Brain Candy

It was time for me to shut the lights out and go to bed, but I decided to read just one more page. Along the bottom margin I spotted this one-line snippet of trivial information. “There are 140,000 ladybugs to a gallon.”

Despite knowing that no one would hear me, I yelled into the night, “Ew! Who in the world would research information like this? Why? Who cares how many nasty, stinky ladybugs fill a gallon jug?!” Although I protested, I still found it fascinating to know.

Reading for a short while at bedtime helps me wind down from the day. Trivia books, like the big bible-sized book I had on my lap that evening are the best. They’re interesting, but discourage ‘read-gorging’ for hours on end. The last novel I had read at bedtime kept me up until two in the morning.

Sometimes trivia is so interesting I look up more facts on the topic. My house has always been a magnet for Asian beetles. I’ve wondered why. No one else in my family has as many. I researched the topic and learned that lady beetles leave trails of pheromones wherever they go to attract other lady beetles. I have an invisible vacancy sign over my bugs’ inn.

You never know when useless bits of information will come in handy. Several years ago, a man was at our house to fix its brick exterior. He found a large ‘nest’ of lady beetles while working. He exclaimed, “Oh man, look at this! There’s 2 cups of dead lady beetles behind these bricks. I’ll bet there’s a hundred thousand of them!”

I looked over his shoulder, did some mental math and then casually corrected him, “No, there’s only 17,500 bugs there.”

Trivia makes me think. When I leaned that sisters, Patty and Mildred Hill wrote and composed the “Happy birthday to you” song, I couldn’t help wondering if that’s why people who’ve had more than 40 birthdays are said to be over the hill?

According to Uncle John’s fourteenth bathroom reader, on page 68, plants, like people, run fevers when they are sick. Are you thinking, “Where does a person place the thermometer?” I am. Maybe plants do get fevers. I remember my late husband once telling me crops that don’t get what they need from the soil are more likely to be infested with predator bugs.

In the same Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, I discovered if you have ten books on a shelf, they can be arranged in 3,628,800 ways. The key words are, “can be”. My daughter is a librarian. If those ten books were in the library where she works, they’d be shelved in only one way to allow quick retrieval.

What a surprise it was for me to discover the intimate connection women have to the 1969 moon landing! Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin wore spacesuits made by the Playtex company. I wonder if they were as eager to slip out of them when they returned to the mother ship, Columbia, as women are at bedtime?

I was reluctant to memorize facts from my biology and algebra books when I was in high school. They appealed to me as much as a dose of caster oil. Now, when I read true, but ridiculous facts, I try to commit those tidbits to memory. My high school teachers would consider them as brain candy.

Although I’m not getting any recognition for my efforts, I’m certainly gaining an education. That’s why I think Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Institute should issue ‘proof of readership’ certificates with each book. Housemates of the readers would sign to validate them. Since housemates have to put up with a ton of ‘shared’ information, they’d know if the books had been read or not.

After mentally digesting ten Bathroom Reader books, the reader should warrant a degree. With all the trivia books that I’ve read, I would have already earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and be half way towards completing a Master’s degree in Nonsense-ology.

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