Monday, January 26, 2009

Useless information...or not!

So today I had to take CPR and first aid recertification so that I could be be of service if one of my student-athletes gets hurt at practice. Now when I see someone go down and I yell, "Trainer," I'll know what I should be doing if it wasn't the training staff's responsibility to deal with these hurt and injured folks. Let me tell you, these 5 hours of class really made my Monday.

Anyways, I thought the woman who taught the class provided me with some useless trivia concerning the Lifesaver's candy company which I could pull out for the amusement of others the next time I came upon a pack of these delicious, sugary treats. According to this middle-aged woman with a who had a pretty significant background with the American Red Cross, Lifesavers were named because the hole in the middle was supposed to stop people from choking on them. I thought it was an interesting claim, but I have to say I was a bit skeptical (Me, skeptical? Shocking, right?). There's no guarantee the 'saver gets lodged in your esophagus with the hole in the middle allowing airflow, what if it's sideways? It doesn't take much girth or width to choke people, does it?

I didn't call her on it, mainly because I just wanted to get the hell out of the class. I decided to wait until I got home and then refer to Wikipedia. The most trusted name in news... And Wikipedia refeutes this claim as an urban legend. And I trust Wiki on this one. Just my gut. Wiki claims:
"In 1912, chocolate manufacturer Clarence Crane of Garretsville, Ohio invented Life Savers as a "summer candy" that could withstand heat better than chocolate. Since the mints looked like miniature life preservers, he called them Life Savers."
They go on to claim the anti-choking design is an urban legend predicated on a rumor Crane's daughter died by choking on a hard candy and it's design was to present further casualties from terrorist hard candies who go rouge. Intriguing, but it doesn't seem as though anyone has attempted to examine the family history of Clarence Crane in any detail so I will leave the door open for this possibility. This look inside this myth of pop culture lore, however, made me question of of my own widely held random factoids: That Dave Thomas made Wendy's hamburgers square because his foster grandmother told him never to cut corners.

Before I continue I just have to say that if I'm going to eat fast food, I very much like Wendy's. Junior Bacon Chee for $.99? That's like stealing. Just glorious on the tastebuds. And who doesn't like a Frosty? Lactose intolerant and those who are allergic to artificial colors, those are who, but more often than not the lactose intolerant will take a bellyache for the joy of such a tasty creation. But I digress, and wondered, "Have I been spreading lies to you all for the past 10 years?"

The answer is a (moderately) resounding NO, I HAVE NOT! I saw this on a tv show (probably on the Food Network or the History Channel) but I have forgotten exactly where and when as the years have passed. It's like you don't remember when you learned that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but you know it's true. This is how I've felt about my Wendy's story. But this innacuracy inspired me to scour the "internet" for substance and I was able to piece together some information to corroborate my story, it lies below. First, from Dave's Wiki article:
"He would become a well-known advocate for adoption, founding the Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption in 1992. At a young age, he spent much time with his grandmother Minnie Sinclair, whom he credits with teaching him the importance of service and treating others well and with respect, lessons that helped him in his future business life"
Now, from Dave's Biography on the Wendy's site:
"Dave revolutionized the industry in other ways as well. Wendy’s became known for fresh (not frozen) ground beef hamburgers that are square rather than round. Dave explained, “At Wendy’s, we don’t cut corners!” ...When you passionately believe in quality, as Dave did, it becomes part of your everyday life – in how you work; how you treat your customers and your staff; and how you live your personal life."
You may not see the corollary, But I do. His Grandma taught him his values and these values created his attitude not to cut corners. This lead to him not cutting the corners on his burgers. The rest is history. And truth. A to B to C. Not B to S.

(Editor's Note...I searched the "internet" far and wide for a "don't cut corners" quote involving Dave's grandmother for close to an hour before finally just fudging together the "a to b to c" humor because I couldn't find the frigging thing...Then, no lie, 5 minutes after I threw this post up I found: "The greatest lesson she taught me: Don't cut corners on quality." - Dave Thomas, on lessons from his grandmother. So puke a strike through the "moderately" included in paragraph five and give me some love. Who tells the truth? Two thumbs...this guy.)

Now some random Dave and Wendy's trivia:
-Before opening Wendy's he is credited with saving Kentucky Fried Chicken and revolutionizing the fast food industry by simplifying its menu. At the time Dave came on board there was an excessive number of items on the menu (possibly more than one hundred). Working with KFC founder Col. Sanders Thomas stripped the menu down to just the basic fried chicken and salads.

-Dave was a member of the Freemasons and a Shriner. He was also an honoray Kentucky Colonel.

-Other fast food innovations he added to Wendy's which were picked up by other chains include the pick up window as we know it today and, equally important, the first fixed-price value menu.

-The Guinness World Records™ recognized the Dave Thomas Campaign as the “Longest Running Television Advertising Campaign Starring a Company Founder" for his nearly 13-year run (and 800+ commercials) as Wendy’s spokesman.

-In 1990, President G.H.W. Bush asked Dave to head the White House Initiative on Adoption.

-Dave's favorite "gourmet" (Wendy's words, not mine. Quotes added to highlight the unintentional comedy) meal was a Wendy’s Single with cheese, mustard, pickle and onion, fries, bowl of chili, a Frosty and a diet Coke.
The Wendy's nutrition facts site tells me this meal is approximately 1280 calories (the burger with aforementioned items, then small chili, frosty and fries because sizes didn't get huge until long after Dave opened Wendy's so for this projection I'll give him the benefit of the doubt). Nice call on the diet coke though, right? But seriously, if you want to feel gross with some of the late night decisions you've made with a dollar menu follow these steps:
1. Click that little link a couple lines up
2. Plug in some food options you generally choose
3. Proceed to vomit into your nearest trash can.
Cheers to that...?

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