Featured Column
Week of 8.8.2005
"Gimme liver!"
           The four men and two women sat in a circle on large, smooth rocks as they watched the flickering last embers of the fire dying in front of them. This was only the third fire that any man or woman in the history of the Earth had ever seen. A mile away, the night before, a powerful lightning bolt had struck a pile of dried leaves causing a flame that ignited the leaves and a fire burst forth. Members of the nearby tribe of humanoids rushed from the safety of their cave to observe this new phenomenon. 
           The leader of the twelve member tribe, a large man, the others called “Bush,” because of the large amount of hair covering his body, reached out to grab the fire in front of him. He felt a serious, scorching pain and pulled his hand from the pile of burning leaves and screamed, “Aiyee, oi, oi, oi!” 
           Not knowing what had caused his terrible pain, the man called “Bush” again approached the fire and reached for a glimmering spear of flame. Once again, a searing pain stabbed his hand, burning the hairs from his fingers, wrist and forearm.
           The other members of his tribe were unsure of what reaction they should have. Two of the women, standing beneath a large tree giggled and covered their mouths. Most of the men had no idea of what to do. A smallish man, whom the others called, “Brip,” because of his habit of releasing air which sounded like “Brip,” grabbed a long dead branch from the ground and stuck the end in the middle of the newly discovered fire and watched as the end of the twig caught fire and burned. He had watched the man called “Bush” suffer his pain from touching the fire so he decided not to endure the same pain. He held the stick out in front of him and watched the end of the branch continue burning. “Brip” smiled and turned towards the other members of the tribe. He had done something that nobody on Earth had ever done. He had created the first match! 
           Holding the burning stick in one hand “Brip” gathered dried leaves with the other. When he had a substantial pile of leaves “Brip” drove the end of his burning stick into the middle of the pile and watched in amazement as a large fire burst forth. Other tribe members watched in amazement. Even “Bush” forgot his throbbing pain for the moment and stood wide-eyed, staring hypnotically at the two fires. It was at that moment that “Brip” decided that this new marvel, this burning stick should always stay lit so that man would always have fire available for its use.
           Word, or more accurately, grunts, traveled fast in those days, and before long every cave community in the area had their own burning stick. Mankind had progressed to a new level and who knew what was to follow?
          So, that was the honest-to-goodness story of the founding of fire by man. Man went on to use fire for great purposes. Thousand of years later man used fire to create French fries, “s’mores,” “Big Macs,” hot-dogs-on-a-stick and scrambled eggs. If only “Brip” and “Bush” had known what their discovery had brought to future generations of man.
          To this day there remain many mysteries concerning the origins of many areas that modern man takes for granted. Hopefully, with careful research, we will find the origins of many of our modern implements, foods and ideas.
          Some of my personal questions, for example, concern who was the first guy who named an ostrich an ostrich. Or what was the guy thinking when he reached inside a water buffalo or a wildebeest and pulled out a liver and thought, “This might be a tasty snack, might be good with some onions.”
           Or, what went through the mind of the first guy who drank some aged and rotten hops and water and got cockeyed drunk. Did he get up the next morning and say, “This stuff ain’t bad, maybe we should open a bar and serve it to everyone in the cave.”
          I wonder what the first guy who had a bad toothache did. Did the first woman who had a large cup of black coffee get jittery nerves? Did the first man to eat a banana eat the peel too? What woman wore the first bra? Who was the wise guy who came home from a long day of hunting pigs and deposited his freshly killed porker on his woman’s lap and said, “How about we have some baby-back ribs tonight, and let’s invent cole slaw while we’re at it.”
           Was it a man or a woman who first invented a bra? Was it a guy like “Bush” that came up with the idea for the first fork and spoon? What did the guy say when it rained the first time, “Whoo ha, everyone get a bucket, we wash our hair tonight.”
           Did somebody invent bubble gum or was it an accident? What did the first caveman say when he stepped on his first thorn, “Zowie, somebody quick, invent iodine and a band aid.”
           There are a lot of things I want to know about historic firsts, but mainly I want to know who invented the first donut and also where did liquid Prell come from!
Famous historic firsts
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger