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Who Dares to Pick the Nose of the Great Zucchini?

Gene Weingarten profiles a children’s entertainer named the Great Zucchini. Here’s his website.

The article is great and eminently quotable, but I enjoyed the interview with the author about the act of writing the article:

Many years ago, I was asked to speak to a room full of editors about how to manage creative people (I was, at the time, editor of a magazine that regularly dealt with such brilliant people as Joel Achenbach, Madeleine Blais, Dave Barry, David Von Drehle, etc.) My main message was that the central goal of handling geniuses is to coax the best out of them without upsetting the delicate mix of qualities that seems to give them their inspiration. Geniuses are often eccentric. One may look like a homeless person. Another may be so crippled by anxieties that he is laughably self-conscious. Another may pick his nose all the time. The key is not to go in and try to “civilize” them or modify their antisocial or self-destructive behavior. You must compliment them on how WELL they pick their nose.

Everyone laughed and thought I was kidding. I wasn’t. Vincent Van Gogh would have been ruined by Prozac.

(Thanks, Easter Lemming)

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Jim (Nose Picker) 7/4/2008, 12:37 am

    It’s a funny story, but the point is pretty valid. It’s interesting to see people so good at one thing and then to find out their skill is really due to some personality flaw that makes them really bad at other things.

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