June 22nd, 2011

There’s an ad for Dos Equis beer, maybe you’ve seen it, that stars a tall, dark and handsome man with a not-quite-place-able accent and a lot of stories of adventure. He is, according to this ad, the most interesting man in the world and we’re all supposed to want to be him, or to at least know him, and Dos Equis supposedly a step in the right direction. I fear this guy is probably a narcissistic adrenaline junky, though, and I would like to propose an alternative ideal: The most interested man in the world. Someone, that is, who finds joy and nourishment wherever he is, who is curious and enthusiastic and not merely a jaded experience collector. My candidate for the title? Ed, our weekend bartender.

Let me defend my candidate, first, by saying that there is nothing that I have seen Ed do that he did not do meticulously and beautifully. This includes, but does not stop with, installing a bay window, playing guitar, drawing, reading complex philosophical texts and hiking. If I weren’t so afraid of clichés, I’d call him a renaissance man. To avoid that I will just say that Ed applies every bit of himself to everything he does and he seems to do it out of a desire to suck every bit of knowledge out of every new situation he’s in. He takes nothing for granted, rushes through nothing and he does it all out of genuine interest.

What makes the most interested man in the world superior to the most interesting? Well, given that you and I will probably be neither but will get only to maybe be friends with one or the other, it’s good to remember that, of the two, it’s the most interested man in the world who will pay attention to you. And, because he’s paid such good attention to so many others, he’s got a diverse, complex perspective to bounce back at you. Nice choice for a bartender, no?

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