• Barbra Davis

A Dozen Odd Facts to Dazzle Your Friends

Just as I collect odd words and their meanings, I often jot down unusual facts that catch my eye when I am doing research. Here are 12 that I find especially interesting. Feel free to use them as conversation starters or just to sound erudite.


1) Do you know why we wear a wedding ring on the left ring finger? It goes back to ancient Rome, where there was a belief that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand was directly connected to the heart.


2) The arctic reindeer is the only mammal whose eyes change color depending on the season.


3) Tradition holds that shaking hands started as a peace gesture. It proved your hand was empty so you could not be holding a weapon. Also, shaking the hands up and down would dislodge any weapons hidden in your sleeves.


4) Traditionally, there are 100 folds in a chef’s hat (or torque). They represent 100 ways a good chef can prepare eggs.


5) A sheep’s wool never stops growing. It can actually fall over on its back from the weight and die of starvation!


6) The Tinkerbell Effect is a term describing things that are thought to exist only because people believe they do (like the fairy, Tinkerbell, in the Peter Pan story). It is wishful thinking that a person believes can actually happen.


7) More serial killers have been born in November than any other month. (Sorry about that if you were born in November.)


8) A super computer determined that April 11, 1954, was the most boring day in the 20th Century. No major events were recorded for that day, and it’s interesting only because the computer noticed it was not.


9) Female dragonflies will fake their own deaths to avoid mating with unwanted males.


10) The name “PEZ” is an abbreviation for the German PfeffErminZ (my emphasis) or peppermint. Created in 1927, the original candy was round and called “PEZ drops.”


11) According to some sources, the piggy bank’s name originated in the Middle Ages when people kept their money in clay jars. The material used to make those jars was orange-colored clay called “pygg“ in Old English. Over time, people started to refer to them as “pygg jars” and then, “pygg banks.” Before long, the containers evolved into the shape of a pig as well.


12) My favorite: There is a little pouch under each forearm of an otter’s body where they keep their favorite rock. They use these rocks to break open clams and other mollusks to eat.





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