I found today's utterly pointless story on Futility Closet here. The original source was Curiosities for the Ingenious (1825). The excerpt reads:
"Dennis Hendrick, a stone mason, sometime ago, for a wager of ten guineas, walked from the Exchange in Liverpool, along Deal-street to the corner of Byrom-street; being a distance of three quarters of a mile, blindfolded, and rolling a coach wheel. On starting, there were two plasters of Burgundy pitch put on his eyes, and a handkerchief tied over them to prevent all possibility of his seeing. He started precisely at half past seven in the morning, and completed his undertaking at twenty minutes past eight, being in fifty minutes."
Now, what in the HELL is the point of this?
As we have examined in this blog before, there is no limit to the stupid things people will bet each other to do. However, I'd be really interested to know what mundane conversation over a pint eventually led to an activity this specific. Especially since this is a pretty significant bet for an artisinal or working-class man. Today ten guineas would be worth almost £700, or about $1,100. I don't know about you, but I don't care $1,100-worth if my friend can roll a coach wheel blindfolded or not.