Useless What I Know

Some things I know. For instance, I know who framed Roger Rabbit. I know how to spell “Mississippi.” And “Ueberroth,” even after, lo, these many years.

I don’t know how to spell “al-Qaeda” and “Qadhafi.” Neither does anyone else, though there are various and sundry opinions.

My sad fate is to be a whiz at almost anything that doesn’t make money. For instance, I can spell. It comes in handy, but no boss ever said, “They’re both talented and energetic, but let’s hire the one who can spell.”

Then again, I never wanted to be a speller by trade.

I’m good with numbers, too, but that doesn’t mean I have business sense. I can remember the uniform numbers of obscure athletes. Last night I put myself to sleep trying to think of every player on last year’s Red Sox. I also happen to know that Ronnie Bull was No. 29, Zeke Bratkowski 12, Don Drysdale 53, Juan Marichal 27, Lou Brock 20, and that both Lance Alworth and Lance Rentzel were 19. I remember the numbers of all my high-school football teammates.

For all the numbers above, it’s been a while.

I know Johnny Unitas went to Louisville and that Y.A. Tittle stood for Yelverton Abraham. I know there was a baseball player named Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish and that Frank “Rebel” Mundy’s real name was Francisco Menendez. I know Al Benton pitched in the big leagues to Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle.

Recently, off the top of my head and by ear, I played and sang the theme of Petticoat Junction on my guitar. It was because someone mentioned Earl Scruggs. It’s embarrassing I knew all those words, particularly since I don’t know the words to many songs more pertinent to contemporary life.

Fortunately, I use all this valuable information each and every day.

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