I still ignore most of the coupon flyers to be found just inside grocery stores, preferring to pick up one of the free weekly papers on my way out for perusing at home. The lively ads for quirky services are interesting, yet it is the fun facts running along the bottom of certain pages meant to edify, entertain, or amaze that fascinate me the most. Below are some of these statements and the logical questions they raise in this reader.
“At room temperature, the average molecule travels at the speed of a rifle bullet.” How does one account for unexpected shooting pains?
“Jack-o-Lanterns were originally made of turnips.” Why did no poet ever pen the lines “When the frost is on the root and Father’s in toxic shock”?
“A male cricket’s ear is located on the tibia of its leg.” Why does Jiminy Cricket laugh so much when he hears a knee-slapper?
“Flying fish can leap out of the water at 20 mph or more and can glide for over 500 feet.” Why are more fisherman saying that the one that got away did so by knocking them down?
“In one day a full-grown tree expels seven tons of water through its leaves.” Why are more hikers singing “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anything Less Than a Raincoat?”
“Thomas Jefferson invented the coat hanger.” Why are so many hatcheck girls complaining that the only tips they get are in nickels?
“A snail has four noses and 25,000 teeth.” Why are restaurants now serving escargots in two different ways, snotty or extra crunchy?
“Poison ivy’s not ivy and poison oak is not oak. They are both part of the cashew family.” Why can’t some people cure their itch for nuts?
“Dolphins sleep with one eye open.” Why is it that some creatures can’t sleep a wink and others wink when they sleep?
“You burn more calories sleeping than watching television.” How many calories do people burn while dreaming they are watching I Dream of Jeannie?
“The plastic things on the ends of shoelaces are called aglets.” Then what does one call small rooms for rent by the Agriculture Department?
“You transfer more germs by shaking hands than kissing.” Why is it always better at a carnival to bypass the salesmen and head directly for the kissing booth?