Now You Know
Why do the British drive on the left side
of the road while
Americans use the right?
The British custom of driving on the left
was passed down from the
Romans. The chariot driver stayed to the
left in order to meet an
approaching enemy with his right sword hand.
Americans switched to
driving on the right because on covered wagons,
the brakes were built
on the left, forcing the driver to sit on
that same side and, consequently,
to drive on the right so they could have
a clear view of the road.
Why do we use Xs as kisses at the bottom
of a letter?
During medieval times, most people could
neither read nor write, and
even those who could sign their names were
required to follow it with
an X, symbolizing the cross of St. Andrew,
or the contract would be
invalid. Those who couldn’t write their names
still had to end the contract
with the X to make it legal. To prove their
intention, all were
required to kiss the cross, which through
time is how the X became
associated with a lover’s kiss.
How did we start the ritual of kissing a
wound to make it better?
Everyone with children has kissed a small
bruise or cut to make it better.
This comes from one of our earliest medical
procedures for the treatment
of snakebite. Noticing that a victim could
be saved if the venom was
sucked out through the point of entry, early
doctors soon began treating
all infectious abrasions by putting their
lips to the wound and sucking
out the poison. Medicine moved on, but the
belief that a kiss can make
it all better still lingers.
Why do funeral processions move so slowly?
The Romans introduced the lighting of candles
and torches at funeral
services to ward off evil spirits and guide
the deceased to paradise. The
word funeral itself is derived from the Latin
word for torch. By the fifteenth
century, people were placing huge candelabras
on the coffin even as it was carried
to the burial ground. The funeral procession
moved at a very slow pace so
that the candles wouldn’t blow out.
How did flipping a coin become a decision-maker?
The Lydians minted the first coins in 10
BC but it wasn’t until nine
hundred years later that the coin toss became a decision-maker. Julius
Caesar’s head appeared on one side of every
Roman coin of his time,
and such was the reverence for the emperor
that in his absence often
serious litigation was decided by the flip
of a coin. If Caesar’s head
landed upright, it meant that through the
guidance of the gods, he
agreed in absentia with the decision in question.
From The Book Titled "Now You Know"
by Doug Lennox