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Eight Lies You Tell Your Kids Because That’s What Your Parents Told You

Artwork by Bill Keeler

by Bill Keeler

I recently featured a story on the radio that debunked the story my mother told me about the kid getting ticketed for driving barefoot.  It turns out that it’s completely legal to drive with no shoes.  That got me thinking a bit about other things my parents told me that over the years have turned out to be untrue.

Here are 7 more things according to that you were told as a kid that really aren’t true:

1.   Dress warmly when you go out in the winter, or you’ll catch a cold-  False.  There is no connection to being cold and catching a virus

2.   Most of your body heat escapes from your head-  False.  It used to be thought that if you didn’t wear a hat, no matter how much you bundled up, most of the heat escaped through your head.  Therefore, if you wore a hat, you could be practically naked and still be fine.  The fact is, only about 10% of your body heat escapes through your head.

3.   Crack your knuckles and you’ll get arthritis-  False.   The cracking sound isn’t bones being mangled out of shape but the release of pockets of gas from between joints. That said, long periods of knuckle cracking may contribute toward lower grip strength, but you’re not going to curl up from arthritis.

4.  Swallow gum and It stays in you forever-  False.

Pediatric gastroenterologist David Milov of Nemours Children’s Clinic in Florida told Scientific American that this is 100% poppycock. “That would mean that every single person who ever swallowed gum within the last seven years would have evidence of the gum in the digestive tract,” he said. “But colonoscopies and capsule endoscopy procedures turn up no such evidence.” In reality, it’ll hang around for about a week.

5.  After a person dies, their fingernails and hair still grow –  False  This is simply ridiculous as your hair and fingernails begin to decay just like the rest of your body.

6.   A penny dropped off the Empire State Building would kill a person on the ground- False.  The fact that a penny only weighs about a gram means it would tumble as it fell through the air and wouldn’t actually gather that much speed. It would hurt a bit if it hit you on the head — but it’s not going to kill you.

7.  Drop food on the floor and the 5 Second Rule applies-  False

Floors are generally filthy. Salmonella, for example, can lurk in the cracks between tiles for weeks — even if you’ve mopped up recently.

8.  Stores and Businesses must accept your cash, by law, even if they say they only accept credit or debit cards-  False

While dollars and coins are considered legal tender by federal law for paying taxes, government bills and bank fees, individual states and businesses can add restrictions.  For instance, a business can legally impose rules that prevent people from paying with cash.  A few examples:  city busses could enforce rules that prohibit bills larger than, for example, a $20 bill or a movie theater could require all transactions be made through a credit or debit card.  Conclusion:  businesses can require credit/debit payments only; they have the right to create their own policy.


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