Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. ~ Psalm 19:2 (NIV)
Sometimes my husband is like one giant PEZ dispenser. I never know what flavor-filled fact will pop out of his mouth.
Because of his propensity to store up miscellaneous bits of colorful information, I’ve learned a lot of things I never wanted to know.
Off the top of my head, here are a few:
- Bernardo O’Higgins is considered one of Chile’s founding fathers. He was an independence leader in the early 1800s credited for helping free Chile from Spain.
- Athena sprung into existence from the head of Zeus. (She didn’t really. I looked this one up.)
- The cracking noise a whip makes happens when the end of the whip breaks the sound barrier.
- While I’m on the topic of sounds, the tick tock of a clock is due to the teeth of the escape gear-advancing against the rocking anchor’s pallets. The rocking is caused by the pendulum’s motion. (Huh?)
- My husband would be comfortable ordering breakfast at Horn & Hardart if any were still in existence.
- Coffee beans consumed and processed by various fauna are extremely expensive. (Trust me, if you don’t know why already, you don’t want to.)
- The Florida Keys seceded from the United States in 1982, renaming themselves “The Conch Republic.” Their motto was “We seceded where others failed.” (He has the t-shirt to prove it.)
- How Clovis, New Mexico got its name.
- The Australian lyrebird can imitate many bird calls along with the sound of chainsaws, car alarms, gun shots, and camera shutters. It’s not a liar bird, even though it fakes these sounds. Its tail is shaped like a lyre.
- Even though my husband and I have never owned or ridden horses, he told me how to hobble one and why. (I guess you never know . . .)
- I learned about the “Lunch with Uncle Pete” show, a staple of Philadelphia television which aired in the 1950’s till the early ‘60’s. But, since my husband grew up in Virginia, which didn’t air Philadelphia shows, he can’t tell me how he would know this or why he would have had a metal tray displaying Pete’s image. (It all sounds a little creepy to me.)
- Dragons do not have hands, just feet, and probably don’t eat dumplings.
I’ve also learned that he gets more answers right on Jeopardy, blurting them out before I can finish reading the board. However, since he seldom phrases his answers as a question, I add the “What is” and the Who is” and give myself equal points. (It’s a system that works well for us, well, more so for me.)
There is one specific topic I don’t find near as fascinating as he does. The weather. While he’s listening to meteorologists like Eric, Barry, Todd, Mike, or Mish, I act as the color commentator. “I like Eric’s tie. It matches Lisa’s dress. Barry needs a haircut, don’t you think? Did you see that suit Todd was wearing? It was almost as white as his teeth. He looked like a Good Humor man. Doesn’t she know that a hairdo like that makes her nose look big?”
I think my husband checks the radar before he goes out to check the mail. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but more often than not, he knows what’s going on in all 50 states. Since I only live in New Hampshire, the importance of the wind speed in Kansas is lost on me.
And what do I know from snow ablation to advection fog? Cold fronts to and high pressures? Cirrus to cumulonimbus clouds? Dew points to dry-line bulges? All I want to know is if I need a coat or an umbrella. And if I’m not going out that day, why should I care? Haven’t I got enough to worry about now that I know dragons are real?
Truthfully, I am never bored and usually amazed at how these subjects come up. Here’s our conversation from lunch yesterday, after some preliminary chit chat about the invasion of ducks in Thailand — the big news story that day.
HE: “Punt guns have been outlawed in the United States for over 100 years.”
ME: “Good to know. What’s a punt gun?”
HE: “It’s a huge shot gun, about 10 to 12 feet long, weighing in at around 200 pounds. It kicks like a herd of mules.”
ME: “Why would anyone want to use one?”
HE: “For market hunting.”
ME: “What’s market hunting?”
HE: “It’s where hunters killed between 50 and 100 birds with one shot and then sold them to restaurants and hotels. It was outlawed by the Lacey Act of 1900.”
Everyone has things in life they have a vague curiosity about, things that don’t always warrant an all out search on Google. These are the things about which I ask my husband. For instance, over breakfast this morning, when I asked him to tell me something about whales, here’s how it went.
HE: “They do not chew cud.”
ME: “What exactly is cud anyway?”
HE: He swallowed his oatmeal before he replied. “Food burped up by ruminants.”
ME: “Ruminants?” I had no idea what he meant.
HE: He held another spoonful at mouth level. “They’re mammals who get nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in one of their stomachs prior to digestion. Like cattle, bison, buffalo, deer, antelopes, giraffes, camels, and chevrotains.”
ME: “Oh.” It sounded familiar, so I suspected it might have been one of those things I’d heard before but didn’t care enough about to remember. “What’s a chevrotain?”
HE: “A mouse deer.”
Facts go in his head, facts come out. Sorta like cerebral cud. But better tasting. Like PEZ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. ~ Colossians 3:18-19 (NIV)