If you came here from my recent Cracked article, 6 Inventors Who Changed the World And Got Screwed in Return, here’s an entry that never made the cut. And no, it’s not fucking Tesla.
Ephraim Wales Bull
Though to most of us, picking wine is a matter of deciding which carton looks like it’s the least likely to give us crippling stomach cramps. Back in the day, wine and grapes were serious business.
Which is why some people dedicated their lives to breeding the perfect grapes, because perfect grapes mean better wine and better wine means more bitchin Girls Gone Wild Parties, surely a dream all men share.
Ladies go crazy for my sick vines.
Ephraim Wales Bull spent the better part of his twilight years breeding the perfect grape, using a variety of remarkably sophisticated grape breeding techniques we won’t go into here lest we anger the many grape growing aficionados we know frequent our comment section with our sub-par knowledge. Needless to say, Ephraim got shit done and his toil eventually paid off in the form of the “Concord Grape“. A veritable super grape that kicked the ass of other, lesser grapes and taunted them with its superiority, it was more hardy, ripened quicker and even tasted better. Whether the fact Ephraim looked like a gnome had anything to do with this isn’t clear, but we’d like to think that it did. Because look at the guy.
That’s actually a toothpick he’s holding.
The grapes (which marked six years of work on Ephraim’s part) represented untold millions to the lucrative winemaking industry, since they were able to produce high quality wine, in low quality conditions, (read, California). So, surely Ephraim was hailed as a hero, right? We mean, it wasn’t long before concord grapes represented 80 fucking percent of the entire United States grape sales and consumption, hell, this source notes how quickly the grapes spread just months after they were introduced. The one thing that source fails to mention though, is how royally fucked over Ephraim was.
You see, Ephraim, despite breeding the best thing to happen to the grape industry since the first guy to mash and fermented that shit and realised if his wife drunk enough of it she’d be more open to playing a game of just the tip, he never saw a penny. Oh and the reason his grapes spread across the country so fast is because rival growers realised that if they grew the grapes way across the country, Ephraim couldn’t do shit about it because of his spindly old man legs and lack of anger based telepathy.
He lived to 95 and never saw any money whatsoever from his grape, the same grape that still dominates the market today and also might just cure every ailment known to man. The kicker though, is that even in death, Ephraim couldn’t catch a break because his tombstone actually reads “he sowed, others reaped” because screw you for giving us a healthy snack that made people millions before seed copyrights existed. You should have known better.
This may as well just say, neeeeeeeeerd!
Image from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ephraim-bull-039.jpg