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Rusty Saber

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by Joe McAdoo

This column marks my 16th birthday. That's not what I intended to say. It's been half a century since I celebrated my 16th birthday. I meant to say that the Rusty Saber is 16.

Should I select a special topic for this anniversary edition? I suppose I could write on a serious topic, like the Gross National Product or health care in the United States. I could write about those or countless others. I don't think so.

In keeping with the intellectual standards the Rusty Saber has adhered to for the past 16 years, I am using as my topic a list of little-known and worthless facts given me by a loyal reader, who received the list via e-mail.

The list came with no title I gave it one. I call it: "I Didn't Know That; Now That I Know It, I Don't Know What I Know." (Catchy title, don't you agree?) No doubt about it, this column meets the lofty Rusty Saber standards.

An example of these startling and strange, but true, facts is: "Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated." I'll bet you didn't know that; now that you do, you don't know what you know. I told you I selected a good title. I wonder how it became common knowledge that refrigerated rubber bands last longer.

Was there a scientific study of some sort where a bunch of rubber bands were divided into two groups; one kept in a refrigerator while the other received no cooling treatment? If so, I suppose the rubber bands were stretched until they broke.

Again, I'm guessing that the icy rubber bands could be stretched further before breaking than the non-icy ones. So, if you haven't been getting your money's worth from your rubber bands, stick them in the refrigerator. Words to live by.

Another strange-but-true item to file away in the memory bank: "The national anthem of Greece has 158 verses." And you think it's hard to remember the words to the "Star Spangled Banner." How would you like to attend a sporting event in Greece, and have to stand with hand over heart while a singer belts out 158 verses? By the time you could yell "Play Ball," you would be too tired to watch the game.

"No word in the English language rhymes with 'month,' 'orange' or 'purple.'" As far as I know, that's true. I can't think of any. However, I'm not affected. When I can't think of a word to rhyme, I make up one.

For instance, I would rhyme month with "dunth," as in school when the dumb kid was once called a dunth. Orange I would rhyme with "forange", as in one who is forced to forange for food. Purple I would rhyme with "slurple," as in one will slurple a purple drink through a straw. There's nothing to this rhyming stuff, as long as you don't mind making up a word now and again.

Here's a shocking bit of news: "There are more chickens in the world than people." Wow! If it weren't for Col. Sanders, we would be up to our armpits in chickens. I never thought to thank him for saving us from being overrun and pecked to death by hordes of rampaging chickens.

There must be a story behind this, but I don't know what it is: "Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance." ( I'm not making these up; I'm just reporting facts.) Chuckle, chuckle. I'm sorry, I chuckle when I visualize the scene at the dance when the time came for Mrs. Churchill to deliver her baby.

Did she say in her best upper-class English accent, "I say, I do so hate to be an old spoil-sport, but I must retire to the powder room and have my baby"? Other than the slight interruption, I wonder if she enjoyed the dance?

Another startling fact: "An ostrich's eye is larger than its brain." Maybe that's why the ostrich can't fly; the brain is too small to tell the big-eyed bird to fly. I wonder, are there any others whose eyes are bigger than their brains? Congressmen, for instance?

Did you know that the full name of Los Angeles is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Se?ora la Reina de Los Angeles"? Good thing it's been shortened. Can you imagine the Los Angeles Dodgers trying to fit the full name on their baseball uniforms?

I believe this column meets the high intellectual standards set by the Rusty Saber over the past 16 years.

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the communication department at Drury College and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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