If you’ve ever played Trivial Pursuit you may have been surprised at how many useless bits of information you have (or not) picked up during your lifetime. I’ve played the game myself and am pretty good at it. Still, it doesn’t hurt to continue one’s education, which is why I have a couple dozen trivia books lining my bookshelves. One, The World’s Greatest Book of Useless Information,* is a great source of little known nuggets of highly questionable importance. Herewith, some of the things I learned recently.
1. According to the author of this book, Americans in 2007 consumed more than 868 million gallons of petroleum per day. I don’t believe it. Why? I have all I can do to force down the recommended eight glasses of water a day, let alone my share of that much petroleum. Let’s just hope none of these people gets near an open flame.
2. In ancient Cambodia, it was illegal to insult a rice plant. (And you thought PETA was a modern innovation.)
3. It’s said that a turtle can breathe through its bottom. Now who would even bother to test that theory? (Oh, right, someone with a federal grant.) Who in his right mind even cares? I’m more concerned whether I’ll still be breathing tomorrow.
4. Supposedly people are the most irritable between 4 and 6 p.m. Even I could have determined that (without a federal grant). The reasons: (a) They’re stuck in traffic during “rush” hour on the Dallas/Ft. Worth freeway system; (b) they’re hungry and know they won’t be able to get home for dinner during that two-hour time frame; and (c) the jerk in the car in the next lane has his radio playing (c)rap “music” so loud that the other drivers are contemplating justifiable homicide.
5. Your brain asleep is more active than when watching TV. Well, duh! Most of the stuff aired on the boob tube today is just mind-numbing. (The appalling amount of bad grammar alone gives this writer apoplexy.) The worst are the “reality” shows where people of questionable sense, taste, and maturity make complete horses’ patooties of themselves in front of millions of people. Nowhere else can you see so many obnoxious, ill-mannered, self-centered, attention-seeking narcissists. Where do they find all these losers—Louts ‘R’ Us? My son Jake says he can feel his I. Q. drop a point for every second one of these shows is on, which is why he—and I—have remotes equipped with automatic “Gag Reflex” buttons. By the way, if you could witness my REM sleep visions you’d know there’s more going on there than on any six TV shows combined. I could keep a blog running for years recounting the Technicolor dramas, adventures, and, yes, nightmares I experience every night. In fact, I could write a downright fascinating TV series based on my dreams (and with better dialogue). Of course, no one would watch it. My characters are mostly normal.
6. In 1970 in Graetna Green, Scotland, a German pop star named Ramma Damma legally married a pineapple that cost $16.00. He said he didn’t want a cheap bride. This guy sounds like a real fruitcake.
*Botham, Noel, & The Useless Information Society. The World’s Greatest Book of Useless Information. New York: Penguin, 2009.
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