Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Old Wives Tales

Isn’t it funny the things we do and believe just because someone told us to? The traditions we pass down without realizing it?

My boss Kim was telling me about cooking the ham in her family. For some reason her husband’s family always cut off the two ends of the ham before cooking it. When she asked why they simply responded “I don’t know, my mother always did it that way?” the next time they saw the mother, they asked the same question only to get the same response. Eventually they asked the grandmother. “Because the ham was always bigger than the pan and the middle is the best part.” 3 generations of women always thought that’s just how to cook a ham and never realized why!

I’ve been wondering what things I think work that may not really have the impact I assumed they did. I put eggshells in the disposal because it “sharpens the blades”. If I ever got gum in my hair, I would immediately try to wash it out with ice cubes and peanut butter. I drink garlic and cayenne pepper when I’m sick (thanks to the in-laws). When we have kids, I’ll hold my ring over my belly to see if it’s a boy or a girl. I try to blow out all of the candles on my birthday cake so my wish will come true. I avoid stepping on cracks (and my mother has never broken her back, so I know it works!). I know I will have exactly 3, 4, 6, 10, or 13 children because that’s how many seeds have been in my apples, how many seeds left on the dandelion after I blew on it, and the number I counted to while twisting the stem off every apple I’ve ever eaten.

However, today I have the best of them all. The ultimate cure for hiccups, and it works no matter what. Nobody knows why, but it does. About a month ago I had the hiccups at work. And not the cute little kind, the loud embarrassing owie kind. After 20 minutes of avoiding phone calls and trying to keep my hics down instead of up, my boss Gabe called me and I answered because I knew he could ignore it and we could discuss something else. I gave him the heads up that I had loud annoying hiccups and I apologized for hiccing up through the whole conversation. At the end of it, he told me to get somebody to plug my ears, and to close my eyes and lean by head back as far as it would go while I drank 8 ounces of water.

I’ve heard a lot of hiccups cures, and I have to say that this is by far the weirdest. I’ve heard of drinking upside down, holding your breath, having someone give you $100 for the next offense, drinking a lot, being scared, and a lot of others. Unfortunately only being scared by one Cameron Mark Burch works for me and none of the others are even close. Even more unfortunately Cameron doesn’t live at my house, or follow me to work in case of a sneak attack of the hiccups.

So, since it hurt, and I had work to do, and most of it involved people, I figured I had nothing to lose. Josh was here to pick me up, so I made him plug my ears, while I leaned my head back and drank. And whah la! (I don’t really know how that is spelled, so I did it as phonetically as possible.) My hiccups were gone. And not just temporarily either, they were really cured. So, there you have it.

Today Josh got the loud owie hiccups and I told him he had to try the cure. After showing me that he could get rid of them just by holding his breath (immediately followed by a hiccup) and that my “stupid old wives tale” wouldn’t work, I forced him to pull over so we could try it. He rolled his eyes, and I told him he had to because I try crazy psycho things for him all the time.

I’m sure we looked cool on the side of the road outside the capital building, with the car running, Josh’s seat leaned back with him sitting up and me trying to get to his ears. As we drove up he started fake-hiccuping (which usually spurs real hiccups) but could only get 1 ½ out before he started laughing too hard.

I'm not saying that they're all true, but here's to the things we do because they really do work instead of because we know no other way.


  1. I remember once you told me to think of famous bald men when I had the hiccups... and all I could think of was Mr. Clean. Yep, my list of famous men starts with Mr. Clean... anyway, old wives tale or not it worked!

  2. Ha ha ha! That's funny, I totally forgot about that. Yeah, "7 famous bald men and mormons don't count" why couldn't I remember that last time! That sounds way easier...because I think my list not only begins, but also ends with Mr. Clean. :)


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