Nut-job Pioneers: 5 “Firsts” That Were Completely Insane

Image credit: Ushistory.org
Have you ever been doing something seemingly normal and thought, “Gosh, I wonder who the first person to ever do this was?” For the most part it’s pretty inconsequential, but for some things that we now consider relatively mundane, when you think about it, the first person to ever do it must have been at least a little tweaked. These are the top five “firsts” that were completely insane.

5 Drinking Milk

Most animal species drink their mother’s milk only during infancy, and they certainly don’t drink the milk of other mammals. But not us humans – we like to keep it real weird. Some time around 7,500 years ago, the Europeans decided that once a cow’s boob got good and swollen, they’d squeeze it and put whatever came out onto their breakfast cereal. It turns out, the ability to consume milk, or lactose tolerance, is actually a genetic mutation that spread throughout Europe around 10,000 B.C. So the fact that we still drink milk is just a part of evolution, though it’s definitely still a little creepy.

4 Tattoos

Whether it’s a Chinese symbol on your arm that actually means “gopher” and not “virility,” or a butterfly on your lower back that you’ll wish you never got when you’re a mother, it seems like everybody has ink today. But at its core, the practice of tattooing is actually pretty insane. It’s essentially asking, “Please permanently inject that drawing under my skin with a needle,” and it dates back more than 2000 years to Polynesian societies in the Pacific. Incidentally, they didn’t exactly have strict rules about cleanliness and sterility, so early tattoos were accompanied by extreme pain and a high risk of death by infection. Sounds like one hell of a way to impress the ladies.

3 Circumcision

Now a common practice, it pretty much goes without saying that the first person to willingly chop off part of their own penis had to be a at least a little nutty. The earliest reference to the procedure dates back to Ancient Egypt around 2300 B.C., and just in case you didn’t find it crazy enough, babies weren’t the ones being circumcised; instead, the practice marked the transition from boyhood to manhood. Because apparently, the optimal age to hack off part of one’s junk is when it’s just starting to really grow and the mind is lucid enough to know exactly what’s happening.

2 Eating Oysters

Today, oysters are served in restaurants worldwide, but where did that start? The cultivation of oysters actually goes back more than 2,000 years to Ancient Rome, where the easy-to-catch mollusks first became common foodstuff. Consumed by royalty and common folk alike, oysters were known as an aphrodisiac and were commonly linked with love. But when it comes down to it, what are oysters? They look like a rock, and when you split them open what’s inside appears to be a giant sea-booger. While they are, in fact, delicious, someone had to be the first to say “I’m gonna smash open this stone and eat the goo inside!” Hats off to that guy.

1 Harnessing Electricity

When you flip a switch and the room lights up, you hardly think twice about it. But consider that it was only possible because Ben Franklin was a little off his rocker. In a time when man knew lightning only as a giant spark in the sky that kills or burns anything it touches, Franklin had the stones to try to harness it. In 1752, he tied an iron key to a kite and took it out into a lightning storm in order to better understand the intricacies of electricity. And if you don’t think it was all that brave, just ask the several would-be scientists who tried to repeat the experiment after him. They were all electrocuted.

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