lies my parents told me

I was texting this morning with a friend who has a genuine bird phobia.  I completely understand and sympathize with this because I have a diagnosed phobia of my own, albeit not of birds.  I just think they are gross and shouldn’t kept as pets.  Anyway, the conversation got around to the wild turkeys and geese we have here in the Boston area which apparently she didn’t know about, because now she is horrified and will probably never come visit me or any of the colleges we have here.  I remembered that old saying my parents would use whenever I saw a snake in the house or a giant raccoon in the garage, “It’s more scared of you than you are of it.” This is a lie.
The man in this picture is minding his own business, trying to go somewhere, and this turkey is attacking him. Why? Because it’s a turkey.  That’s what they do.
This made me think of other lies our parents told us to
1) make us feel safe or 2) make us stop annoying them.

Lie: You can’t go swimming for 30 minutes after you eat or you’ll get a cramp and drown.
The only reason I can think of for this lie is that if you go swimming right after you eat, you might swallow a bunch of water and throw up in the car.
Lie:  Don’t make that face, it’ll freeze that way.
I don’t know if I believed this but there was enough reasonable doubt to make me uncross my eyes.
Lie:  Eat your vegetables. There are starving people in China.
While this is not technically a lie, it’s completely unrelated to anything I will ever think or do.  Yes, there are starving people everywhere.  Yes, I am grateful to not be one of them.  Yes, I will die before I eat that spinach.
Lie:  This is for your own good.
That is crap.  It is a classic example of pronoun trouble.
Lie:  If you go out in the rain or sleep with the window open, you’ll catch a cold.
What does that even mean?  I guess it’s possible if you go out in the rain or sleep with the window open, next to someone who has a cold.
Lie:  Santa/Tooth Fairy/Jesus is watching you.
This could lead to a level of paranoia no child should experience.  Besides, we always got presents anyway so it didn’t seem to matter.

Still, every time I see a goose or a woodchuck or a turkey on my way to the bus stop, I repeat those words of wisdom, “It’s more scared of you that you are of it.”

I ask you, does this bird look scared?


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The devil is in the details.

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