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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro


“Knowledge is power.” So said Francis Bacon. A statement of undeniable veracity. Our old buddy, Daniel (as in Webster), defines knowledge as the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or education. Given that, Mark Twain had something to throw into the mix: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

I am herewith adding a qualification on knowing stuff: some things are more important to know than others. Some bits of knowledge might help a person win Trivial Pursuit. Other bits might save one’s life.

YKK. My guess is that the average person has no idea they wear these initials on a hefty percent of their apparel. Those three initials are on the zipper slide of the huge majority of zippers in the world. (I just checked a few of my zippered items and found 8 out of 11 with YKK on the slide pull tag.) The letters stand for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha (translated: Yoshida Industries Limited), a company founded in 1934 by Tadao Yoshida. It is now the world's foremost zipper manufacturer, making about 90% of all zippers in over 206 facilities in 52 countries.

A few more generally unknown facts to enhance your life:

The only number whose letters are in alphabetical order is 40 (f-o-r-t-y).

The first computer mouse was called the X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System.

The sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666. (The devil is in the details.)

Octothorpe is the technical term for the hashtag symbol.

The southernmost point in Canada is about the same latitude as northern California.

Portions of 27 U.S. states are farther north than the southernmost part of Canada.

And here is the zinger:

Being nice is better than being mean and makes for a more delightful world for everybody.

Possessing knowledge of the first seven above facts are neither here nor there. Put another way, it doesn’t really make any significant difference whether you know them or not. Au contraire, knowing the effect of being nice and striving diligently to practice it consistently can make a whale of a difference to one’s family members, the neighbors, one’s co-workers, and (extrapolating) the world. The consequence of meanness is virtually always negative. Just like violence begets violence, so does meanness. The result of acting with kindness, politeness, respect, and amicability virtually always produces a pleasant, congenial atmosphere.

What kind of world do we want ours to be?

p.s. I’m betting most readers will be checking a zipper slide or two.

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