Fun, Random Trivia

Did you know that sardines aren’t actually a specific kind of fish? I didn’t! It’s just one piece of interesting trivia featured in Leland Gregory’s Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Through the Ages, originally published in 2007 by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Stupid History by Leland Gregory from Amazon

Here’s the scoop on sardines, as described in the book:

“…there’s no such fish as a sardine. The name applies to any small fish packed in sardine cans. (They’re usually pilchard or small herring.)”

How have I not known that until now?

And ever wonder why sardines are squeezed so tightly into their cans? The author explains that, too:

“The reason sardines are packed, well, like sardines isn’t because companies are trying to give you your money’s worth — it’s because the oil they’re packed in costs more than the fish themselves.”

I found that very interesting. I actually don’t even eat sardines, but we’ve all heard the expression he alludes to; whenever things are cramped, people remark that they’re packed tighter than sardines in a can. I used to wonder why the companies don’t just use bigger cans — now I know it’s all about the oil! Call me a geek, but I love random trivia like this!

Reading this book interested me in finding out what else Leland Gregory has written; I love real-life stories like this that make me laugh or see things in a new light! Turns out he has a lot of books out! The next one I chose by him was Idiots at Work: Chronicles of Workplace Stupidity (Andrews McMeel Publishing, September 1, 2004). Another entertaining read!

Idiots at Work by Leland Gregory from Amazon

Here’s an amusing part of the book, to give you an idea of the kind of material it covers:

“A fifty-two-year-old man in Calcutta, India, who had applied for a state government job finally got the interview he was hoping for — thirty years later. Ravindra Nath Halder was just a teenager when he applied at a state labor exchange office in West Bengal. More than three decades later, Ravindra, now a grandfather, was very surprised to get the letter saying an interview had been granted for the position. Mohammad Amin, India’s Labor minister, said it often took ‘a long time’ for a person to be called for an interview.”

And you thought it took you a long time to hear back from employers?!

Although, at least this man eventually heard — how many times don’t employers today just ignore applications all together, without even bothering to say, “Thanks, but no thanks!” I mean, of course it’s ludicrous that Ravindra’s application took so long to be responded to, but why employers also feel OK ignoring applicants (often even after they’ve taken time to interview!) has also always bothered me. But that’s a story for another time.

What I like most about Leland Gregory’s writing is that he verifies all the stories he includes in his books. For instance, when I Googled the interview story above, I saw that it had in fact been reported and confirmed by reputable sources like the BBC. (Yes, I had to do a spot check myself. Call me neurotic — because I am!)

So if you too enjoy random trivia and true accounts of silly/nonsensical things that happen in life, I suggest looking up Leland Gregory’s work!


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