4 Things Friday: Things You Probably Definitely Don't Know About Independence Day

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert

It’s the 4th of July! An esteemed holiday when we celebrate the … something. Independence?

If you took US History in high school — and were able to stay awake — you may have been able to retain a few facts about our fine country. But if we're being realistic, chances are no, probably not. Even if you remember some of the things you heard in between snores, you probably didn’t get the full story — unless your teacher was like my AP History teacher, who thought is was fun to discuss pretty much anything that wasn’t historically relevant.

May we present:

4 Things Friday: Things You Probably Definitely Didn’t Know About The 4th Of July

1. George Washington DID NOT HAVE WOODEN TEETH, DAMMIT. They were made out of hippopotamus and gold. And some lead. No wood, though. Stop spreading this pernicious lie. Every time you tell someone that George Washington’s dentures were made of wood, a baby bald eagle dies. It could have been a baby turkey, though. If cranky Uncle Ben had had any say in the matter.

2. Hot dogs. 155 million of them are consumed on the 4th of July — more hot dogs than any other day of the entire year. Do you even know how hot dogs are made? Because EW. Also where was the hot dog even born? Germany. That’s right. Modeled after German sausage, only gross(er). How patriotic do they seem now? No? As part of the esteemed celebration of Independence Day, Nathan’s holds an annual hot dog eating contest. The current record holder is Joey Chestnut, who wolfed down an impressive 69 weiners in 2014. Joey has actually won every year since 2007. So any of you who may be considering a duel, I’d say just throw in the hot dog now. Sixty-nine hot dogs. THAT is American, folks.

3. Fireworks. Why do we blow shit up every time we celebrate our independence? For pretty much the most American reason ever: because we felt like it. There is literally no cultural significance to fireworks other than that John Adams really, really wanted us to have fireworks. To celebrate the strength of this great nation, or whatever. He died on Independence Day in 1826. (The same Independence Day as Thomas Jefferson. Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” but Tom had died, like, a few hours before that. Email has since made dying words much more accurate.) Also, fireworks come from China. Guns come from China. We like China more than we let on.

4. Our beloved national anthem is actually a drinking song, and it’s about the War of 1812 — not the American Revolution. We didn’t even consider it our national anthem until the 1930s. That’s right. The beginning of every baseball game IS A LIE. Speaking of baseball, we designed the original Beano Grenade after it. Apparently, “the engineers who created the Beano Grenade believed that if they modeled the weapon around a baseball then any young American man should be able to properly throw it.” SPORTS AND BOMBS AND FREEDOM.

Happy America Day Weekend, everyone. It should have been the 2nd, but whatever. This country doesn’t play by the rules.

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