Apropos of nothing …

Have you ever wondered why a cerebra-vascular accident is called a “stroke”?

Today when we find a victim who has suddenly lost muscle control over one side of their body; who suddenly can’t speak clearly, or understand words spoken to them, medical science tells us that they’ve probably lost blood supply to a part — or parts — of their brain.

Centuries ago, however, when someone collapsed, half-paralyzed and unable to speak, it was understood that they had run afoul of one of the Faerie who had proceeded to strike them down — in other words, the victim had been the recipient of an “elf-stroke”.

Over the centuries, we have dropped the “elf” part, while hanging on to the last part of the phrase.

And that is tonight’s Useless Trivia.


Au contraire
Thank you, Mr. Atkins

13 thoughts on “Apropos of nothing …”

  1. …This is definitely the first time I have ever read something about a stroke and went, “That’s so cool!” before remembering what I was reading about.

  2. And now properly added to my vast storehouse of useless knowledge. It’s jam packed with fascinating trivia, but the filing system spontaneously burst into flames years ago, leaving me to wander my own internal wilderness of data.

    Thank you for the addition!

  3. that does it. I see an elf, I’ll blast ‘im before he can strike me down.

  4. Hmmm…

    So what kind of ammo do we use against the faeries to prevent an elf-stroke? Will birdshot do, or do we need 00 buck? (j/k)

    I keep forgetting it, but there’s a few simple observations/tests someone can do to see if a person has been a stroke victim, and thus needing medical attention. The acronym for remembering the tests is STARR. Does anyone know what those tests are?
    I should write them down; I keep forgetting them and I know I’ve seen it posted at least 2wice on these here Internets.

  5. dfwmtx, the first sign of a stroke is not being able to remember the signs of a stroke. Get to a hospital immediately!

    Because my Google Fu is strong today,


    S * Ask the person to SMILE. If they can’t, or it’s slanted this may be signs of a stroke.

    T * Ask the person to STICK OUT THEIR TONGUE. If the tongue is
    cooked, or goes to one side this may be signs of a stroke.

    A * Ask the person to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If they can’t this may
    be signs of a stroke.

    R * Ask the person to REPEAT A SIMPLE SENTENCE, or TALK, i.e.:
    “It is sunny out today”. If they can’t do this coherently, this may besigns of a stroke.

    Or as Ambulance Driver points out, you can ask them to say TOTWTYTR

  6. As one who has had four strokes the first one whilst i was in hospital i wish someone there new that it took them a day and a half to work out i had had a stroke i new strait away but i could not tell them as i had lost the abilitie to talk or write but that the beauty of the Socialist run NHS something you all in the USA have to look forward to.

  7. Huh… I always thought it was from the stroke of a sword type injury… learn something new every day 🙂 thanks!

  8. Thanks LD. When I passed on the etymology of stroke to my wife’s nurse in ICU (wife had a hemorrhagic stroke on 10-31-08) and stated that it was now open season on elves on our property, it got an immediate chuckle from my wife.

    Great news for us. Even if she suffers some memory loss (or maybe because of it), her laughing at my dumb jokes means life will still be fun.

  9. And let’s not forget elf-shot. It was a tiny projectile that would work it’s way from the wound into the body until it made it to the heart, whereupon it would kill the victim.

    The concept differs in very few particulars from a bloodclot.

  10. For elves…silver bullets or silver )) buckshot? Or was it Gold? I ferget.

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