Fun facts taking up brain space

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Have you ever wondered about all the useless junk stored in our memory banks? In my head is algebra. I know because I put it there in order to graduate from high school.

Why algebra is in there taking up brain space is a mystery to me because I haven't used it since the day I walked out of ninth grade. I haven't done much with geometry or chemistry either, but they are in there, too.

While I appreciate Shakespeare and his talent for stringing words together so beautifully, I don't do much quoting from Romeo and Juliet. But somewhere in my head there are passages from that famous work stored for eternity.

Maybe the stuff I don't use is taking up the space I need for important things like remembering where I put my glasses or what I did with the key to the lawn mower.

I was thinking about this when I got an e-mail titled "facts to make you smarter." Since I am all for being smarter, I read on. Here are just a few of those facts. See if you feel smarter after you read them.

*A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out. (Who knew; maybe another crocodile; and who sat around watching for a crocodile's tongue to pop out?)

* A snail can sleep for three years. (Not the ones in my flowerbeds.)

*Butterflies taste with their feet. (If their noses run, they are built upside down.)

*Cats have more than 100 vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10. (And they make every one of them outside my window after midnight.)

*No word in the English language rhymes with month. (This is also true of the word orange; a fun useless fact I pulled from my memory.)

*Our eyes are the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. (I know another part of the anatomy that keeps growing too, but that is a column for another day.)

*The cruise liner, QUEEN ELIZABETH II, moves only six inches for each gallon of fuel it burns. (That is also true of a 1985 truck when it is on its last legs).

*Women blink nearly twice as much as men. (We are blinking in disbelief about something a man said or did.)

*If you are an average American, in your life, you will spend an average of six months waiting at a red light. (If you hit the light on the bypass just right, you can subtract from that amount of time, depending on how dangerously you are willing to live.)

*In most advertisements, including newspapers, the time displayed on a watch face is 10:10. (Wonder if that is a.m. or p.m.).

*There's no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables. (This is just wrong.)

*Did you know that crocodiles never outgrow the pool in which they live?

That means if you put a baby croc in an aquarium, it will be little for the rest of its life. (And remember, it won't be sticking its tongue out either.)

*A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second. (I think a Southern jiffy is just a little bit longer than that.)

*The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. (And drives typing students mad.)

*It's impossible to lick your elbow. (I heard it was kissing your elbow, and if you managed to do it, you'd turn into the opposite sex.)

*On average, a human being will have sex more than 3,000 times and spend two weeks kissing in their lifetime. (I don't know how that works for humans who manage to kiss their elbows.)

*More than 50 percent of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call. (Most of those are parents of teenagers.)

*In the course of an average lifetime you will, while sleeping, eat 70 assorted insects and 10 spiders. (Thank the Lord they didn't say roaches because I'd be taping my mouth shut at night.)

*Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different. (We don't know if this is true for crocodiles; I think the reason is obvious.)

Well, thanks to that e-mail, I filled more valuable brain space with information I'll probably use, and so did you.

By the way, don't add wasted time to wasted brain space by trying to kiss, lick or in any way put your mouth on your elbow. Trust me, it ain't possible.