If you’re still reading this…


How many of you readers, like me, woke up last Sunday morning with a pleasurable jolt of anticipation, thinking, “Wow! It’s Super Bowl … Commercial Day!”

Speaking of waking up, I was having lunch with my buddy on Tuesday and he said, “You know, you spend 26 years of your life sleeping?” And I said, “No.” Then there was an awkward silence, so I felt compelled to say, “You know, speaking of sleeping, one-third of adult Americans still sleep with a comfort object?”

“You mean, your wife?” he asked.

I said, “No. I mean a teddy bear or something like that.” He looked over at three farmers sitting at the table next to us and said, “Ask those guys.” So I said to them, “Excuse me, gentlemen, but do any of you happen to sleep with a comfort object? A teddy bear or something like that?” After a quick beat, the youngest one replied, “Why would you ask a stupid question like that?” So I knew it was him.

We were seated right next to the restroom and when a guy walked out, my friend said, “I’ll bet you that guy did not wash his hands.” After observing me looking skeptical and annoyed, he pushed it further, “I’ll bet you $100. Go ask him,” he said.

“No. Why would you say that?” I asked.

“It’s good odds for a bet. Only 20 percent wash their hands after using the restroom,” he said.

Hmm, I thought, then said, “You might be right. I don’t.”

“Well, that’s a shame. Didn’t your mama teach you to wash your hands after peeing?” he asked.

“No. My mama taught me not to pee on my hands,” I said.

But my friend started me thinking and when I got home, I found a ray of sunlight falling through my cabin window and sat in it hoping it might give me inspiration. Finally, I said, “Alexa, how many people wear shoes made in America?” She replied, “Sadly, only 1% of the population wear shoes made in America.”

I don’t always trust Alexa, sometimes she responds so quickly with an answer that I feel it might be specious, so I went to my desktop and did a bit of searching. I found many places where shoes are still made in America, but upon investigation, I was sad to see I couldn’t afford any of them. Truman sells their boots in Oregon for a minimum of $480. Allen Edmonds, Port Washington, Wisconsin, has several very attractive dress shoes they market from $300 to $500. I couldn’t find any American shoes for less than $250 so I stopped looking. Besides, I was born in Kentucky and don’t wear shoes very often anyway.

Now I couldn’t stop. I found out that I can always see my nose – but my brain ignores it! More than one-fifth of all calories consumed by humans comes from eating rice. There is a McDonald’s on every continent except Antarctica. A duel between three people is called a truel. The stage just before frostbite is called frostnip. In South Korea there is an emergency number (113) just to report spies. Weird Al Yankovic wrote his song “Albuquerque” to be a joke specifically to annoy people for 12 minutes and it ended up becoming one of his most popular numbers. Sonic the Hedgehog’s first name is Ogilvie. Even though Froot Loops are in different colors, they all taste exactly the same! Most toilet paper made for home use in France is pink? In 1862, the King of Siam (you know, Yul Brynner, “The King and I”?) offered Abraham Lincoln a dozen elephants because “a country as great as the United States should not be without elephants.” Abe turned him down.

Now I was all worked up. I discovered that in 2015, Canada struck a legal tender coin with Superman on the head side. Tigers have striped skin, not striped fur, and they’re like fingerprints, no two tigers have the same pattern. The brain is 60% fat. You can’t sneeze in your sleep. The office of Treasurer of the United States has been held by women since 1949. The Boston Marathon would not allow female runners until 1972. In 1966, Roberta Gibb hid in some bushes and joined in and finished the race unsanctioned. And in 1967, Katherine Switzer disguised herself as a man and when detected mid-race fought her way past her pursuers to the finish. Fifty percent of Iceland’s population believes in the existence of elves and trolls. In 2016, a student accidentally left a pineapple in an art museum in Scotland. Two days later, he went back and saw that the pineapple had been placed in a glass case as part of an exhibition. The most popular thing at Walmart is bananas. They sell more bananas than any other single item they have in stock.

I was starting to wind down, but then remembered that humans are the only animal that can’t breathe and drink at the same time. And rhythm is the longest English word without a vowel. Abraham Lincoln is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He had a prodigious record of 300 wins against only one loss. He was proud of his grappling days and as President often told many stories of his exploits.

Finally, if you’re still reading this, I will be surprised! Because the average American only reads items of personal interest for 10 minutes a day – plus, there are 36 million of us who read at the third grade level.

Garry Boone is a Hillsboro resident.

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