Most of us have an irrational fear or habit. Famous folks often seem to go one step further.
AN ODD MORNING RITUAL
Author, inventor, diplomat, and scientist Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) swore by air baths. Before he started his workday, Franklin would sit without any clothes on for up to an hour in front of an open window on the first floor of his building. He wrote that the shock of cold water was too violent for him and it was more agreeable for him to bathe in cold air. Franklin would either read or write during his “bath.”
A TEN-GALLON PHOBIA
Although John Wayne (1907–1979) often wore a hat on his head in his films, his temper would flare if anyone left a hat on top of a bed. According to his daughter, Wayne was deeply superstitious and subscribed to the not-uncommon fear that a hat on a bed was a harbinger of bad luck.
THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE
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WHAT Roots MEANS TO ME
Alex Haley’s landmark book began in Reader’s Digest, where he worked as a senior editor. The repercussions are still being felt today.