I really like history. I guess that might be obvious, considering I decided to write my last column about President James Garfield, but it's true.
History has always been one of my favorite subjects in school, and I think part of the reason why I am fascinated by it is the fact that everything links together. You've got all these people with stories that are interesting enough on their own, and then you realize that there are all these little threads that link them together.
Abraham Lincoln was a U.S. representative at the same time as former president John Quincy Adams, and after his assassination, a young Teddy Roosevelt watched from the window of his house as Lincoln's body was carried across the country.
Nothing in history acts in a vacuum. You can look at anything in history and see all of the events that had repercussions that rippled out and caused it. If you really want to understand why the American Revolution happened, you couldn't just start at 1776. You would have to go back to 1492 and Columbus, or to 1215 and the Magna Carta, or to 509 B.C. and the start of the Roman republic.
It almost feels like a mystery, looking at history. You try to figure out why something happened and you look around events surrounding it and you can have a moment where you just think "Oh, that's what happened."
I think this same basic idea is one of the reasons why I like things like the Marvel superhero movies and "Star Wars" so much. You've got this unbelievably huge world with enough stories and detail that you could almost never run out of things to discover.
Each story is entertaining or interesting enough on its own, but when you dive deeper you can see all the little threads connecting the characters, events, and ideas. Whenever I go to see a Marvel movie I get excited, not only because they tend to be pretty good movies, but also because I know that there are going to be little clues to discover, hints about new characters or what is coming in the future.
When you have some familiarity with the world involved, everything just makes more sense and feels more tied together. It is the same thing with history.
And while I don't get quite that level of excitement when I am dragging myself out of bed in the morning to go to history class, that's probably just due to the fact that class tends to have fewer explosions.
The thing is, history is better than those movies. First of all, history is true, and as much as it pains me to admit it, the odds of me getting a light saber or an Iron Man suit are pretty slim.
With history you know that this awesome, or amazing, or wonderful, or bizarre story that you are hearing about most likely actually happened. When I think about history that way, I can't help but want to learn everything that I possibly can about it.