October 10, 2003

*Ask Jen

Paige asks, "How do deer know to cross at the 'Deer Crossing' signs?"

Excellent question. The easy answer would be to say that they don't. You've probably driven down the road and seen the apparent evidence of this many times. However, I have it on good authority (my dad's) that this simply is not the case. According to a conversation my dad and I had about a year ago, all young deer attend Deer School where they learn useful skills such as looking both ways before crossing the street and where to cross. The problem is that--much like humans--some deer are overly social with other deer and don't pay attention in class. The bad students are the ones whose guts you see scattered all over the highway. They deserve to get hit. So there you have it.

Reader Stephanie asks, "Why are GrapeNuts called GrapeNuts when they contain neither grapes nor nuts?"

When the cereal was introduced in 1898, C.W. Post declared the natural sweetness of wheat and malted barley "sweet as grapes." The Nuts part comes from the cereal being crunchy as rocks nuts.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at October 10, 2003 11:37 PM


Thanks for clearing that up. I had heard a rumor that there was some sort of natural homing device in their antlers that attracted them to diamond-shaped signs with yellow and black paint on the signs. Now I know the truth!

Posted by: Paige at October 11, 2003 08:20 AM

Glad I could help!

Posted by: Jennifer at October 11, 2003 02:20 PM

My father used to tell us kids stories like that. He explained the "Watch for Falling Rock" signs thusly:

"A while back there was an Indian boy wandered off one day and got lost. They put up signs to ask anyone who saw the boy -- named Falling Rock -- to return him to his tribe. So, kids, keep an eye out for an Indian boy who answers to the name Falling Rock."
"Okay, Grampa," we said, looking around for Falling Rock. Haven't seen him to this day.

Years ago, while on a roadtrip to Vermont, I told that story to my friend Judy. She asked me "Who named the kid "Falling Rock"?
"Why, his father, of course," I said.
"Oh, and what was his name?" she challenged.
I thought for a few seconds. "Cliff."
We roared!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 11, 2003 06:29 PM

LOL Good one Spork!

Posted by: Ted at October 11, 2003 09:47 PM