Nobody in their right mind goes looking for trouble. No one in their wrong mind does either and that includes me. I was simply looking up fun facts to kill some time (People don’t sneeze when they’re asleep). Useless trivia is, in fact, my hobby. I collect it like treasure.
Having a fresh supply of minutiae allows me to turn awkward encounters with strangers into lively exchanges. No more uncomfortable elevator rides or strained laundry room atmospheres for me. No, sir (There’s a gallon of water in every cubic mile of fog). By dropping a fun fact into weird, deathly quiet settings, kaboom!, the place explodes with relief and happy chatter. Or startled looks. It’s 50 / 50, to be honest.
Anyway, there I was, cheerfully preparing for the inevitable:
> Queen Elizabeth II is a trained mechanic.
>Tsundoku is the act of acquiring books and not reading them.
> A Rubik’s cube can always be solved in 20 moves or less.
> Modern human brains will retain up to 1 quadrillion bits of info over a lifetime.
> Sandstorms are called haboobs.
> Bubbles keep your bath water warmer longer.
> Atlanta has 71 streets with Peachtree in their name.
> Butterflies taste with their feet.
> The plural of cul-de-sac is culs-de-sac.
> Before becoming president, Abraham Lincoln was wrestling champion of his county. In 300 matches he had one loss.
> Relative to their bodies, Chihuahuas have the largest brain in the dog world.
> The average depth of the ocean is 2.7 miles.
> Raquel Welch was once a weather girl.
> Vampires, according to traditional folklore, have arithmomania, a compulsion to count.
> Bananas are a berr —
Whoa, back up. Arithmomania? A counting compulsion? Oh, crap, I do that. I count stuff. Not intentionally and not out loud, but, yep, I’m a counter. Footsteps and stairs, cache clearings, blinks, sheep. I’d never thought about it, frankly, it’s just something I did. Unconsciously and automatically, I keep a running tally in my head. Today I learned it’s one more tic in an already long list of compulsive behaviors: labels have to face front in cabinets and the refrigerator, right angles only in workspaces, clothes must never sit, untumbling, in dryers — it causes wrinkling, which is strictly prohibited.
I won’t bore you with the full list. Suffice to say, I have issues. Harmless ones, sure, but they’re definitely issues. Like the compulsion to wonder if vampire tendencies lurk in my genetic code and are vampires called ‘Count’ because of the arithmomania? Am I Count Whirly?
Oh, good. Guess what I’ll be obsessing about this week (There are more chickens than people in the world).