12 Paradigm-Shifting Bits of Trivia That Came to Us in a Dream, Fully-Formed, As If They Had Both Always and Never Before Existed

Plennie L. Wingo was kind of an nega-Gump
12 Paradigm-Shifting Bits of Trivia That Came to Us in a Dream, Fully-Formed, As If They Had Both Always and Never Before Existed

I don’t know where they came from — a higher power? A parallel universe? The zeitgeist? All I know is that they were beamed directly into my brain in the middle of the night, with such clarity and such force that I bolted straight up and wrote them down with a fervor and lucidity I haven’t felt in decades.

These aren’t just run-of-the-mill trivia tidbits, either. They’re not even merely excellent tidbits. I’m talkin’ about Mr. Peanut’s dark past, the ovine death drive and a real-life Forrest Gump. Mark my words: These factoids are gonna change the trivia game.

The Man Behind the PCR Test Once Hallucinated a Raccoon Alien

Kary Mullis was struck with inspiration while driving to his cabin in 1983, instantly mapping out the protein replication technology behind nearly every modern DNA advancement, known as the PCR method. At that same cabin, he says he was approached by a glowing Rocket Raccoon-type character who addressed him cordially as “Doctor.” (Source)

Johnny Appleseed Was a Real Dude

Pioneer John Chapman would set out ahead of other American settlers traveling west, plant a ton of apple trees and sell them to the settlers after they caught up to him a few months later. (Source)

Youth-Obsessed Tech Guru Is Ready to Spitshine His Own Junk

Bryan Johnson, that Vigo the Carpathian-looking freak who claims to have surgically chiseled himself the body of a teen and does blood transfusions with his minor son, has officially “started penis rejuvenation protocol.” (Source)

‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3’ Wants to Marry You

By way of promotion for the upcoming film, fans can enter to win a free wedding at various chapels across the country — and one to be performed live on the Today show. (Source)

You’re Probably a Lefty When You’re Typing

Largely because it contains “E,” “T” and “A” — the first, second and fourth most-commonly typed letters — the left side of QWERTY keyboards takes 56 percent of the brunt of your incessant tickety-tapping. (Source)

1,500 Sheep Attempted Mass Suicide

In 2005, a group of Turkish shepherds watched as one sheep mindlessly wandered off a cliff and fell to its death. That somehow piqued the other sheep’s interest — they slowly started following the first one to what they apparently thought was a less crowded pasture, and soon the entire flock was sprinting off the cliff. The first 400 died, breaking the fall and saving the lives of the remaining 1,100. (Source)

Plennie L. Wingo: Reverse Forrest Gump

Bored and unemployed during the Great Depression, Wingo was inspired to walk around the Earth backwards after hearing some kids say that everything a human could do had already been done. He made it across the United States, caught a ship to Germany, and walked to Istanbul, where Turkish authorities told him to quit screwing around. A rich Italian put him on a ship back to California, and he retro-ambulated the final leg from there to his home state, Texas. (Source)

People Keep Pushing Peanuts Up a Mountain With Their Noses

The Great Depression made people perform some TikTok-level idiocy. In 1929, a man named Bill Williams made a $500 bet that he could push a peanut up Colorado’s Pikes Peak with his nose in under 22 days. He attracted such a big and rowdy crowd, they’d fight over his discarded shoes and kneepads. Another guy, Ulysses Baxter, did it in the 1960s. A college student claims to have done it in the 1970s — in under 5 days — but Baxter says, “I think he’s full of shit.” (Source)

7 Up’s Clever Arabic Language Hack

7 Up wanted to maintain their iconic logo, but they had two problems to solve: 1) Arabic uses different characters than the Roman alphabet; and 2) is read from right to left. In this logo, the red circle reads “seven,” and the 7 is made up of two characters that spell “Up.” (Source)

‘Taser’ Is a Triple-Layered Acronym

“Taser” is short for “Tom Swift’s electric laser” (the inventor was a huge fan of sci-fi adventure protagonist Tom Swift). “Laser” stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” which itself is named after “maser,” or “microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” (Source)

George W. Bush’s Bizarre Diplomatic Gifts

He received 300 pounds of lamb meat from Argentina, a puppy named “Balkan of Gorannadraganov” from Bulgaria, a pair of rollerblades from the Netherlands and a Komodo dragon from Indonesia. Most of these sound like clever assassination attempts. (Source)

Is Mr. Peanut Pulling a Don Draper?

In 1942, the Department of Agriculture put out this propaganda poster of Mr. Peanut charging into battle, in recognition of the humble peanut’s heroic role in increasing domestic vegetable oil production after global supply chains were decimated by war. That’s the stormy grimace of a man who has repeatedly blooded his bayonet. Add to that the fact that his real, canonical name is Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe, and we're starting to think he may have returned home after the war to live the life of a fallen comrade. (Source)

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