What subjects do you know a lot about, but don't help you earn a living, at all?

As I write this, I am at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, with my wife who’s just had surgery. As I walk through the part of the hospital where we are, I notice the art on the walls. Walking along, I notice:

That’s an Ellsworth Kelly.

That’s a Ron Davis.

Another Ron Davis.

(Understand, I’m recognizing this from my knowledge of 1960s era abstract painting. I’m not looking at the labels.)

There’s a Diebenkorn.
There’s a Frieda Kahlo. No wait, it’s not by Kahlo, it’s a portrait of her by someone else.

Is that a Jaspar Johns over there by the elevators? Yes, it turns out to be just that.

By profession I’m in software, currently out of work but spending a lot of time upgrading my skills. But sometimes I feel that I know art better than I know my profession.

What’s your non-financially-rewarding avocation that you know more about than your profession?

Herpetology. I can identify and work with most species of reptiles better than most people actually IN the field. Without a degree in it, or zoology though, it’s pretty much useless.


Land mines, their use, design and removal. Hand grenades too. Not much call for that.

Yes, but weren’t you in the military at some point? At least it was your profession then.

Tudor England and knitting, and I know more about knitting than how to knit. I don’t expect to ever earn a dime over my knowledge of Tudor England, but I may be buying a yarn store.

BTW Dutch history is another one of mine. My surname is Dutch, and we’ve traced it back to about 1610 in the Utrecht area, and tentatively back to 1330.

Magic the Gathering artwork. Show me the picture from a card and I probably have something like a 75% chance of identifying the card by name. Sometimes I wonder what normal people keep in the brainpart that I tie up with stuff like that.

Back when I was playing M:tG regularly, I could do that, too. :slight_smile:

These days:
Meteorology (wanted to be a meteorologist as a kid, I wound up in market research)
Dungeons and Dragons rules
Star Wars trivia

I’m good at walking, but I earn a living by sitting.

[sub](sitting in a chair. Not sitting for babies)[/sub]

History and computer games - if I applied myself I could probably get the relevant qualifications and/or experience to teach history or be a games journalist but so far it has yet to happen.

Martial arts.

Didn’t see this part. I wouldn’t say I know more about the martial arts than I do the law, but I know a good bit.

Sewing/fabric stuff. It’s more a money sink than a money generator.


Quilting. I do it all by hand so I could never earn enough to make a living at it.

Knitting and pregnancy/childbirth. Neither one comes in handy in chemical research.
The knitting because it’s my hobby of choice.
The pregnancy/childbirth, well, I became quite the birth junkie when pregnant with my two kids and read up on it so much that I find I can spout off all sorts of information that is only of use/interest to pregnant women and makes most other people uncomfortable. So I try not to.


If anybody ever needs to hire a trivia expert you know where to find me.

Kitty scritchin…