ONE of the books I browse through from time to time is the Guinness Book of World Records. It was started more than 30 years ago by Sir Hugh Beaver, an official of the Guinness Brewing Company, because he was involved in an argument about how fast a golden plover could fly. I suppose that could be important to some people. Plover chasers, for instance.
As research books go, I would hazard a guess that the Guinness Book of World Records includes more useless information than any other book in the world. It has a bewildering array of facts one could never find anywhere else, including facts found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
For example, until I read it in the Guinness Book of World Records, I never knew that someone had eaten a tree. But someone did.
The biggest tree that anyone has ever eaten is an 11-foot birch. I have never eaten a tree myself, so I never imagined anyone else did. It never crossed my mind.
Neither had eating a supermarket cart.
But a Frenchman, Michael Lotito, not only ate a supermarket cart, he ate seven chandeliers, seven television sets, and a Cessna airplane. He also ate a coffin without any ill effects. He may have considered this dessert, since it was mostly wood.
According to those who observed this omnivore, he can consume about two pounds of metal per day. This means, I suppose, that he can't just down a supermarket cart during his lunch hour, but has to dawdle over it like a kid with spinach.
I bring this up because we frequently read in newspapers about what we should and shouldn't eat. Food specialists tell us that practically every fast diet food today is potentially dangerous to our health.
And many people eating at restaurants are scared to death of the tantalizing smell of fried onions wafting from the kitchen.
They have received warnings against eating meats, salty foods, French fries, butter, mayonnaise, gravy, and a lot of other stuff they see on the menu.
Nothing has been said, however, against eating television sets or chandeliers. Or small airplanes.
If people can eat TV sets and stay healthy, a barbecued pork sandwich can't be all bad.