I was wondering about wives’ tales recently. Actually, these expressions or sayings most often are called “old wives’ tales.”
Some of these supposed truths are not true, but they get passed down generation after generation and eventually are stated so commonly that we utter them without thinking.
Some of us might feel comfortable believing that spicy foods cause ulcers and chocolate causes acne. Neither is true, by the way.
Are you really supposed to wait an hour after eating before going swimming? Not really.
And do we still tell our kids that eating lots of carrots will help our eyesight?
Actually, that tale started in World War II when the British spread a rumor that their pilots had remarkable night vision because they ate plenty of carrots. The real story was that they didn’t want the Germans to know they were using radar.
Several old wives’ tales center around telling the expectant mother the sex of her unborn baby.
If the mother is carrying the baby high, it’s a girl.
If the mother has dry hands and cold feet, it’s gonna be a boy.
Even with all the medical and scientific knowledge available these days, we cling to these age-old sayings.
Here are a couple of more regarding pregnancy: Does the mother-to-be dislike orange juice? Is the soon-to-be father also gaining weight? Is hair on the mom’s legs growing faster during her nine-month period of discomfort?
If the answer is yes to any of those questions, the newborn will be a boy.
We sometimes argue with these statements, but we often remember them and pass them along to the next victim.
Here are a few other old wives’ tales that are well-known, but not necessarily true.
Cracking knuckles leads to arthritis.
Swallowed gum stays in the stomach seven years
Eating ice cream late in the evening causes nightmares.
Science doesn’t really back any of these assertions, but I bet your mom warned you against at least one of the above.
I’m pretty sure I’ve opened an umbrella in the house and I’ve also walked under an open ladder. Yet, guys I play golf with think I’m the luckiest person they’ve ever seen.
Old wives’ tales make life interesting, even if most of them were intended to discourage unwanted behavior, probably in children.
Looking for a weather forecast you can trust? Try this one: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.
There’s some truth to this one, according to meteorologists.
Farmers say when cows lift their tails, it’s a sure sign rain is coming. That might be true, but it might also mean something else is about to arrive.
The advice here, I suppose, is to take it all with a grain of salt.
Don’t pull out any gray hair, though, because 10 more will grow in its place.
Reach Warren Peper at firstname.lastname@example.org.