browns just picked Myles Garrett, from Texas A&M.

Not my first choice, but one of my top three. I’m OK with the selection.

And this pick is not a reach like these idiots have been doing with every other first-round pick the past five years or so.

A good safe pick. I’ll take it.

And I’ve seen enough. Wait, a trade …. Shoot, there goes the QB I was hoping for to the Chicago Bears.

Now I have seen enough.

But I can’t stop watching. It’s like an auto accident along the highway. You don’t want to look, but you can’t help it.

I’m talking about Gruden and Kiper again. Love the passion of those guys.

Now, back to my cat-box experiment.

Jill is asleep on the table next to me. That’s pretty normal. But Jack is sniffing at the door to the front porch, as if there is something out there he needs plant his big behind upon.

But he’s also looking at. With love? With adoration? Is he thanking me for adopting he and his sister years ago?

Nope, he looks angry. No, he looks hungry.

Yep, I forgot to feed him tonight. No wonder he can’t concentrate on that Band-Aid box.

In conclusion? Even though Day 1 of my cat experiment was inconclusive, my observation that animals are easier to figure out than humans holds true.

Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Email Russ Kent with comments and story ideas at [email protected]

Email Russ Kent with comments and story ideas at [email protected]