November 8th, 2020

Hoosier Hysterical

Truth is Stranger ... If You Can Believe It

 I recently found this column, which I wrote awhile back (14 years ago!) and put in my “something to send in if the oncoming winter has me so down I can’t think of anything funny to say” file. These "interesting" facts have no doubt gone around the world several time since then.


This contains interesting “facts” e-mailed to me. The truth is, I stole -- ahem -- wrote about this stuff so long ago that my readers back then have all died of old age, so think of it as an "I Love Lucy" rerun.
Now, these may or may not be true -- that’s the problem with the internet -- but they’re still interesting:

“A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.”

Surely a federally funded study is in progress?

“In ten minutes, a hurricane released more energy than all the world’s nuclear weapons combined.”

But there are practical difficulties to loading a hurricane into a B-52’s bomb bay.

“On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year.”

No, NO--pens. P.E.N.S. There's no "I". Get your mind out of the gutter.

“On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.”

Well, death, doesn’t jump off the ceiling and wrap its creepy-crawly little poison legs around you in the middle of the night, does it? Um ... does it?

SPIDER--Oh, wait.

“Ninety percent of New York City cabbies are recently arrived immigrants.”

As a result, the average New Yorkers fears cabs more than spiders, death, or hurricanes.

“Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.”

Any of you ladies want to tell me something?

“Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.”

Do we really want to? I mean, it’s hard enough to adjust to changing technology year to year -- someone who lived over a century had to adjust to the idea of flying, let alone space travel, cell phones, and Michael Jackson turning white.

(I should point out that when I wrote this, Michael Jackson was alive. And white.)

“Women blink nearly twice as much as men.”

This one’s easy to explain. I blink when I hear something ridiculous, and so whenever a woman listens to a man ...

“It’s physically impossible for you to lick your elbow.”

And this is a concern why --? Seriously, what drunk college student first thought, “Gee, I wonder if I can lick my elbow?”

“The main library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books.”

Imagine that -- books in a library. At least they’ll have plenty of storage room in the basements.

(By the way, I’m told this is a common urban legend at libraries around the country. Possibly started by college students who got bored with trying to lick their elbows.)

“A snail can sleep for three years.”

Never thought I’d envy a snail.

“Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.”

It was made by government contract.


SPIDER--never mind.



“The electric chair was invented by a dentist.”

Well, of course it was.

“In ancient Egypt, priests plucked every hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.”

A concept that was invented by a dentist, before electricity.

“Typewriter is the longest word that can be made using the letters on only one row of the keyboard.”

I wonder how long the inventor of the typewriter had to work to fit in that little inside joke?

“’Go’ is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.”

Followed directly by “stop”, of course.

“A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.”

How do we know this? Maybe they’re just very polite.

“American on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.”

Not the same Americans every day. I hope.

“If Barbie was life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33.”

How’d you like to be HER chiropractor?

“Barbie would then stand seven feet, two inches tall.”

Wow-- she could put my eyes out with those things.

“No word in the English language rhymes with ‘month’”

And don’t think I haven’t tried.

Putting all these together, I’ve learned that no one knows why a duck’s quack doesn’t echo while standing under a 7 foot tall Barbie in a hurricane, but if a snail that’s been sleeping for three years doesn’t get hit by a baseball, it’s often used to pluck all the hair from an Egyptian priest who invented the electric chair while on a dental appointment to fix teeth he knocked out while trying to lick his elbow in the Indiana University library 116 years ago. Luckily, he had a typewriter and so didn’t choke on a pen, but instead was running from his personal ad date’s husband when a New York cabbie swatting at a spider didn’t see the ‘go’ sign and ran over him and his pet crocodile in front of a pizza place. During a hurricane.

I tried to fit “month” in there somewhere, but couldn’t get the rhythm right, no matter how much I blinked.

SPIDER--Oh, for heaven's sake.