Ripley would be proud of the five-legged frog

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 03:50 PM.

“Ripley’s Believe it or Not” cultivated interest in strange and weird stuff. Back in the day it was my favorite section of the Sunday paper.

It showcased things like a woman in Milwaukee being grown in the shape of a potato. Hey wait! Maybe I have that reversed and the potato looked like the woman. Whoever had whatever shape, I’m forever fascinated with the oddities of the world.

In high school, we made up Ripley stuff to put in our school newspaper under the copyright-safe banner, “Believe it or Don’t.” I remember a mathematical “fact” we published in our first edition: “Two plus two equals five million.”

Of course it made no sense whatsoever, but we fell into gales of laughter when it came off the mimeograph machine and hit the halls. Abject stupidity was very much alive and well in my crowd.

Under the cover of the Ripley’s franchise, we poked fun at English and pushed the envelope of high school censorship in the paper. To wit, “A male lamb is called a ‘ram’ and a donkey is called an ‘ass,’ yet a ram in the ass becomes a ‘goose.’ Believe it or Don’t!”

Writing about such Mother Nature detours conjures up fond memories of my paternal grandmother. To this young boy, she was Disneyland way before Walt built the first one.

Grandma Bo never drove past places advertising things like “Two-headed lizard ahead!” or “See the Gila Monster!” She also never passed a “Stuckey’s” because she had a raging pecan habit, which fit nicely with my raging fireworks habit.



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