The history of history has quite an interesting history, historically speaking. And a lot has been written about it:
“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” Napoleon Bonaparte
“History is only a confused heap of facts.” Earl of Chesterfield
“History is the biography of great men.” Thomas Carlyle, moments before Mrs. Carlyle told him to fix his own damn dinner.
“Those who don’t repeat history are doomed to remember it.” My brother, Terry Cashman, incorrectly quoting George Santayana on his senior history final.
In high school, we had a history teacher who was also the part-time varsity basketball coach. As a history teacher he was an outstanding basketball coach.
Even the dumbest of my classmates scratched their heads during the history lecture period. “Benjamin Franklin invented so many things”, our history teacher once said between dribbles.
“Franklin invented the bifocal, the lightning rod and swim fins,” he said. “And perhaps greatest of all, he invented electricity.” Our history teacher actually said that.
Of course, he was wrong. Franklin invented the kite—and the key.
By the way—and this one is true—Franklin also invented the flexible urinary catheter. Yet, for some reason, Franklin never really embraced the nickname “Father of the Flexible Urinary Catheter.”
Our basketball coach/history teacher also once confused George Washington with George Washington Carver—asserting that the first president was one of two with a peanut connection—ahead of Jimmy Carter.
(NOTE: Benjamin Franklin also invented the peanut allergy.)
But our history teacher’s crowning declaration was the day he opined that the greatest day in American history was when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game. Shortly after that, our teacher was named the full-time high school basketball coach.
Of course, it’s easy to feel superior about knowledge of history facts. But how much do you and I really know about history—especially our own local history?
It’s time to find out.
What is the Washington state motto?
Alki (as in Alki Beach) A Chinook word meaning “by and by.”
“Hey Idaho! What are YOU looking at?”
“Why buy a mattress anywhere else?”
What is considered this state’s most popular tourist destination?
Mt. Rainier National Park
Mt. St. Helens National Monument
The West Seattle Bowl
The official name for the elevated waterfront roadway in downtown Seattle is:
The Alaskan Way Viaduct
c) Ride the Duct
What book did James G. Swain—and early resident of the Washington territory write?
The Northwest Coast
A Tale of Tri-Cities
The well-known sculpture in Fremont featuring a group of people standing and waiting is called:
Waiting for the Interurban
Waiting at the DMV
Waiting for the cable guy to show up sometime between 9am and 4pm
What is a cotlet?
A jellied candy made out of fruit.
A jellied candy made out of a cot.
A partial spelling of the words “Costco outlet.”
The answers might be published in next week’s column. But if history is any judge, don’t count on it.