The 10 Things Your Mom Told You That are Complete Horses***
Our mothers gave birth to us, raised us, fed us, clothed us, and generally watched out for us as we grew up. Along the way, she also tried to impart some wisdom for our benefit. Well, it turns out she didn’t always know what she was talking about.
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10. “Sit up straight. It’s good for your back.”
You just want to plop down on the couch to enjoy a few hundred hours of quality programming to escape the crazy hectic job of being young and alive. Then your mother storms in the room and tells you sit up straight because it’s bad for your back, like your spine might jump out of your head, waltz out the front door, and join the Peace Corps or something.
That doesn’t happen. The part about it being bad for your back, that is. Science hasn’t spent nearly as much time studying the “Volunteering Spine” theory as you might think. Scientists from Scotland and Canada found from MRI scans of 22 patients that sitting either forward or straight up at a 90 degree angle isn’t the most natural position for the spine and in fact, sitting straight up caused the most “disk movement” in a person’s spine. So either your mother is completely misinformed or she’s really trying to put that health insurance plan you never use to good use by giving you a pretzel for a spine.
9. “All that chocolate will give you pimples.”
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Every fat child has been made to suffer great guilt from their mothers just for daring to succumb to the most natural urge a human can have, outside of the urge that comes with downing an entire keg of beer and picking up a stripper in a highway motel. That urge creates an altogether different kind of skin condition, according to scientists sourcing some guy they know who told them.
One method of getting children to eat less sweets is telling them that chocolate creates pimples, even though nothing could be further from the truth. A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology conclusively found that “diet plays no important role in acne” and that genes and hormone levels acquired through heredity are the more likely culprit. So really, your mother was just using chocolate as a scapegoat for giving you the pizza face gene long before you even knew such a thing as chocolate existed. Not being able to buy a pair of pants at the mall, however, is still your fault.
8. “Did you just eat? You’d better wait an hour before going back in the pool.”
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Swimming parties are supposed to be a staple of children’s never-ending fight against the inevitability of mortality. And then Mom shows up with lunch and reminds you that you’re going to die someday and it will most likely be caused by a partially digested Fruit Roll-Up and a well-timed cannonball.
The myth that eating and swimming don’t mix isn’t as bad as it sounds. The New York Times interviewed a gastroenterologist who said that a full stomach and swimming could cause cramping but the chances of it causing you to drown are unlikely. They also found a study that looked at drowning deaths that occurred around the country and less than one percent of the victims ate before they went swimming. In fact, the more likely culprit for drowning and eating in adolescents is drinking. So unless your Capri Sun came with a shot of Very Berry Vodka Kool-Aid, you’ll be fine if you dive in.
7. “Don’t go out with a ‘wet head’ or you’ll catch a cold.”
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Mothers are obsessed with their children’s heads. They spend untold millions on hair products and trips to the barber. They take every possible moment to check behind their ears or around their scalp for head lice. Do they think there’s gold in them thar brains or something?
The concept of a “wet head” in an outdoor setting has long been a contentious one for the mothers out there because of the fear that it will cause a flu or a cold, but simple science would tell them otherwise. The American Academy of Family Physicians has constantly told parents that there is no causal link between being cold and getting a cold, other than they are spelled the same.
6. “Eat those carrots. They are really good for your eyes.”
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Parents think that playing on a child’s fear of inferiority and self-esteem will get them to do the things that they need to do like watch less TV, bathe more, and get them to just shut the hell up for five minutes so they can think without having to hear their shrill, whining voices permeating through the house. That’s how my mother put it, except it had a much deeper, gravellier tone and her hair was on fire.
Getting kids to eat their vegetables by telling them it will give them superpowers dates back to the dawn of time. The myth that carrots will give you super sight, however, is actually fairly new. The British Royal Air Force started the myth by publishing a series of stories during World War II about ace pilot John “Cats’ Eyes” Cunningham and how his steady diet of carrots gave him mutant strength night vision and allowed him to shoot down 20 enemy planes. And that was just during his walk to the plane.