Trivial Pursuits


Seems most people have an appetite for lesser known facts and useless trivia, especially if it involves misfortune, as we are adept at creating bad luck. (Murphy’s Law #3. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.)  The lowly opossum is a prime example: when they are playing possum, they are not “playing”.  They actually pass out from sheer terror.  This sort of ditty is just what folks want to know.  Of course there will always be interest in local trivia, such as is the case of kudzu.  Did you know it has taken over as much combined area as the state of Vermont?  Perhaps there’s a future in kudzu real estate, and if so, I’m turning my five acres into condos, a doughnut store and a full time flea market.  Overall, though, we tend to have a fascination with rare bits of information that involves adversity.  The ‘whys’ of this phenomenon should be debated by deep-thinking philosophers, otherwise there would be an excess of finger wagging and name calling.  Personally, I believe we are all students of human nature, and it is the nature of humans to drawn toward the calamitous, as long as it doesn’t involve us.  (Murphy’s Law #5: The buddy system is essential to your survival, it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.)

If you have a friend with insectophobia, you can share this interesting piece of information: there are more bugs in one square mile of rural land than there are human beings in the world.  Maybe that’s why so many of us are leery of them – get one relatively smart insect angry at you, and you’re liable to get carried away by a swarm.  Ask a praying mantis why he does that and he’ll probably answer that he prays that we’ll all be in trouble when the cockroaches realize they’re invulnerable.  There’s a pest control commercial making the rounds these days, where a man-sized insect rings someone’s doorbell pretending to deliver a pizza.  Right.  If the bugger’s that big he won’t need to sneak his way in, especially if he has a couple of home boys with him.  I read once that the average human swallows around five spiders in their sleep during a lifetime.  Now I duct tape my jaw shut at night now.  In the morning when I pry it off it works better than a razor, too.

Soccer has been a huge European sport for ages, and we all know they call it ‘futball’, but the game was actually invented by the English while they were kicking around the heads of slaughtered Danish invaders.  Those Brits are a tough group.  The middle finger salute came into being via the English, too.  Back in the day of longbowmen, the British and French were always fighting over something or other.  The Limeys were so good with their bows that whenever one was captured by the French, the finger they drew their bow back with (of course, the birdie finger) was chopped off.  Consequently, whenever the English came within sight of a Frenchman, they would show off their bow finger as proof they could still function.  We’ve come a long way, baby.  In this case, it seems we’ve gone backwards.  Whatever you do, though, be nice to the Queen.  She literally owns every single swan in the empire.  Wouldn’t want them flying overhead just after tea time.

Now there are some, especially in the political and financial arena (wait, that’s the same thing now, isn’t it) who use statistics as if it were fact.  One of my heroes, Mark Twain, said there were three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.  He also said a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on.  Try this one on for size: more than 2500 left-handed people are killed every year from using right handed products.  Give me a break.  I’m a southpaw and have used my right handed can opener for years with nothing more than a rash to show for it.

Finally, there are trivialities that are just too outrageous to be believable, although there are those who will believe anything. For example, did you know that you are officially the one millionth person to read this blog post? (Murphy’s Law #9: Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you.  Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he’ll have to touch it to be sure.)  By the way, you have paint all over your back. Have a nice day! (For your information, the average person has three nice days per week. I used all mine up in the seventies.)

About jaytharding
Christian Mystic-in-training, burgeoning Apologist, Writer, Poet, Philosopher, all-purpose curmudgeon Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 11 Corinthians 5:17

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