Merlin: And it’s not just Talk Show, it’s The Talk Show […]
Merlin: He gets mad about that right?
Dan: Yeah, he gets all bent out of shape
Merlin, Oh my god, he’s like patient zero for this stuff. Is there anybody that cares about this kind of stuff than Gruber? He cares about the definite article, excuse me… he cares about definite article.
There are people out there like Merlin who change the way you look at your life. They encourage you to look at what you’re doing and offer up suggestions as to how you can go about being better. They help “find the confidence to know what you want to say and who you want to say it to1“.
Over the past year, I’ve started to care, deeply, about things I never used to notice. I think about the tiny details that add up to make a big difference. I’ve shifted some of my focus from the obvious to the overlooked.
At first I didn’t understand where my newfound care was coming from… I couldn’t comprehend why I knew what kerning was and that I believe it makes a difference. Why I would suddenly give a damn about what font I was using for my footnotes. Why when I enter a store, rather than simply looking whatever it is I need, my brain seems to question the layout and order of the aisles. Why it is worth arguing with my wife over if the punctuation should go before or after the quotation mark. Not because she is wrong about inside being proper, but because outside just feels right.
Things like design, experience and grammar went from seeming utterly irrelevant to incredibly important3. After 30 years of living in a world where these things didn’t matter at all, they suddenly mattered a lot.
It’s insane, but this deep level of concern from Gruber, a guy on the Internet who I will likely never meet, has increased my own capacity to care. And not only about what he believes to be important, but in what matters to me as well. Seeing just how much care he puts into the choices he makes forced me to realize the lack of commitment that went into my own.
We spend a lot of time thinking about who we want to be and what we want to do4. We end up spending so much of our time obsessing about them that we neglect the little things. And while it may seem counterintuitive, Gruber’s concern over those “small” details is somehow making it easy to see which “big” issues matters most.