The other day, I noticed that the bottle cap of a beverage that I’ve been buying for a long time had some print inside it. I won’t identify the drink.

But there, in the bottle cap, in type so small my aging eyeballs needed a magnifying glass, it said: “Real Fact # 694: Spiny lobsters migrate in groups of 50 or more, forming a conga line on the ocean floor.”

I was instantly interested. Not in the terpsichorean activities of spiny lobsters, but that the bottler had uncovered at least 694 facts of sufficient interest to be inscribed inside bottle caps.

The bottle cap included an invitation to a website. That was thoughtful. I would not have wanted to buy 57 dozen or so bottles of the beverage to see all the facts.

Sure enough, the website has a Real Facts department that lists, if you scroll down long enough, 1,504 facts.

Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be a Fact number one. The first Fact, number 2, is: “Animals that lay eggs don’t have belly buttons.” That nicely sets the tone, and level of importance, of the information tucked handily in the bottle caps.

Fact number 1,504, the final Real Fact, is “The longest MLB game went 26 innings.” In fact (if I may say so), all the Real Facts from number 1,482 to the end are about baseball.

In between are an astonishing number of facts that you and I almost certainly didn’t know. And have no particular reason to want to.

An example: Beavers can hold their breath for 45 minutes under water.

A few of the caps do offer information that could be useful. One, for instance, warns that mosquitoes are attracted to people who just ate bananas.

Also potentially helpful for some bottle-cap readers: Dim lights reduce your appetite. Children tend to grow faster in the spring. You can burn about 20 calories per hour chewing gum. One brow wrinkle is the result of 200,000 frowns.

Furthermore: On average, you’ll spend a year of your life looking for misplaced objects. Nearly 9,000 people injure themselves with a toothpick each year.

Many facts are interesting, although I’m not sure why. For instance, no only child has been a U. S. President. Leonardo da Vinci could draw with one hand while writing with the other. Napoleon suffered from a fear of cats.

The word "facetious" features all the vowels in alphabetical order. Ancient Egyptians believed the “vein of love” ran from the third finger on the left hand to the heart.

Arachibutiphobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Pearls dissolve in vinegar. Borborygmi is the noise that your stomach makes when you’re hungry.

Some facts I found surprising, if really true: On average, a human being will spend up to two weeks kissing in his or her lifetime. At birth, a human has 350 bones, but only 206 bones when fully grown.

A rainbow can only be seen in the morning or late afternoon. Cows give more milk when they listen to music. Cold water weighs less than hot water. Mongolians invented lemonade around 1299 A. D. A housefly hums in the key of F.

I’ll pay more attention to the Real Facts inside those bottle caps from now on. But one bottle cap insists that your breathing rate increases when you type, so I think I’ll stop writing now.

Visit columnist Jim Smart’s web site at jamessmartsphiladelphia.com.

comments powered by Disqus