The Sledgehammer for the Poor Man’s Child

In this episode of The Brain Food Show, we look at one of my favorite stories I’ve ever researched. But before that, we begin by looking at what could have been wrong with Tiny Tim that simply throwing money at the problem could have fixed given 19th century medicine.

Next we discuss today’s sponsor. If you’re interested, go to to get started on your Wix website today! And check out our new website for the Brainfood Podcast at

Moving on to the main content today we’re looking at what Charles Dickens’ called his “Sledgehammer for the poor man’s child” and the backstory that led up to a six week stint furiously writing of one of his most famous works, as well as some interesting references within it that modern readers may have missed, but those in his time would have implicitly understood.

We follow that up with some interesting bonus facts related to the story at hand, including why it’s “Dead as a door nail” and not something like “dead as a coffin nail” as Dickens himself mused.

On another note, if you could do us a huge favor and rate and review this show in whatever podcasting platform you’re using (including hopefully giving us some feedback related to the new format), we would be extremely grateful. Thanks!

(You can also discuss this episode and view references on The BrainFood Show forum here.)

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You can also find more episodes by going here: The BrainFood Show

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  • I wish you would publish a transcript of the video for those of us who can, and prefer to, read instead of watching TV, especially while at work.

    • Daven Hiskey

      Me too, but making such transcripts is super expensive, and the podcast is already something of a money sink at the moment owing to how expensive hosting media files is. We will have that eventually though. 🙂

    • He does, but doesn’t want to reveal that these podcasts are in fact just narrations from old posts:

      I pointed this out in one of these previous podcast posts, but he simply deleted my comment.
      If you like me don’t like podcasts and prefer to read, simply do a search on the site by the subject, the original post will pop as the first or second result.

      • Daven Hiskey

        Not deleted, just a very aggressive spam filter on our comment board as otherwise we would get a truly ridiculous number of spam messages a day. Basically anything with links has a high chance of being auto-filtered. In any event, we’ve not made any secret on the podcast that some of the content is from old articles; we actually mention this a lot where, for instance, Simon might say “We did a video on this, right?” These are usually among our favorites.

        Most episodes tend to be a mish-mash of new info and stuff from the archives, though there are occasional episodes with nothing but from the archives (though this is rare as there’s always some amount of re-researching done, which often digs up little extra tidbits) and some with all brand new content. Given the archives contain over 5K articles, we also just kind of figure that most stuff will be new to people either way and are just keen on making the most entertaining episodes we can, whether brand new content or old, or mix, as in most cases.

        This particular one was almost all old just because this is one of my top 10 favorite things we’ve ever covered on TIFO and we dug extra deep on it, so in the re-researching didn’t really come up with much new, other than a few little things. But either way, I love this one, so naturally something I wanted to cover on the podcast. 🙂

  • Oh my God Simon has seen a movie? I’m proud of you.
    Referenced blocking out the sky in the matrix like a pro.

  • GK Chesterton was an absolutely brilliant early 20th century Catholic philosopher whose moderate and balanced view of the world were at odds with how so many of his contemporaries viewed the world. Also, Fr Brown is hysterical! A Lay Theologian is any professional thinker on faith who is not a member of the clergy of the religion they belong to. While such a designation may be more common among Catholics, the most famous lay theologian is likely CS Lewis