As the truism goes, if we do something notable, history will remember us. Well, except for these four who created great and horrible things, but no one knows who they are.
History, as Napoleon said, is a group of lies agreed upon. Which is true, insomuch as it is mostly false. History tends to honour the important people and frequently turn the truly responsible into dust. As Edison stole from Tesla, Bell stole from Meucci. Apparently, anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s strictly true, because history makes it so. For, who really remembers Antonio Meucci, or what he invented?
For those who said the “telephone”, I accuse your red fingers of quicksilver Googling – or of being a rabid fan of Godfather Part Three; crimes, crimes them both. However, for every genius that the pages of history flipped off, like Meucci, there are those who strove to be Meucci, and sadly, through the transmuting of history, failed. We know not their names, just the crucial objects they graced us with.
Today, I propose a different type of historical figure. People who in their day were pegged as, for want of a better term, freaks. Or perhaps they escaped better judgment by virtue of a conspicuous adjust of the tie, and a quick stage-left exit.
Consider this the post-it note to set history right.
The man who discovered milk
I have but one question. Was the cow the first animal whose urine he decided to sup? If so, did he do so with noble intentions, seeking an entirely new foodstuff for the good of species…or…not? Furthermore, if the cow wasn’t his first stop, what was his goal? And how many animals were on his list?
Upon reaching his Newtonian discovery, brandishing his hopeful handful of bovine bodily fluids to the town, or cave centre, excitedly grunting in gleeful creationist verb…did the collective huddle applaud him? By the powers of Gorp, they certainly did not. Today, raise your canister of cow urine in towering respect to whoever that wizened crackpot be.
Henry Tandey – the man who inadvertently made the World War sequel no-one wanted to see
The story – which is irrefutable, you know, because history – goes like this. Mr Tandey was a common Blighty tommy, a victim of the bastard construct that was the Battle of Ypres (look it up, but do so after breakfast) who, amongst the rumbling horror, stumbled upon a wounded German officer, raised his Enfield at the Fritz, but in a moment of naked humility in a bloody, godless landscape, decided to spare the abject foe. That sparing of a life cost the lives of millions more, for the man who he spared was a guy named Adolf. What happened between 1918-1939? Well, he grew a moustache. And did some other awful, awful things. Now it’s easy to simplify and lay blame at the feet of Tandey, but in his own words, “When I saw all the people and women and children he had killed and wounded I was sorry to God I let him go.”
History, why’d you have to be so rude, why’d you have to torture that dude?
The caveman who invented lying to secure a partner
Glorp has a problem. Glorp doesn’t have what Grump does, that roundy lookin’ thing that all lady like him for. Glorp mad. Glorp say he have bigger wheel, ladies like Glorp. Grump ask Glorp where wheel. Glorp say wheel in other cave, ladies like Glorp.
Thank you, Glorp, for that wonderful demonstration, and forever reducing our species to that horrible cyclical motion of porkies to wallpaper our vast personal shortcomings in order to not die alone.
The Montgolfier brothers, the first victims of the “I’m washing my hair tonight” excuse
Vous êtes un monstre would be a phrase met constantly by the senses of Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier upon mentioning their tres radical plot to fill a sack with hot air and fly around in it. And this isn’t another Glorp/Grump situation here, #femmes, dieu pas, as the brothers achieved the first manned balloon flight in 1783. That they had been diddling with the idea since 1782 doesn’t seem like much, but that is a solid year of one’s life being giggled toward and scoffed at, social engagements rebuffed because vous êtes ce ballon perdant, ne sont pas vous?
And look at their grand work faithfully carried on two centuries after their death, either as a carriage for the drunk, or their grand design twisted into whatever this is.
Incidentally, to find that, I had to Google this:
So, as today comes to a close, let us raise a pitiful thumbs up, or middl’st of fingers to salute these great non-characters of history.