Reblog - Swallowing Chewing Gum!

From time to time, I am choosing to reblog certain classic posts from the past.

Today I am taking us back to a post from a series I wrote in 2006 on parental myths. Actually, I spent the entire series dispelling the myths my parents tried to pass off as fact.

This is a favorite of many readers and one of my most downloaded posts of all time: Swallowing Chewing Gum

Hope you enjoy this blast from the past!

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

Not a Parental Myth: Staring at the Microwave

In reference to several of my entries dealing with parental myths, I was asked by Paul, a loyal reader of theMangoTimes (and I don't hand that title out to just anyone), the following question: "Does looking into a microwave oven as it thaws chicken really damage your eyesight or just your appetite?"

Editor's Response:  Paul, I spent very little time researching this...it's late...my weekend is coming to an end...and besides that, the first website I hit had the advice I was willing to use.  It seems as though this is not a parental myth, yet I don't remember my parents being the ones that warned me about this.  I think this came when I actually bought my first microwave and I read the instructions.  But, if your parents warned you...consider yourself blessed.  My parents could not care less if I was staring into the microwave, they just didn't want me running up escalators or swimming in the pool before my food digested.

Anyhow, in your neck of the woods (Indiana actually), there are some folks that call themselves "a moment in science" and have a pretty decent website.  Here is their entry on the whole microwave deal.  Actually, they answer the "metal in the microwave" question, but along the way they mention that it is NOT okay to look into a microwave for more than a few seconds.  There is a reason...it involves radiation and heated molecules...blah blah blah...you can read it.  But be careful to give your kids the correct advice, otherwise you are in danger of starting a parental myth.

For example, it's okay to say "it's bad for your eyes," but it's probably not okay to say that "it will reprogram your ability to see colors."  Likewise, you can warn your kids that it's not a good thing, but you don't want to mention that glancing at a thawing chicken through the dot-mesh microwave screen will "fry their developing rods and cones." 

So, be careful, you have the next generation to think about.  We don't need an entire generation of children ducking out of the way of microwaves. 

By the way, did you read the first bit of advice on that website: Don't put animals into a microwave.  I realize that myth has been circulating since we were kids, but really...if you need to be told not to put live animals in the microwave...you don't deserve to have a microwave (and you don't deserve to have an animal).  You actually should be at the point in life where people are making your food and cutting it up into bite sized pieces and preferably serving it to you...

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

Parental Myth Proof

In the January 1998 issue of "Better Homes and Garden," I came across a great article called "The Real Truth About Health Myths." (page 58, for those who want to check it out).  Well, it just goes to show you that "real journalism" covers the same topics that I do.  Two of their covered myths were "Chewing gum takes 7 years to digest" and "Popping your Knuckles causes Arthritis."  I just want to point out that I broke both of these myths wide open way before BH&G.  Once again, (as if I need to remind you) your constant reliable source of up-to-the minute medical information will continue to be this little piece of electric-news that I like to call, theMangoTimes.


Click here to read the other parental myths exposed!

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

Why Parental Myths Don't Work

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,
Fletch

Parental Myths #7: Raw Dough and Worms

Parental Myth #7:  Eating Raw Dough Will Give You Worms

This one is fairly straight forward.  We know that the raw eggs in dough can cause salmonella (yes a nasty sickness, vile indeed).  But, the raw cookie dough will not inoculate you with intestinal parasites, nor saturate you with squirmy worms.  If you want my personal opinion, this myth was started by a frustrated mother.  While trying to get children to leave her alone in the kitchen, she finally had enough.  Rather than lose her cool with these little ones she probably blurted out something like, "I told you to keep your fingers out of the cookie dough.  If you eat that stuff before it's cooked, it will give you worms."  And thus, the genesis of yet another parental myth. E'nuf said


Click here to read the other parental myths exposed!

Quietly making noise,
Fletch