When I was young there was always one man, a friend of my Dad’s, who knew more fascinating (sometimes almost completely useless) facts than anyone I’d met, certainly at that young age. You could pick any subject and he could tell you something obscure about it. I remember checking up a few when I grew older, partly because I was sceptical that such fascinating ‘facts’ were true, and partly because if I was going to pass on this information to others I wanted to be able to tell them a little more about it (I never once found anything he said to be false or even exaggerated).

Today, I was able to educate my son with a true rarity – a fact I’d remembered from QI (a staggering achievement considering my medication). More often than not I’ll watch the half hour programme (or 45 minute QI XL) and be unable to remember a half dozen facts from it. A phenomenon Billy Connolly once mentioned in one of his gigs – the ability to leave a two hour gig and be unable to repeat anything from it.

My son stood, aghast in shock of what he’d learned, replying only “reeeeeeeeeeeeeallllllllllllly?”, as kids do. He held a look of surprise before the almost inevitable “I’m so going to tell [school friend’s name] tomorrow!”

From now on I’m getting armed up. I’m going to scour @qikipedia@scienceporn and @learnsomething daily for something to pass on. I want to be able to say that ‘x’ is a fact and that ‘y’ is an urban myth. I want klaxons going off each time someone says something as fact from QI’s General Ignorance,  but even I know that’s taking it too far.

I want to become that man I admired so much, and I’m thoroughly ashamed to say I can’t recall his name.


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