6-year-old looks for record

Sunday, November 3, 2002

Even after Halloween's sugar high, Bailey still talks about breaking a world's record.

Our 6-year-old proudly informed us last weekend that she planned to stay in her monkey pajamas because she was working on a world's record.

I'm not sure she even knows what a world's record is, but she certainly likes the sound of it.

It's our first-grader's current goal in life. And she's not picky about the task.

Fortunately, she lost interest in the pajama marathon before the weekend was over.

More recently she was taking her sweet time doing her homework. Joni and I encouraged her to get done more quickly, but she informed us that she was going for a world's record on the longest time spent doing homework.

Since it was already getting late on a school night, Joni and I put an end to any talk of a homework marathon.

But I'm sure it's only a matter of time -- now that she's finished being a ladybug for Halloween -- until Bailey finds another task worthy of a world's record.

Hopefully, she won't turn into another Garry Turner. The British man holds the world's record for the most clothes pins clipped to his face -- 133 on Aug. 3, 2001. Ouch.

There are other records too like the one at the World Worm Charming Championship on July 5, 1980, in England where one man charmed 511 worms out of the ground.

I'm all for achieving your goal, but I'm opposed to worming your way to just any record.

Bailey doesn't know about all those records. She's just learning to read. I just never imagined "world's record" would be in a first grader's vocabulary.

Joni and I can't imagine what record-setting task Bailey will want to tackle next. We just hope it doesn't come up past her bedtime and that it doesn't have anything to do with worms.

I'd like to convince her that cleaning up her room would be a record-breaking task, but I don't think she'll buy it. It certainly doesn't compare to lounging around in your monkey pajamas.

Of course, there's more to life than breaking records.

John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich in Merry Old England, certainly knew how to slice it.

In 1762, 240 years ago today, he hungrily invented the sandwich. He ordered two slices of bread, meat and cheese put together so he could continue gambling.

He ate the first sandwich with one hand while playing cards with the other. It didn't give him a world's record, but the gamble clearly paid off. Soon everybody was eating burgers, give or take a few centuries.

The human race has invested a lot of time and energy in good sandwiches. The deli and fast-food industry owes its very existence to the no-fork-needed sandwich.

Americans are certainly the sandwich's biggest fans. We eat 45 billion sandwiches a year.

The U.S. government understood the value of sandwiches in World War II. In 1943, the secretary of agriculture banned the sale of sliced bread in an effort to hold down prices during wartime rationing and provide troops with a home favorite.

The country made the sacrifice to support the troops, but in 1950 the slicing and wrapping of loaves was reintroduced much to the relief of moms.

It's stuff like that which makes you feel proud to be an American and certainly less hungry.

Man doesn't live by bread alone. But even first graders bent on breaking records can't eat nuggets all the time or even Halloween candy.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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