It's been twenty years since I'd first read The Great Gatsby. I was twenty-one and it seemed that everyone was talking about it. It felt like the book to have in your back pocket. In the two years since I'd read it, though, I had fallen out of love with Fitzgerald's style, his prose which is so beautiful and lush. He makes it all seem effortless but there was a time when I didn't think this was true. When he first published The Great Gatsby, people called it overwritten—the story is told from Nick Carraway's perspective as he tries to understand Jay Gatsby's life while he visits Long Island. As Nick watches the lavish parties unfold around him, we see a side of New York rarely glimpsed by outsiders (in the form of Daisy Buchanan and her sister, Myrtle) and witness the slow dissolution of the young and beautiful, who are caught in the middle of what seems to be a dream.

But that's not why I remember the book. The real reason is that, on the inside cover, I wrote down a list of fifteen facts I couldn't stop thinking about. Here they are:

There are pounds of bacteria in you right now.

There is about 2 to 9 pounds of bacteria in your body. CRACKED GOM The human body contains trillions of microorganisms, outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. These microorganisms make up about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass, and play a vital role in human health.

BBC

A sprayable cast failed, but gave us Silly String.

Silly String was originally designed to be a spray on cast. CRACKED.COM Inventor Leonard A. Fish worked with chemist Robert P. Cox to invent a spray-on cast that could harden in seconds to help broken bones set. When this did not work, they used it instead as a children's toy.

Gizmodo

The dead body of a Pope was dug up for his own trial.

A Pope was once put on trial, after his death. CRACKED.COM In 897, Pope Stephen VI had the corpse of a previous pope, Formosus, exhumed, perched on a throne, and questioned about his crimes. The event is known as the Cadaver Synod.

Atlas Obscura 

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Spam predates the telephone.

In 1864, the first spam message was sent through the telegraph. MARCONT NIMELERS AMERICA NEW YORK CRACKED.COM The messages were simple, asking wealthy Americans to part with their hard-earned money with dubious investment offers that promised massive returns on large investments.

Time 

Stopping zombies involved a mouth full of rocks.

Stones were placed in the mouths of corpses so they couldn't come back to life. CRACKED.COM These Vampire Burials involved placing a rock in the jaws of the dead before being lowered to the grave, so that the body couldn't resurrect and infect the living with what killed it - usually diseases the living couldn't understand.

National Post 

Did the richest man in the world step through the exit door of his plane thinking it was the bathroom?

The third richest man in the world once vanished on his private airplane. CRACKED.COM In 1928, on a flight to Brussels, Alfred Loewenstein walked to the lavatory and never returned. Some suspect he walked through the wrong door and fell out of the aircraft to his death.

Chicago Tribune 

The legislator that gave us “Draconian” laws was applauded to death.

An Athenian legislator was killed by adulation. CRACKED.COM Following an address to the citizens of Aegina during the 7th century ВС, Draco the Lawgiver was showered with adulation - and gifts. The crowd threw cloaks, hats, and other clothing until Draco was smothered under the pile.

History Collection 

A prisoner pulled a “Shawshank” with homemade nunchucks.

An inmate escaped a St. Louis prison with a pair of homemade nunchucks. CRACKED.COM Earning him the nickname Bruce Lee, Lorenzo Pollard battled his way through dozens of guards and multiple levels of the jail with the weapon he made from linen and the legs of a chair.

NBC 

The dinos may not be scientifically accurate, but they got Spielberg a degree.

Steven Spielberg earned college credit for Jurassic Park. RASSIK CRACKED COM When Spielberg re-enrolled at California State, Long Beach to earn his BA more than 30 years after dropping out, he was given three course credits in paleontology for making Jurassic Park.

Time 

“Mammy” won the Oscar before she could sit with the white attendees.

The first African American to win an Oscar was sat at a segregated table. CRACKED.COM When Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940, for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind, she had to make her way to the stage from a segregated table at the back of the room.

Hollywood Reporter 

A SNES game Easter egg is an LSD trip.

A secret level in Starfox has you battle a giant slot machine in space. STARFOX Nintend Revolutionary Super FX Micro Chip Creatos Speci Effects Like Never Before! CRACKED.COM Here you fight paper planes to dizzying carnival music, before finally facing off against a slot machine - shoot the lever and get straight 7's to beat it.

Youtube 

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