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Trivia Day

THERE may be those who don't take notice of such a trivial event, but Jan. 3 was Trivia Day. Trivia has become important in the past two decades, and just because certain information is useless doesn't mean it isn't an essential part of everyone's life. Come to think of it, how much important information do we know? Not much. We get most of it from television, a source of great dubiosity.

Knowing the fact that Florida has the lowest high point in the United States won't buy any groceries, but someone has to know it. Joseph Palmer's name won't be found in a list of great American statesmen, but he was the first American man (outside of certain religious groups) to wear a beard in public. If anyone has taken the trouble to notice, all the early Founding Fathers were clean shaven. Mr. Palmer was even put in jail because of his whiskers.

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It is a matter of triviality, perhaps, that today American men spend 154,000 minutes in a lifetime shaving.

She doesn't appear on any of the music charts, but Effie Crocker wrote ``Rock-a-Bye-Baby.'' Probably no one ever thought of ``Rock-a-Bye-Baby'' as ever being written at all, but there you are. Somebody had to do it. The words are from Mother Goose.

One thing I have not been able to trace. What is the dividing line between trivia and important information? The price of a yak is certainly trivia, unless you happen to live in Tibet and need to buy one.

No one thinks it important to know that a snail can move at a speed of 0.03 m.p.h. It may have some relative importance to a snail, however, if he is planning a trip. It could be of use to know that an elephant can run 25 m.p.h. In case one ever gets chased by an elephant, he can figure his chances of escape on a sort of 50-50 basis.

Trivia Day passed without much notice - which is perhaps the way it should be. How much can one celebrate something without spoiling its triviality? It may be an item of trivia to know how many people knew it was Trivia Day.

If it was more than 1 in 1,000, it might kick it out of the ranks of trivia and into the importance of National Maritime Day.

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