When James Scott attended the first day of a mycology course as a freshman in college, his plan was to cut class for the rest of the semester and fake his way through on borrowed notes. But in his lecture that day, the professor told a story about a fungus that lives on peach pits. No one, he said, knows how the fungus gets from one pit to the next. “If you go to an abandoned orchard and lie on your stomach under a tree for a week, watching which insects land on a peach and move to another one,” Scott remembers him saying, “you will know more about this fungus than anyone in the world.”
“It was something even I, an undergraduate who didn’t know anything, could do,” Scott says. “I could go out there and look for stuff.” In the space of one anecdote, Scott had become the sort of person who kept a microscope in his dorm room and decorated the walls with fungal family trees he drew himself. (He also plays the banjo.)
Plays banjo too? Hey, you had me at "cut class for the rest of the semester."