Momma’s Myths……shattered.


By Bill Derby

Mom, tell me it ain’t so. I’ve grown up believing everything she told me. However, in reviewing the listings below I found on the internet dispels some Mom’s ‘cast-in-stone’ truisms.  Remember, everything on the internet must be true. That’s what they used to say about newspapers too, all except the News & Neighbor.

One thing she told me that I still hold close to my heart…. “Those who don’t listen, have to suffer.”  Many times I don’t listen to what Judy tells me and I suffer the consequences.

Below is the list recently transmitted by the ‘all knowing’ internet gurus. Could have even come from the internet inventor, Al Gore, Jr.

1. MSG is bad for you: Also known as the ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ which causes numbness and general weakness.  Research doesn’t back that up. When you are hungry, nothing tastes better than a load of MSG to get the old bowels in working order. An added benefit of a delicious Chinese dinner is the ability to keep eating the same meal throughout the week. I have used MSG to glue notes on my columns. Heck, it’s only a common amino acid with an added sodium atom.

2. Drinking Coffee stunts your growth: Never heard tell of this prophecy. Mom’s growth-stunting lecture only included the use of tobacco products. “Don’t smoke. It will stunt your growth!” I used that with my child as well. It’s a good thought about the dangers of tobacco. I did smoke years ago and enjoyed drinking coffee at the same time. It didn’t stunt my growth as evidence of the increasing size of my belts.

3. Cold Weather Causes colds: Mother always told me to wear a hat and to dress warmly so I won’t catch a cold. That law is still in effect to this very day. However, everyone knows a cold virus is more prevalent in winter than summer because everyone is breathing germs inside instead of enjoying the below zero temperatures outside. Once in South Dakota when the temperature was 50 degrees below zero I went out, took a big breath and frostbit my lungs. The doc said, “always wear something over your face in that degree of cold you big dummy!” I didn’t get a cold but I couldn’t breathe so well either.

4. Tryptophan in Turkey makes you sleepy: Everyone believes this myth but maybe it’s really the three glasses of wine you drank cooking the turkey in the first place. The banana pudding, mashed potatoes and even cheddar cheese are also considered nap inducing products. Take a nap. Who cares.

5. You lose 90% of your body heat through your head: Well, sure you do if you don’t have anything else on. Heat rises and its common sense if you are running around naked outside wearing a hat will keep you a tad warmer.  Back during the days when ‘streaking’ through the neighborhood was considered a sport, many knowledgeable runners wore face-covering toboggans.

6. Wait an hour after eating to swim or you’ll drown: This depends on what you have had to eat. A light salad with croutons will not let you sink. On the other hand, if you eat a bucket of fried chicken, drink a six-pack of beer with a quart of bbq beans you had better sit out. Mom always made me sit out for an hour after eating, since I spent most of my time underwater anyway she didn’t know if I was drowning or what.  According to experts there is no evidence to support this claim except for the guy who ate the bucket of chicken.

7. It takes seven years for gum to digest if you swallow it: I have never heard this rumor before. Swallowing gum in school was imperative since it was not allowed throughout my education career. In fact, there may still be remnants of Double Bubble still stuck in the lower areas. That could be the problem Judy keeps telling me about my stomach rumbles I have on occasion.

8. Everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day: This is good. Drink water as often as possible which gives you a number of breaks during work. I keep a plastic water bottle next to my computer screen to remind me to drink water. Excuse me while I take a sip. Whoops, I’ll be right back….need a quick break.

9. It’s fine to eat something if it’s been on the floor for less than five seconds: A doctor friend of mine who plays saxophone in our band says three seconds is ok. He’s all the time dropping food or his sax’s mouthpiece reed on the floor. He quickly picks it up, gives it a sanitary blow and re-attaches or eats.  Even more importantly, when eating a French fry, three seconds is just fine when it’s usually still hot. Blow off the germs and swallow.  If he says it’s ok, it must be ok. Broccoli, spinach or turnips are ok to leave on the floor.

10. An apple a day keeps the doctor away: Not on my street since my doc lives just down from my house. He drives by all the time. I try not to let him see my empty wine bottle recycles too. Mom always told me to eat plenty of apples and I prefer Granny Smith. Man, they make great apple pies. I leave the apple cores on top of our recycles hiding the wine bottles.  He caught me moving my treadmill outside to our downstairs this week and yelled out his car window… “Hey, you are supposed to use that for running and walking!” He probably thought I was throwing it away.

11. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis: Even though the experts say this isn’t true, my mom was right. “You will regret popping your knuckles, son.” Sure enough I have painful arthritis in my knuckles. I even had to take off my wedding ring since my knuckle has swelled a bit. Hurts playing guitar too.  My English teachers didn’t like me popping my knuckles either, especially during tests. It was a stress reliever for me and also kept me awake.  Somehow, popping my knuckles when I was young has made my other body parts now crack and pop and without even trying.


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