Tuesday morning, while downing the day’s first cup of coffee, I was reading about the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley debacle and looking at an accompanying photograph when I suddenly found myself taking stock of the ads on the fighters’ shorts.
This led to the pondering of an important question: Why did pugilists’ pants, and guys’ swimwear for that matter, ever come to be known as trunks?
I had no idea, and after doing a little research, I still really don’t, but city editor Karen Petersen had a suggestion for at least the swimsuit part of the mystery.
“Guys’ bathing suits used to be one-piece things that covered their midsection, their trunk,” she said. “So people started calling them trunks, and the name stuck even after suits didn’t have the upper part anymore.”
Well, I’ve heard dumber notions.
A bit later, the conversation shifted from clothes to cooking. Our news clerk, Amanda Robbins, had written a story dealing with the paleo diet (I had never heard of it either) and how it instructs practitioners not to eat processed food, and I had some questions for Karen, who’s something of nutrition expert.
“What about cereal? Is that processed food?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “It comes in a box.”
“OK, I get that Cap ‘n Crunch probably isn’t all that good for you, but what’s wrong with Grape-Nuts?”
“Well, I am not sure, but then I don’t even know what’s actually in Grape-Nuts.”
“I don’t either,” I said. “There’s our other question for the day: ‘What the hell are Grape-Nuts anyway?’ They aren’t nuts, and they don’t come from grapes, I know that much.”
According to their Wikipedia entry, the Grape-Nuts name sort of has vague origins. Click on the link and read for yourself.
And when you’re done doing that, explain that whole trunks thing to me if you can.