Your Mom Lied: 5 Common Body Myths Debunked
Part of growing up is realizing almost everything your mom said was wrong. This is especially true when it comes to the human body (how many of you grew up with the "masturbation will make hair grow on your palms" thing?) where, as you'll see, mom often failed to do her research.
"If you shave, your facial hair will grow back thicker!"
Fellas, do you remember when you first started getting those wispy specks of hair on your chin? They were patchy and thin, but dammit you loved them, and you knew that it was merely a matter of months before you looked like those guys from ZZ Top. Do you remember what your mom told you? "If you shave your beard/moustache/muttonchops off it will grow back thicker and look much nicer." So you continued shaving it until, sure enough, five years later you had a perfectly serviceable moustache.
Actually, the only reason you ever managed to grow those whiskers was simply time. Renowned (read: gets the most tail) dermatologist Dr. Jerri Hoskyn M.D., says here that, "Shaving is just a method of cutting the hair at the skin surface and has no effect on the part of the hair ... where growth and pigmentation occur." Who's to argue with a man who had to go through eight years of medical school to cure pimples?
So why do moms perpetuate this one? Most likely out of the embarrassment most mothers of pubescent boys feel. It seems you didn't have the good fortune to hit the ground running with puberty like we Cracked staffers did, and it took you a few years to start looking and sounding like Powers Boothe. Consequently you had a fuzzy neck beard, and your parents didn't want to be seen in public with you until you shaved it.
So instead of telling you straight up that you were a repulsive pock-marked abomination and having to hear you whine in your broken girly voice, they simply lied and told you shearing hair makes it stronger and thicker, knowing you would do it--and keep doing it--in a futile attempt look like Grizzly Adams.
"You can't have anymore sugar, you'll be bouncing off the walls!"
All you wanted was another scoop of pure cane sugar in your cherry Kool-Aid, and your mom refused. What the hell! Of course her reasoning is "No, if you have anymore sugar you'll be bouncing off the walls." While we now know she was just telling us she didn't want us getting all hyperactive, you know, running around the house, screaming "child abuse" out of the windows at passers-by, setting the guinea pig on fire and tying our siblings to chairs, it was pretty much the worst thing she could have told us. Instantly our little minds were suddenly filled with visions of being able to defy gravity and ricochet about the house without ever having to touch the floors. In short, your mom told you that you could be fucking Spider-Man if you had more sugar, so you ate the entire bag of sugar.
Unfortunately after eating a bag of sugar you didn't become Spider-Man. In fact, the only superhero you became that day was Vomit-His-Stomach-And-Hallucinate-Man. Hell, it didn't even make you hyper.
Your mom was wrong on two counts: first off, gravity is unaffected by sugar. Secondly, hyperactivity is unaffected by sugar. Or at least, that's what dashing professor of neonatology and general pediatrics at UAMS Medical center, Dr. Bryan Burk says here. "No evidence exists that feeding children a high-sugar diet will induce hyperactivity, despite the common belief that it does."
It seems that you need to consume something more along the lines of caffeine, dopamine or crack to achieve any hyperactivity. In fact for some children, sugar may very well have an opiate affect on their brain. In case you didn't know, morphine and heroin are opiates, so when your mom gave you sugar, it may have been like shooting you up with tiny little amounts of smack, and smack addicts are not known as the most active of people.
Of course, the part about sugar destroying your teeth and turning you into a fatass are both still true, so in the end mom was right.
"Turn on a light! Reading in the dark will ruin your eyes"
Who doesn't remember being nine, sitting in the warming glow of the artificial fire, reading The Brothers Karamazov,and having their mom force them to turn on a lamp to spare their eyes? We all grumbled and groaned and switched on the lights and squinted as the glare from the pages blinded our eyes, and later Uncle Paul would take us to the ice cream shop and let us stick our fingers in the blender. Who can forget that? That did happen to everyone, right?
It seems that, not only did your mom lie about your Uncle Paul's stay in "con college," she also lied to you about your eyes as well. Of course we all know this has become a non-issue since we have it on good faith that only doctors, fat people and nerds read anything anymore.
The truth is, due to the amazing resilience of the human eye, reading in dim light doesn't hurt our eyes. Dr. Katrina Schmidt, who is both a doctor and a woman, says here that, "Reading in dim light is not in itself going to ruin your eyes."
However she does note that our eyes work a little harder in dim light, so if we keep moving the book to try and focus on it, it will tax our poor retinas to the point where they may well just leap off of our eyeballs and walk out the door. According to Wikipedia there have been five cases of this exact thing .
"Don't swallow that gum! It takes seven years to pass through your digestive system!"
So there you are chewing gum and playing hopscotch while jumping rope on a roller coaster. You desperately try and keep that delicious resin-based goop in your mouth while enjoying your favorite activities, so one moment you're chewing on it, and then the next moment it feels as if a slug is climbing down your throat. It's then that your mother's words echo in your head, "Never swallow your gum, it'll take seven years before you crap it out." You suddenly picture years worth of gum accumulating in your stomach into a hardening clump that will, of course, kill you.
We would think you'd learn not to listen to your mother by this point, and that the only true thing she ever told you in your life was that you're adopted. The truth (as presented by Cracked.com and your friends at Hubba Bubba) is that you could swallow a whole thing of bubble tape and you'd get to see it come out the other end in a matter of days.
According to those killjoys over at Snopes, the reason your mom lied to you is because she was confused about the term "indigestible," which actually just means your stomach acids are unable to break down the components of gum. While this may sound unpleasant, note that no one ever accuses corn of ruining your digestive system, and it's just as hard to digest.
So the only thing this means is that your gum will appear intact upon exiting your body, which leaves it open to any number of workplace pranking opportunities, Cracked is not responsible for any injuries or firings resulting from that idea, but will gladly own up to any resulting hilarity.
"Put a jacket on! You'll catch a cold!"
We all heard this one while storming out the door in our pajamas in a desperate quest to bury ourselves in the field of fresh snow just outside the threshold of our homes. "Put a jacket on! You'll catch your death out there!" she'd scream, especially if this was all taking place in the 1950s. That's just like your mom to "kill your buzz" and "cramp your style" when all you wanted to do was skinny dip down in the ol' (half-frozen) fishing pond. So against your will you ended up waddling out the door bundled in seven layers of clothing, all due to your mother's half-cocked misconceptions about colds.
In your mother's defense, there's a definite causality between cold weather and colds, but we'll get to that in a moment, after explaining why she's so horribly, horribly wrong. You see, the "common cold" is caused by the rhinovirus, this friendly fellow:
An actual photo of the rhinovirus, from GiantMicrobes.com
What your mom misunderstood about our friend the rhinovirus is that he is just that, a virus. Viruses are pure undead malevolence encoded into genetic material and wrapped up in a creepy protein shell. They aren't even technically alive, so temperature has no affect on them. They're just tiny zombies that you can't even shoot in their microscopic zombie heads.
So why do people get a cold when it's cold out? It depends on who you ask, but if you ask Robert Bradsher M.D. you'll learn that "cold weather usually makes people stay indoors, which might increase the person-to-person transmission of respiratory viruses." Really, if your mother was smart and well informed she would have kicked your ass outside so she could enjoy her Southern Comfort, childless home and germ-free air.
It should also be noted that when you did finally catch that cold, your mom starving your cold and forcing orange juice down your throat did absolutely jack-all for curing you.
Chances are, your mom didn't tell you why some men are total douchebags, did she? Allow us to explain in our rundown of 5 Douchebag Behaviors That Can be Explained by Science. Or, read about the large breasted country singer Yoko Ono is suing for being too much like her dead husband.