In addition to a notebook dedicated to Harry Potter trivia and another now full of questions relating to The Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit (Do you know what order the dwarves arrive at Bilbo’s house? I don’t either, though she’s asked/told me at least a dozen times – but I can tell you Nicolas Flamel’s wife is named Perenelle, for those of you stumped by my earlier post), Abby also has a notebook dedicated to “weird-but-true” facts.
This notebook includes must-know information like: the veins of a blue whale are large enough for a human to swim through, for two decades a cat named Stubbs was the Mayor of a town in Alaska, and there are 100 folds in a chef’s toque (I didn’t even know it was called a toque; in Canada a toque references a hat we wear in cold weather).
Banana are berries (but strawberries and raspberries are not). Google’s first name was BackRub (for real). The M’s in M&M’s stand for Mars and Murrie. Rabbits can’t vomit (they lack a gag reflex) and humans have a “nasal cycle” where one nostril at a time trades-off doing the majority of the work (this cycle happens about every 2 hours when we’re awake; every 4.5 hours when we’re asleep).
And, because your life could hardly go on without this gem, the marshmallows in Lucky Charms are actually called marbits.
I have one to contribute to her growing collection: Charles Osborne hiccupped for 68 years straight; check out this blurb from Guinness World Records: “Charles Osborne (USA, 1894-1991) started hiccoughing in 1922 while attempting to weigh a hog before slaughtering it. He was unable to find a cure, but led a normal life in which he had two wives and fathered eight children. He continued until a morning in February 1990.”
Well, if that won’t make you a vegan, nothing will.
I assume they mean he stopped hiccupping on a morning in February 1990, not fathering children.
Also, can we all agree how sad it is these hiccups persisted until one year before his death? Although, perhaps, hiccups are a key to longevity – he lived for almost a century.
Beyond feeling like I’m slowly going crazy from all this trivia, it has left me thinking about we all have our own “weird-but-true” realities.
Here are a few of mine:
- Early in my first pregnancy – at the height of my morning/all-day sickness – I would eat lunch every day while watching Laura Calder’s cooking show French Food at Home. Just hearing the intro music (and similar musical scores) makes me nauseous. I can hear the song in my head and while typing these words I can feel my throat constricting. No joke. Needless to say, I no longer watch this show.
- I only eat watermelon if I have a salt shaker handy. This habit comes from my Mom’s side of the family but I’m the only one of my siblings to carry the tradition forward. I don’t put salt on any other fruit (and don’t even like peanut butter or other dips like chocolate or caramel on fruit) – but I have to have salt for my watermelon. I don’t like the taste of plain watermelon at all (but don’t put salt on honeydew or cantelope, oddly enough). I didn’t say these weird things had to make logical sense!
- I love writing cheques. I only write a handful each month, but it is one of the most satisfying things I do. I have no idea why I find it so calming and enjoyable. Years ago, as part of a job, I had to write a whole stack of cheques each month and it was my favourite thing about the entire role.
- I have an incredibly sensitive back. If someone puts their hand out toward the center of my back I start into involuntary contortions. In university, labmates would walk by me (when my head was buried in a microscope so I couldn’t see my surroundings) and tap the center of my back. They were nice people, but clearly not above exploiting this weird trait.
- I HATE the sound of popping balloons. I avoid blowing up balloons as much as possible and always, always worry they’re going to pop on me. When I was a kid I remember playing a game where everyone got a balloon tied to their ankle and then everyone had to run around trying to pop other people’s balloons. The last person standing with an intact balloon was declared the winner. I would immediately plug my ears and pop my own balloon and rush off to the side of the room, keeping my ears plugged until the game was over. Everyone else seemed to love this game. I also remember at another event having paper clues hidden inside ballons and you had to pop the balloons to access the clues. My. worst. nightmare. Even now I would NEVER pop a balloon. I always stretch out the “neck” and cut it off with scissors.
- As a kid one of my favourite treats was slices of raw potato. Whenever my mom would peel potatoes for supper, I would cut off slices and top them with salt (see note about about watermelon; I promise I have great blood pressure). I never, never eat raw potato now, but it was one of my favourite snacks as a child.
- I can’t roll my tongue and it drives me crazy. Everyone else – including my kids – can do this. If I’m looking in a mirror I can almost get it to work. One family member can ROLL their tongue like a wave and turn it 90 degrees to the side. I also can’t wiggle my ears, my nose, or cross my eyes. Sigh.
What about you? Any weird, but true, facts you’re willing to share? Unusual pet peeves? Anyone else put salt on their watermelon? It’s delicious!
Header photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash
25 thoughts on “I Put Salt On My Watermelon (And Other Weird, But True, Facts)”
Ha. I legit LOL-ed at this: “I assume they mean he stopped hiccupping on a morning in February 1990, not fathering children.”
I’m sure you don’t want to know and I don’t know how I picked up this gem, but… the fear of popping balloons is a full-fledged “kink.” YW 😀
I have heard about that hiccough guy and CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE. Ahhhh! I can’t.
I like these random facts, both about you and the other facts! I haven’t written a cheque in ages! I have a real aversion to anyone touching my face. I have never had a facial, and I also don’t like massages. When I get my hair cut, I get super tense when they are washing it, in case they touch my face, which they invariably do around the hairline.
Ha ha, I had a similar thought about Charles Osborne- “That’s what he gets for slaughtering a hog!” But what I really want to know is, what made the hiccups stop? Did they just stop as randomly as they started? Or did he discover a miracle cure? So many questions about this one.
So about your sensitive back- does this mean you can’t get a massage? As a massage therapist, I’m curious about this.
I’ve never put salt on any fruit, but there’s a flavor of LMNT (an electrolyte replacement drink) called “salted watermelon,” and it’s actually my favorite. So maybe the next time I have a hot and sweaty run I should just cut a piece of watermelon and put some salt on it! Seriously, I’m going to try it this summer.
I CAN get a massage, thankfully. She always rubs up and down my back in long strokes first which completely de-sensitizes it. My shoulders and neck are never an issue, either. It’s just sporadic movements toward the main part of my back just set me off. It’s mostly not an issue (because there just aren’t that many cases in normal life when it happens), but is very annoying when something sets me off! Also, if I touch my OWN back, it’s fine. So it’s a construct of my mind; when I’m in control there is no reaction whatsoever.
Let me know what you think about salt on watermelon! It’s a winner in my books, but outside of my family, I’ve never heard of it elsewhere. But I did meet someone once that put salt on their apples and oranges but, ironically enough, not on their watermelon.
My father used to put salt on everything, but he’s the only one I’ve ever met who salted watermelon. I can see how the salty/sweet would work.
I don’t know if there’s anything weird about me. I went to PT for some back pain I’ve been having recently and he told me that I have GREAT hip mobility compared to the general population. (This same hip mobility means I compensate for poor back flexibility by cheating and using my hips for most movement, so ha! on me.) Anyway, is that unusual? Ugh. Why am I so boring?!
I don’t think you’re boring! Also, boring is underrated…
Oh gosh, I had the hiccups for about 20 minutes on Saturday and it DROVE ME CRAZY!! I can’t imagine having them for THAT long. Surely they weren’t the violent/aggressive ones I get! Or he would have lost his mind!
So interesting, my mom would give us slices of raw potato when she was making something w/ potatoes when I was a kid! I will occasionally eat a little raw piece now as an adult and it brings back good memories.
It’s hard to come up with random quirks on the spot, so I need to think on this. But one thing that comes to mind is that I really hate stepping on the cracks of sidewalks, and if I am walking on a tile floor with large enough tiles, I will try to step in every other tile. I realize this makes me sound like Rain man!
I had some Egyptian friends who always paired feta cheese with watermelon so…similar…sort of? 🍉 🧀
Weird but true facts: I can draw a beautiful right eye, but not much else.
On the Lord of the Rings topic, I used to own a life-sized cardboard cutout of Legolas. It startled many people who thought there was an intruder standing in my room (and later when it was stored in my closet) 😂
Abby told me about the Legolas cutout and I think she thinks that makes you the coolest person ever (which you are of course). It reminds me a bit of Kevin using the cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan as part of his technique to keep Marv and Harry away in Home Alone.
Can you not draw a left eye? How did I not know this? How is the market for artists specializing in right eyes?
That’s a good point about the feta and watermelon, which I’ve seen/had. That does me sense. Goes to show how advanced my culinary palate is…haha.
Yep, also Team Salt on Watermelon over here! Got it from my mom…assuming maybe my grandma did it too? I also like salt on melon/ cantaloupe. And apples! Mmm. I really like salt on apples. I have that as an afternoon snack fairly often. I am a big salt fan in general, though! So I may have a higher/odd tolerance/preference for salt on things. On sliced tomatoes I like sugar OR salt.
I love salt. I will have to try it on the apples. I’ll admit I don’t really like other melons and I wonder if it’s because my mom never put salt on anything other than watermelon? My mom did always put sugar on her cantaloupe, which I don’t do.
My only really intense pregnancy craving was vine tomatoes with salt. I ate so many early in my pregnancy. I’ve never tried sugar on tomatoes, but I’m sure it would be delicious.
LOL to the part about stopping hiccuping and not fathering children. So very weird that he died soon after! And I have SO MANY questions! Like… how obtrusive was it? How often did it happen — are we talking every few seconds, or maybe minutes between each hiccup?
I am trying to think of weird but true facts but… I cannot. Probably my husband would be better equipped to share them with you.
OH! I thought of one! And it’s hiccup related! My daughter and I have some weird hiccup connection, where if she gets hiccups, I know that I will get them soon after. It has nothing to do with food; she eats nothing. The frequency has lessened over the years, but I kind of hope that we always have that connection. That way if I get hiccups while she’s in college or when she’s a middle aged lady, I will know that we still share that weird little bond.
How does one sleep while hiccuping? I also feel like I would slowly go crazy from the sound alone.
I have never heard of “contagious/telepathic” hiccups but that is a fun and unusual bond! Well, fun as long as they don’t last every long.
Feels like something twins might get?
these are fun facts! I get the watermelon with salt, kind of like pineapple with salt, but raw potato? that I can’t understand, hahah.. maybe is should try it to taste it!
I need to think about weird things , I guess if I do them regularly they are not weird to me anymore.
How true – things stop being “weird” to us after we do them. To me putting salt on watermelon is very normal, but I know it’s abnormal to other people because of the strange looks I’ve gotten through the years!
I rarely eat watermelon they are so expensive here but I would love to try it with salt, it is lovely with feta so I am sure the salt would be tasty too. I had also heard the hiccuping story, that is an insanely long time to have had hiccups, I would expect that he missed them when they stopped after all that time.
I can never retain trivia, my brother is a master at it. I do love to read it though but it is instantly forgotten!
Weird facts…..I can write legibly with both hands, I favour my right hand for writing and my left for pretty much everything else. I was also once sold for five camels when travelling around Morocco with two male friends, it was all in jest but still….
I think it would be SO cool to be ambidextrous! That is an awesome “weird but true!”
The story about the camels is very unique. I can honestly say I’ve never heard someone tell me they have been sold for 5 camels; I feel like that would be a very valuable transaction, so I’d wear it with a badge of honour?! 5 camels feels pretty substantial as opposed to say, five guinea pigs?
YES I hate popping balloons. The worst. I didn’t like that game either as a kid. I even jump when a ballon pops in a movie or is purposely pricked. Arghh.
One weird fact for me. I can not drink milk. My reflexes start when I see milk in a glass. However I can drink buttermilk no problem. preferable not from a glass but I can. Those things just don’t make sense.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a balloon burst on a movie. I think I’d be okay with it in an animated context, but in “real” life it would bother me.
That is so crazy. You are only the second person I know who drinks buttermilk. I used to work with someone from Russia and he would literally buy and drink an ENTIRE carton of buttermilk straight from the carton. It blew me away.
I don’t really drink milk anymore because of lactose intolerances, but I grew up drinking milk every day! I don’t miss it at all now. My mother and sisters refuse to drink milk (but my Mom will drink the milk left on her cereal).
We all have our “quirks…”
Weird random facts must be some of the coolest things to collect. I love that Abby has a whole notebook full of tidbits.
I have not heard of anyone putting salt on watermelon (why? Does it enhance the flavor?) but I think most people have at least one (if not multiple) interesting food habits. I, for one, put sugar on my scrambled eggs (when I eat them with sweet yeast bread).
We put sugar IN our scrambled eggs before cooking them…but I’ve never tried putting it on top.
I also really, really want ketchup on my scrambled eggs…but I think that’s pretty standard?
Oh, my goodness. This is so odd! I KNOW I have quirks – many of them – but I cannot think of one to share just now. Huh. I need to give it more thought. 😉
I think salt on watermelon makes a lot of sense actually… particularly since the feta+watermelon combo is soooo good.
No one seems to think I’m too crazy for this one, so I’m relieved! I wasn’t going to give up my salty habit either way…it’s just too delicious.
I have never heard of putting salt on watermelon, but now I really want to give it a try. I LOVE watermelon!
I think the quirkiest thing about me is that I am obsessed with playing with my hair when it’s down. I will twirl it, braid and unbraid different sections, run my hands through it, etc. I’ll even play with my hair if it’s in a ponytail so I always have to have it up in a bun so that I can’t play with it, lol. This is probably why my hair gets greasy so fast – I play with it too much!
Hmm! I feel like this is pretty common, so you’re in good company! I don’t play with my hair very much, but tend to have it up in a bun almost always, so I don’t give myself much of a chance…
Salt on watermelon is DELICIOUS (to me). Report back to let me know what you think 🙂