Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lies That Old Wives Told You

Everyone has heard an old wives' tale at some point in their lives. They have been passed down from one generation to the next to provide comforting advice about experience we all share, have little control over, or worry about. What you probably haven't heard is that most of them are pure bull shit. These stories were concocted to get people to straighten up by putting the fear of God in them. Today it seems as though old wives' tales have fallen victim to these new fangled fads we call technology and modern medicine. Here are some old wives' tales you have probably been told are true, and were foolish enough to believe.

Swallowing Gum Takes Seven Years to Digest

If you heard this myth than you probably pissed off your mom more than you realized with your cow-like chewing. Fortunately though, this tall tale is completely bogus. Gum doesn’t break down in the digestive system, but it will pass through like everything else. If you occasionally swallow your gum, then you have nothing to worry about. But, if your some sort of idiot who doesn't know how to use a trash can or a napkin to dispose of your gum, you might not be so lucky. If you’re regularly swallowing wads of gum, then they could meld into a giant blob in your stomach and cause serious health problems. Not to mention you could blow bubbles out your pooper.

If You Pluck a Gray Hair, Two More Will Grow in Its Place

Chances are that if your hair is going gray, once you see one you'll start noticing them all over your head. Its funny how one tiny little strand attached to a follicle on your head can create so much insecurity. But follicles produce one strand of hair, no more, no less. Plucking a gray hair won’t cause more to grow. You're more likely to damage the follicle and create a situation where you end up balding yourself. It’s okay to tweeze the occasional stray gray, but if your hair is already thin or thinning, get over your insecurities or buy some hair dye. How do you think Lex Luthor lost all his hair?

You'll Die If You Swim After Eating

Just think of all the time you wasted in the summer waiting for your lunch to digest. Mothers have been warning their kids not to swim after eating since the invention of the swimming pool. But, do you know how many people have actually died due to a food induced cramp?


Cramps happen when the blood that should be rushing to your stomach to aid in digestion gets diverted to your arms and legs. Cramps don’t usually occur while playing Marco Polo or holding your little brother's head under water. You’d need to be doing laps or seriously exerting yourself in order to be at risk, and even then, cramps are pretty easy to get over. This tall tale may have originated with parents who wanted to have some time alone for "water sex". Hopefully, irony got the last laugh when they "over exerted themselves" in the pool.

Touching Toads Will Give You Warts

Toads get such a bad rap. This lie may have been originated because toads have bumps on their backs that slightly resemble warts. Just like the kid in school who had "cooties", the Toad was ostracized by the rest of the animal kingdom.

The truth is that warts are spread by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, and reptiles do not carry the virus. And another truth is that those bumps are glands that store toxins to protect the toads from predators. So handling a toad won’t give you warts, but the toad might release a poison, giving you a completely rational reason to never touch one.

Picking Your Nose Will Make Worms Come Out of It

Come on, who really believed this? It's easy to understand why mothers would come up with some elaborate story to keep their kids from going elbows deep in to their own nostrils, but to defy logic by saying worms would come pouring out of their head is just ludicrous. The worst things that could happen is a nasal infection, occasional nosebleed, and in rare cases perforation of the nasal septum.

That still doesn't make it okay to pick your nose. The main issue about nose picking is social acceptance, and public urination, drunkenness, and sexual conduct are all more socially acceptable than nose picking. So if you are a hardcore nose picker it would probably explain why you believe these old wives tales; you most likely still live at home with mom.

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