Living

THE COOL KID’S GUIDE TO READING: Tell your facts to shut up

I’m not a smart man, O Best Ones, but I know what a hennin is.

I know what a hennin is because a decade ago I read a long, cockroach-smashing size biography of Marco Polo -- the fabled Middle Ages traveler to the mysterious East who is best known today as Marco ... Polo.

I only remember two facts that I didn’t already know before I read the book:

Polo’s nickname was Marco Millions. His contemporaries called him that because they believed that’s how many lies he was telling about his adventures.

A hennin is the cone-shaped hat you see in so many Medieval portraits of women. Hennins were modeled on a hat Polo brought back from his travels, one that inspired centuries of fashion for rich ladies.

Marco ... Dior. Yves ... Polo.

A slur and a lid. That’s what I recall from hundreds of pages about one of the most eventful lives ever.

And that’s why I rarely read biographies. Any life is jammed with millions of incidents. In a biography, fortunately, you only get beat over the head with a few thousand of them, but still, the Cool Kid has trouble remembering to turn the headlights off.

Seems like a waste of my reading time.

Just about everything I know about Alexander the Great comes from a few dozen pages in a high school history book I bought at a used book sale.

All killer, no filler -- as Best One Dan Maley likes to say.

The perfect biography is Julius Caesar’s autobiography.

It’s so short, it doesn’t even have a title. Here it is in its entirety:

“Veni, vidi, vici.”

The Kindle version probably costs $14.95.

To contact writer Randy Waters, call 744-4240.

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