Is That A Fact!?
Aubrey Beardsley’s “On This Day” Fun Facts and Trivia
On this day, in 1994, a bank robber in Scotland was caught after he stopped for a red light.
Derek McFadden had just committed an armed robbery of a small bank in Giffnock, near Glasgow. He grabbed the cash (just a few thousand pounds) and made off in his getaway car. But he stopped for a red light, the police caught up, and his plans were foiled. I hope the judge took Mr McFadden’s road safety awareness and careful driving into account. There’s nothing worse than careless getaway car driving.
Despite his unsuccessful getaway, Mr McFadden’s adventure has something of the Robin Hood about it – more heroic outlaw than stupid bank robber. Unlike Mr Paul Neaverson, who robbed a bank in Kent, England in 2015. In more of a giveaway than a getaway, Mr Neaverson put a knife to the cashier’s neck and asked her to transfer money to his own bank account. Mr Neaverson had a pressing financial need to meet – a flight to Corfu for an interview to be a golf coach. When the alarm went off, Mr Neaverson legged it out of the bank without completing his transfer, only to try to rob another bank about 100 yards further down the street. Unfortunately Mr Neaverson managed to make neither the transfer nor the interview, as he was jailed for two years.
Speaking of golf, although Charlie Brown was mostly playing baseball in the wonderful comic strip, “Peanuts”, Snoopy was playing golf. “World Famous Golf Pro”, one of Snoopy’s alter-egos, made his debut 8 April, 1968. In this strip, Snoopy notes, “Beagles are almost never invited to play in the Masters,” astutely highlighting the importance of a dog-friendly world and the often unfair discrimination against dogs at public events. Even when they are wearing a cap and carrying a golf club.
But another really important Peanuts “character” made its debut, on this very day, 1 June, in 1954. And that character was Linus’s security blanket. Lucy explains to Charlie Brown why the blanket might be important to Linus, “I think maybe it gives him a feeling of security.” So Charlie tries it himself and says it doesn’t work. It is no wonder Charlie tries out the blanket, because throughout the comic strip series he struggles with anxiety, depression, and insecurity. But the one who is always there for him, no matter what, is the wonderful Snoopy. In fact, Charlie never gets to kick a football, but when one of Snoopy’s alter-egos (the Great Houndini) makes him invisible, he finally gets his chance. And it is Linus, and his blanket, that explains the true meaning of Christmas to Charlie Brown in one of the best Christmas specials of all time. Charlie Brown goes to pick a Christmas tree for the seasonal play and chooses the smallest, humblest tree in the lot: “I think it needs me.” All the characters laugh at Charlie Brown when he returns with the tree, except for Linus: “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” And when Charlie retreats, dejected, they all decorate the tree for him using Snoopy’s prize-winning decorations. That’s what Christmas is all about.
Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, described Charlie Brown as “a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning.” And that’s why today is an especially important day. Because today is Say Something Nice Day.
So say something nice today. There’s a little bit of Charlie Brown in all of us. And if you do something as simple as saying something nice, we all get more acquainted with winning.