by Dana Arevalo,
P.O.V. Contributing Writer
Have you ever wondered if something was fact or fiction? An urban legend? Or, perhaps, an "Old Wives" tale? There is so much content and information floating around, one often wonders what to believe. With technology, the message is spread to billions of people within seconds. At times, I find it humorous that some of these messages, such as e-mails, are distributed time after time and also displayed over and over on social networking sites and some people believe them because they are so vivid and seemingly truthful. The topics include anything from children getting stuck with hypodermic needles in ball pits to product or company hoaxes. Then there are "Old Wives'" Tales, the methods that your mother, grandmother, aunt or older relative swear by. While the majority are just "tales" and "legends", some are true.
"Old Wives'" Tales
Have you heard of the following?
Sitting to close to the television will ruin your eyesight. This tale is one of my favorites. When my grandmother watched my sister and me, we would sit point blank right in front of her television enjoying I Love Lucy and Regis, when Kathy Lee was his host. Most of the time, the purpose was to hear or see the television better. The more we inched up to the screen, the more we were scolded. This tale is false.
You must always wait twenty to thirty minutes after eating to swim. As a young girl, my family would frequently visit the shore. There is no question that I love the water and swimming. However, when I was finished eating my lunch, I would be told, I could not go back in the water for twenty to thirty minutes, that I may drown. What a pain! This tale is also false. I use this tale on my own children, mostly with failure. I want their sunscreen to absorb properly before they jump into the water.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I hear this tale frequently. How can a fruit prevent a person from getting ill? I also often wonder if this is the reason behind giving your teacher an apple on the first day of school? Apples aren't my fruit of choice, although, I have been eating more lately because they taste good with peanut butter and this tale is true.
How about these?
Ball-pits contain hypodermic needles. I received an email on more than one occasion from a frantic mom begging and pleading with parents and guardians to refrain from bringing their children to places that have ball-pits. The message further stated, that her son was stuck with a needle full of drugs and did not survive. This sad story is not true. I often wonder who has the time to attempt to pass this story off as true?
Halloween candy at times, contains pins, needles, or razor blades. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love to dress the children in costumes, as I always dressed up for Halloween. But, who wants to take their children Trick or Treating if individuals are sticking hazardous items in their candy? I don't want to upset anyone, however, this legend is true. I did most of my Trick or Treating during the 80s and when we were finished, each and every candy was examined by my mother. I, to this day, do the same. Unfortunately, some people do not think clearly and believe the attempt to place sharp items in candy is more of a prank than an intentional harm. Most completely disagree.
"Sing a Song of Sixpence" was developed to recruit pirates. Does this nursery rhyme have a hidden agenda? I used to have book of nursery rhymes, I am sure everyone has, but why would a sweet nursery rhyme be code for pirates? This urban legend, is not true, however, some sources, still report it as true.
Do you have a favorite? Share it!
Sources: Halloween Legends