1000 Things Worth Knowing: Circa 1913

I mentioned this book in my last post–I goofed on the title because I was trying to recall it from memory.  It is called “1000 Things Worth Knowing” and was written by Nathaniel C. Fowler, Jr. and was published in 1913.  If you click on the link you actually can read the entire book online!  You know, if like me you are up at 1 am and have nothing better to do!

This book belonged to Aaron’s grandfather and he has his name and the year 1927 written inside.  As you can imagine, there are some funny little tidbits of wisdom to be found.  Of course the human races knowledge has grown SO MUCH over the last 100 year but it is interesting how much of what in this book is true even today.  I thought I’d share some of the things that Mr. Fowler though was worth knowing back in 1913!  My comments follow in red.

  • Apparent Death–Never assume that a person is dead because he appears to be.  Summon a physician.  A fairly good test of death is to hold the hand of the person apparently dead before a candle or other light, with the fingers stretched out, each touching each other.   Gaze intently between the fingers, and if the person is alive, a red or pink color will undoubtedly be seen where the fingers touch each other.   I’m guessing this is before they discovered what a pulse was?! 
  • Cleanliness–It is said that cleanliness is next to godliness. The fact that thousands of persons enjoy good health without even taking an infrequent bath must not be used as an argument against regular bathing.  These persons, if in health, live out of doors and Nature seems to take care of them; but it is obvious that they would be healthier and stronger is they gave proper attention to bodily cleanliness.  The practice of a partial bath is not to be recommended.  When you take a bath, take it all over.  Just say NO to bird baths!
  • Exercise:  Walking is the best of all for it can be enjoyed by those in poor health or physically weak.  Everyone should walk at least 2 miles a day in the open air, unless he is weak.  Still great advice!  I had a 96 year old patient recently who walked 2 miles every single day either outside or on her treadmill.  It may take her an hour (or more) to do it, but she would do it!
  • Headaches–Under no circumstances take a headache powder, or any drug whatsoever, without the advice of your physician.  Can you imagine calling your doctor now and complaining of a headache?!
  • Vomiting–Lie down and hold small pieces of ice in your mouth.  If it continues, consult a physician. 
  • Brain–As the action of  the brain has not as yet been seen by man no one at the present day knows just what it is.  It would appear that the size of the brain unless it is unusually small, has little to do with its quality.
  • Soap–Many of the soaps upon the market are impure and even dangerous and never should be used.  I’m thinking that I have to agree with him still on this one–soaps contain some pretty harmful stuff even now. 
  • Snake Bite–The wound should be washed with sodium solution and large doses of whisky or brandy should be administered. Bring on the whisky!  This seems to be a common trend throughout this book!

So here is my short list of various things that are worth knowing.  Some funny, some serious–well as serious as I can get at 1 am!

  • Tracheostomies–When cleaning a patient’s tracheostomy be sure that the home is free of flies, mosquitoes and other flying creatures.  If a fly is accidentally inhaled, do not freak out but call the physician right away and then prompt the patient to suction themselves frequently until all fly particles are removed.  Yes, this is a true story.  The fly came back out the next day–completely intact I might add–and the patient was fine.  I will never forget that as long as I live.  My co-workers gave me some fly tape at our next staff meeting as a joke.  Ha ha ha.  Very funny! 
  • Potty Training–Do not be embarrassed to use any means necessary when training your child to use the toilet.  It’s okay to tell them that the potty wants to eat their poop.  Really, it is and it works.
  • Don’t eat yellow snow.
  • Your child will think you are the smartest person in the world from ages 0-6.  Then they will start learning stuff in school that you don’t know about and then they start to realize that you aren’t as smart as they thought.  Uh-oh. 
  • There is a swirling vortex of trash floating in the Pacific Ocean that is nearly twice as large as the continental US.  It’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Now go and impress your friends with that knowledge.  Oh–and REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE!!!  

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January 2009

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