Ernest Hemingway was a one-of-a-kind if ever there was one. There are so many interesting facts and anecdotes to know about this titan of American letters that to do him justice, you’d probably need a time machine and enough time to spare to follow him around from about 1899 to about 1961. But just to give you the fastest little impression of what made ol’ Hem tick (yes, mostly it was booze and rage, but we’re going beyond that!), here are 5 facts about the Novel laureate that will make your beard grow a bit faster (ladies who don’t want beards, you may want to stop here).
5 Hemingway hardly ever – if ever – got a real “hangover.”
This is likely because he basically never stopped drinking, morning and night, but many a tale is told of the scribe stumbling off to bed (or floor or dock or dirt) totally sloshed, only to rise the next morning as fit as a fiddle… ready to drink himself horizontal again!
4 He Only Truly Loved Polydactyl – SIX TOED CATS
We can picture it now: someone presents Hem with a cat sporting a mere 5 toes on each paw; Hemingway slams down his mug of gin and bellows “BRING ME A SIX TOED BEAST OR NOTHING AT ALL!” OK, maybe that never happened, but Ernest did love polydactyl cats, and he did keep a lot of them around, though maybe not the dozens and dozens some people like to claim.
3 Hemingway Survived Not One, but TWO Plane Crashes.
Yes, this begs for a Chuck Norris style joke, but that would be beneath our man! Add to the fact that most people are not in a single plane crash and that most who are do not survive them the fact that these two crashes were on subsequent days and you get something of the picture: only Ernest Hemingway can kill Ernest Hemingway (a bit of dark humor, sure, but I think Hem would allow it).
2 He Could Write a Short Story… in SIX WORDS
If the legend is true, Hemingway bet a group of assembled “peers” (meaning “lesser humans”) that he could write a compelling story in six words. Haughtily, the other writers accepted the challenge and threw their cash onto the (Algonquin round) table. Then Hemingway dropped this one them: “For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” And with that, he took all their money.
1 Ernest Hemingway Hunted Sharks
Ernest Hemingway hunted sharks… with a Thompson Submachine Gun. Really we should just stop there and call it a day, but I’ll explain nonetheless. Hemingway was a huge fan of deep sea fishing (an particular Old Man come to mind?), and routinely grew enraged when marauding sharks would tear chunks out of his bounty of marlin, swordfish, etc. as he reeled them into his boat. So Hemingway did the only logical thing: he began to keep a Tommy Gun at hand. When sharks menaced his catch, Hem would turn the line over to a partner and machine gun the hell out of the sharks, preserving his catch for himself and whichever Mrs. Hem happened to be around at the time.
Oh, and by the way, in the meantime of all this and a thousand other things, the man managed to write some of the best prose the English language has ever seen. When you’re done reading everything here, maybe try out some of his stuff, too.