I almost feel bad about uncovering these parental myths every month. I know that some of you won't believe me, others may argue and still others will respond like a kid that hears the truth about the tooth fairy. I really hate to burst your bubble, but someone has to set the record straight. So, in the absence of further myths, I am choosing to stray from my usual lament and discuss a certain behavior modification technique used by parents to propigate the myths. I refer to it as the "Some Kid From Iowa" technique.
Example: in order to prevent you from playing on an escalator, your parents may offer the following: "I heard that some kid from Iowa was playing on the escalator at Sear's and got his feet sucked under the "teeth of the escalator." it took hours to release him, and he ended up losing both feet." (In passing, they may emphasize that this happened because he was "playing" on the escalator in the first place.) Note: this story also depends on which form of vertical transportation you are riding with your parents in the mall (for example, it is interchangeable with the same kid getting stuck in an elevator because he pushed all of the buttons).
Once again, "this kid from Iowa" is another attempt by parents to dissuade you from absolute fun. Really now, what is more fun in a department store than running the opposite way on an escalator. Actually, if it weren't for the escalators and the "Carpet Sales" section (a.k.a. tumbling central), what real purpose does the department store serve for a kid? Like other techniques used in parental myths, little children have no way to access the truth and challenge their parents. So, as far as we know, "some kid from Iowa" does exist and he did get his feet stuck in an escalator.
It's my assumption that this myth will eventually die out. With the internet, we (as parents of the new millenium) must be much more creative in our dissuasive techniques (kids today have the ability to research and find out that "that kid from Iowa" is fake and there have been no escalator injuries or fatalities).
To conclude this months section, if you are unfamiliar with this "fake kid" technique (like my wife), just pay a little more attention on your next escalator ride. I'm certain at least one adult will stumble (mostly mental) as they exit the moving staircase. If you confront this person, you may find they also don't swallow their gum, swim after eating, or pop their knuckles.
Click here to read the other parental myths exposed!
Quietly making noise,