Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Most Interesting Person In The World

Dos Equis has been running an ad campaign based around "the most interesting man in the world". I think it's a really cool idea, but they spoiled it for me by making the attributes of the most interesting man more supernatural than interesting. Still, it got me thinking. Most people know somebody who seems to live larger than everybody else. So, who really is the most interesting person in the world?

I know lots of people who've done interesting things, or have interesting qualities. I know people who travel to exotic places as casually as others go out to dinner. I have a friend who's Bulgarian by birth, Canadian by citizenship, speaks five languages and is an avid windsurfer; most of that also applies to his Russian wife who defected when she was a member of a traveling Soviet soccer team. I have a friend who has climbed all the 14000 foot peaks in the US, in between scuba diving and rock climbing. I have several friends who have started successful, interesting businesses; or have established lives in unusual out-of-the-way places. I used to have a Romanian friend whose father was a well-known opera singer. He had lived in Paris, and one time when we were in Cambridge our waitress at a French restaurant practically sat down to have dinner with us because she was so impressed by his French accent. So if i, with my relatively mundane existence, know such interesting people there must be someone out there who intrigues even other interesting people.

The characteristics of an interesting person are subjective i'm sure, but this is my take: an interesting person has several well-developed abilities; they are probably multi-lingual, probably athletic, individualistic, and a little bit eccentric. He or she would not be a major celebrity, but might be prominent within his or her field. An interesting person would be well traveled, but not like a tourist. Travel would either be an aspect of this person's profession, or just an outgrowth of wanderlust or some sort of personal journey of discovery. This person would have an easy familiarity in numerous cultures, but would still seem somewhat mysterious in any of them. He or she would have a history that couldn't be entirely revealed, like a brush with the law or a stint in some secretive branch of the military. It would be a person who's not fabulously wealthy, but who never seems to lack for means. An interesting person will have some scars.

I don't have many candidates, who aren't either fictional or dead (Indiana Jones, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Gertrude Bell, Rick Blaine). I suppose many journalists could be considered, like Christiane Amanpour or Robert Fisk. Certain authors could also-- i'd include Peter Matthiessen-- and i'm sure a list of MacArthur grant recipients would yield numerous candidates. Valerie Plame, especially before her cover was blown. Any of hundreds of explorers, inventors, athletes, entrepreneurs and performers could likely be identified. Still, i'm convinced that there's a person out there who is the most fascinating of the fascinating, though i suspect that he or she does not in fact prefer Dos Equis.

No comments: