Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cruel Mothers of the 70s

When I was young, the mothers of America regularly banded together and told children some amazingly stupid stuff. It's true. Some of it was so stupid that I like to use it on my own kids just to see their reactions.

This summer, for instance, I finally got to use this one at the water park:

"Gabriel," I yelled, "You just ate lunch. That means you have to wait 30 minutes before you go back in the water."

"Why?" he yelled back.

"Because your body can't swim and digest at the same time. if you try it, all of your swimming muscles will cramp up and you'll drown."

I still remember the incredulous look on his six year-old face. I'll treasure it forever.

This winter, I'm hoping to try out the "If you go out in the cold with your hair wet, you'll get pneumonia and die" thing.

Did my mother - and all of the other moms in America - really believe that red M&Ms caused cancer or that sitting too close to the television caused blindness?

No, I say. When I look at ancient school photos of me and my brother dressed in identical sweater vests, I have to believe that the mothers of America were just cruelly toying with us. And they will not away with it.

The other day my mom was visiting and Gabriel said this to me:

"Nanny says that the waters around Bermuda have a giant electric triangle that sinks ships and planes. Is that true?"

"No, it's not true," I said, warily watching my mother in the next room.

"Why would she lie, Dad?"

I looked at his inquisitive face. He clearly hungered for the truth.

"Every person in the world," I said, "is comprised of four special fluids called humors. Nanny's humors are out of whack."

I look both ways before drawing him closer.

"It's because she watches too much "Matlock" on television."


Anonymous said...

'Don't eat that, it will ruin your appetite' -- how can that be, it is what I want to eat and I am hungry now.

'get your hair trimmed regularly and it will grow longer' -- how, can that be, if I get it cut, it will just be shorter.

'the more you shave the thicker your beard will grow' -- how, shaving doesn't stimulate hair follicles nor is there any sort of seeding or mulching going on in the shaving process.

'just go on out in that, you look fine, no one will even notice' -- what are you completely insane, they are already lined up on both sides of the street waiting to jab me with their pain sticks like a klingon rite of ascension.

'you don't have to lock your door, no one will come in unless you say it's okay' -- you can't be serious, the only way to have any privacy is behind a locked door - I have locks, I damn well am going to use them.

'you might as well tell me, I'm going to find out anyway'-- perhaps, perhaps not, either way, I see no reason to make things easy on you, you'll have to work for it if you want to know what I know.

'stop wasting your time watching television, go outside and do something' -- watching television is doing something, it is a modern day oracle and besides that, everything there is to learn will be on television or already has been, besides that, it's hot out, there are bugs, I don't like getting mosquito bites, and if I wanted to be outside, I already would be - leave me alone and let me relax.

and in the immortal words of the Suicidal Tendencies regarding the songwriter's mother, "all I wanted was a Pepsi but she wouldn't give it to me"

Grim Richard said...

Yep. The hair cutting thing drives me nuts. I'm pretty certain I never shaved inside my ears - yet the hair in there grows like a chia pet.