Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Those Things Moms Say

My ear is plugged.


Same ear (the left) as last time, which was about a year and a half ago. Coming up on a week now. I have a doctor's appointment for Monday in case the home treatments persist in not working. So far, nada. Murine, lovingly administered by Eva, followed up with what seems like half a hundred turkey basters-full of warm water. Bloosh. Occasionally I'll fill like it's working...for a minute or two.

No pain, but holy shitballs is it annoying. I'm almost completely deaf in my left ear.

It got me thinking, because I'm pretty good about keeping my ears clean. (Apparently NOT, you waxy horror, you...shut up, peanut gallery.) I've always used a Q-Tip like everybody else--

What's that, you say? "Never stick anything in your ear that's smaller than your elbow"?

Thanks, Mom.

My mom used to say that. It was one of her stock admonitions. I'm sure your mom had a bunch of them...I think there's some class they all take....Lesson one: Lamaze; lesson two: "What your child shouldn't do".

That particular instruction, though? Never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear? It invites two questions in response:

  • what in the hell are Q-Tips for, then?
  • how in the hell am I supposed to clean my ears? 
Answers were either not forthcoming or were so ridiculous I ignored them.  Probably the latter.

Nothing against my mother -- I loved her dearly -- but boy, did she ace lesson two. . And most of lesson two, again no offence to Mom, is  pure and utter bullshit.

For instance, there is no reason whatsoever to wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming.  And if you swallow chewing gum, it won't kill you, or stay in your gut for seven years (the Mom-wisdom varied on the potential consequences, but as it turns out, there aren't any. You just poop it out. 

Imagine Mom's horror if she could see me right this instant. I'm sitting about 18 inches away from a monitor that's bigger than the console TV screen she used to give me hell for sitting three feet away from. "Don't sit so close to the TV, Kenny, you'll go blind," she said. Little Kenny couldn't articulate what was wrong with that demand, because little Kenny hadn't yet gone to school and learned about cause and effect and how Moms of the world can sometimes reverse the two. Uh, Mom? he would have said if he could. You've got that precisely backwards...I sit so close to the TV BECAUSE I'm (mostly) blind. (And don't understand much of what I see on TV, for the same reason.) Here's Scientific American stating what I just did.

What else would make me go blind? Playing with myself. That was also supposed to grow hair on my palms. I played with myself a lot hoping for those telltale hairs to appear and enhance the sensation, but, alas, they never did. Nor am I any more blind. Another piece of parental advice debunked. 

Chocolate doesn't cause acne, either. Acne is caused by an excess of sebum. Sugar can trigger a process that eventually can lead to acne, but no guarantees. 

It's a myth that "80% of your heat loss is through your head". Again, if I'd been thinking straight, I never would have fallen for this--the comeback is obvious. "So why do I wear a hat in high summer, then?" Take it from a guy who spends his working life in fridges and freezers, usually clad in a T-shirt: if you're cold, there are two sure-fire solutions. Work harder (usually works for me, unless I've just been sitting for an hour)...or don more clothing. If the cold is extreme, shun the hat and go for a balaclava: you'll be ugly, but you'll be ugly and warm. But cover the rest of yourself too: the heat doesn't disproportionally escape out your ears. 

And likewise -- this is a big one -- BEING COLD WILL NOT MAKE YOU SICK.

I've been hearing this one not just from moms, but from a sizeable percentage of people I meet who have moms. In reality, staying OUTSIDE in winter will probably keep you healthier. People get sicker in winter because they cocoon inside together and the viruses high-five each other...we may as well go ahead and call them Wayne and Garth... and say "party on!" This, too, is rather obvious, and yet people will INSIST with all their might that I'm going to "catch my death of cold". 

My mom taught me a lot. I was much more inclined to listen to her when she spoke from personal experience, rather than passing on myths by rote. Those, well, I just tended to jam my elbows in my ears. 

She had questions as well as statements, did my mom. The questions she asked were, in hindsight, even funnier. 

  • do you want a spanking?
Hell, yeah, mom. Are they on sale? I'll take a few.
  • what do you think you're doing?
Mom, I KNOW what I'm doing. The proper question here is, what do YOU think I'm doing?

Or this one. I'd be all dressed in my pajamas (this was back before I figured out that sleeping without them was SO much more comfortable). Teeth brushed, bladder tapped, and I'm downstairs. "Good night, Mom," I'd say, to which she would unfailingly ask
  • are you going to bed?
Naw, I'm going out to paint the town fuschia. 

My favourite Mom-story concerned one of the last times I procrastinated on a school project. Mom was French-Canadian, born and bred in Val Caron outside Sudbury. She had to learn English. She lost all of her French save a few songs; she even lost her accent. Except when she was angry. Then it would come back full force and she'd start putting the emPHAsis on the wrong syllAble..."if something is due on a certain due-DATE, it will be handed in on that due-DATE!" she yelled, and it was all I could do not to bray laughter everywhere. That would have ended badly for me, I'm sure, had so much as a chuckle escaped. 

Mom, I love you. You know that, right? Of course you do. That was a stupid question. 

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