I love little-known, interesting tidbits. Call me a did-you-know-aholic.
Usually, when I come across one of those rare morsels, it often gets tucked away for future use. After all, they can be useful at a party, especially one where you may not know many attendees and find yourself standing off to the side doing a lot of listening.
For instance, say you at a gathering of wine-drinking, hors d’oeuvre-nibbling movers and shakers from the area at Lu Mil Vineyard (why not?). You happen to be standing at the edge of the outdoor deck listening to a group talk about how the grape is a fruiting berry of the deciduous woody vines of the botanical genus Vitis … and you suddenly realize you haven’t contributed a thing.
So you reach into your bag of tidbits and say …
“Did you know that the tongue is the only muscle in your body not connected at both ends?”
Now, if that doesn’t just get the entire conversation stopped dead in its tracks, what could?
Well, perhaps these:
— Glass takes one million years to decompose.
— Zero is the only number than can’t be represented by a Roman numeral.
— Kites were used during the Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.
— Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent.
— Gold is the only metal that doesn’t rust.
— The sound we hear when we place a seashell to our ear isn’t the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins of the ear.
— The banana cannot reproduce itself.
— The University of Alaska spans four time zones.
— A tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.
— In Ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.
— Intelligent people have more copper and zinc in their hair.
A comet’s tail always points away from the sun.
— Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers.
— When a person dies, sight is the first sense to go. Hearing is the last.
— Strawberries are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.
— The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.
— The letter “J” does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of elements.
— Eleven percent of people are left-handed.
— Cats spend 66 percent of their life sleeping.
— A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
— The first letters of each month July through November spell JASON.
— The names of all the continents both start and end with the same letter.
— Dreamt is the only word that ends in “mt.”
— The least used letter in the alphabet is “Q.”
— The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters.
— The most common letter used in the alphabet is “E.”
— Birds need gravity to swallow.
— The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.
— Armadillos have four babies at a time and all are the same sex.
— A lobster’s blood is colorless. But when exposed to oxygen, it turns blue.
— Ralph Lauren’s birth name was Ralph Lifshitzrabbits.
— Eight percent of all people have an extra rib.
— About 85 percent of plant life is found in the ocean.
— Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.
— No two snowflakes OR corn flakes look the same.
— Most lipsticks contain fish scales.
— An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
— A bear had 42 teeth.
— The average person falls asleep in 7 minutes.
— Unless food is mixed with saliva, you can’t taste it.
— August has the highest percentage of births.
— Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs.
OK, so now you are well-equipped with a plethora of incredibly intelligent one-liners for use at any get-together. Use them wisely.
But let’s say the get-together or dinner party is being hosted by YOU. Eeeeeks! Now it’s up to you to set the tone for some fun-filled, intellectually stirring conversation. If this gives you the heebie-jeebies, I’m here to help.
Once everyone has arrived, said their hellos and — now this is important — has a beverage in their hand, simply get their attention and announce a little loosing-up activity to get the evening started.
No, not Twister.
Instead, challenge your guests to recite the alphabet … without moving their lips or tongue.
It can’t be done. In fact, every letter will sound the same.
Fun stuff, huh?
— W. Curt Vincent is the general manager and editor of the Bladen Journal. He can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.