It’s All True

The following bits of trivia are all TRUE! Please forward them via e-mail to every single person you have ever met.

Until 1992, no one had ever died within the state boundaries of Rhode Island.

Technically, a duck has no mouth. Its bill is considered a nose.

The most common murder weapon in the United States is not the gun or the knife, but the icepick.

The nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” is a metaphor for the Black Plague, with the spider representing the plague and Miss Muffet representing England. It originated as a horror tale designed to scare children.

“Jaws” was the first movie to use the word “shark.”

“King of Pop” Michael Jackson played Albert on “Little House on the Prairie.”

To avoid paying income taxes, all one must do is write to the IRS and request to be taken off their list. The reason most people don’t do this is that there is a lot of paperwork involved.

President William Howard Taft did not have any fingers.

“Hollywood” is the name of an African god. So when you say things like, “I wish ‘Hollywood’ would quit making so many filthy movies,” you are blaming it on an actual deity and probably causing serious trouble for some Africans.

The jack-o’-lantern was named after Christian martyr St. Stephen.

Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, only two are still living today.

Ludwig von Beethoven was black.

There is a secret nightclub under the Matterhorn at Disneyland where cockfights are held nightly. The city of Anaheim is powerless to stop them, because once you get 100 feet below street level, you’re out of the city’s jurisdiction.

Despite living in the ocean, dolphins are not fish. They are birds.

The reason you never see Muppets from the waist down is that they are naked.

Putting one of those “organ donor” stickers on your driver’s license empowers the federal government to take organs from you even while you are still alive.

Gary Larson, creator of “The Far Side,” also invented double-stick tape.

Johnny Carson was once suspended from TV for five days as punishment for saying “scoliosis” on the air.

If you watch “The Wizard of Oz” really closely, you can see a witch being killed by having water thrown on her.

It is against the law to speak Spanish in Switzerland, due to lingering resentment from the devastating Swiss-Mexican War (1889-1901).

Before he was famous, Adolf Hitler appeared as a contestant on “The Dating Game.”

Due to an old Indian curse, every U.S. president elected in a year ending in “0” has had an ugly wife.

Fidel Castro’s favorite TV show is “Friends.” He almost appeared in a guest role for one episode, but the U.S. government nixed it. Scott Baio wound up playing the part instead.

“Alice in Wonderland” author Lewis Carroll used a pseudonym. His real name was Mark Twain.

In Monopoly, it is mathematically impossible to land on both Park Place and Boardwalk if you are the top hat.

Jesse James was a fictional character.

I’m not wearing pants.

The column was inspired by those lists of "Did you know?" trivia people are always passing around the Internet. They're devious little things, because they often have one or two true things in them along with a whole bunch of stupid untruths, like the one about a duck's quack not echoing. (That's stupid. Why wouldn't it echo? Of course it echoes. Don't be stupid.)

I thought it would be fun to make up a list of such tidbits in which every single item was 100 percent false, mostly for my own amusement. And this column does amuse me, to no end. I've also occasionally read bits of it in my live shows.

The rumor that Ludwig von Beethoven was black actually did float around for a while, but I don't know if anyone ever took it very seriously. I stumbled across it while looking through urban legends for inspiration. The icepick one, too, was put forth by someone in all seriousness, but is demonstrably false.

I struggled for quite some time in determining who should have played Fidel Castro's role on "Friends." Corey Feldman, Nipsey Russell and Meredith Baxter all made it to the computer screen before I settled on Scott Baio.

Received this e-mail at work. Note the amazing leap he makes from "not wearing pants" to "no self-esteem."

Dear Eric Snider:

I read your article today (Wednesday August 8th) and I was set asside a bit by your final suggestive comment that you were "not wearing pants." I'm sorry you don't like yourself very much (as this comment clearly denotes to thinking individuals). You can't blame anyone but yourself, you know. Too bad you take your low opinion of yourself out on the community, when it's not their fault. Such hostility is common and sad.

I'd aptly apply for your writing position, but the Daily Herald couldn't afford me.


Merlin Ross

I wrote back and told him he could apply at The Daily Herald, but we already have enough lunatics working for us.

We got this by mail a few days later. It does not indicate which specific column it refers to, but the letter was dated Aug. 8 (the day this one ran), so we're assuming it goes here.

It was obviously intended as a letter to the editor, but the signature was truly illegible and there was no return address.
Dear Daily Herald Editor:

Why on earth do you have Eric Snide writing for your newspaper? His articles are so innane (otherwise considered lame by others). He wastes good newspaper space on nothing. Snider was a joke when he was a student at B.Y.U., now he has found someone to pay him to be be a page filler. The sad thing is that the man believes he has talent. [No, he doesn't] There are middle school children who write better than Snider. Why don't you have that age bracket write articles for you? Please, dump Snider. He ruins an otherwise respectable newspaper.

Thank you.

Illegible McGarbled

Sometimes I think it's the same person writing variations of the same letter, over and over again.