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Posts Tagged ‘Advice’

THE WRONG WAY TO DO THINGS

As I look back on my life, I realize that since childhood I have been taught the wrong way to do things. When I brush my teeth, I think about elementary school, when we had lessons on dental hygiene every year. They told us never to brush sideways. We were to place the brush at the gum line and brush away, to remove the food particles and what not. At some point in the intervening years, this “wisdom” changed. Now you are supposed to brush sideways and use floss to remove the food particles and what not. To be on the safe side, I now do both, brushing up and down first, then sideways. If “wisdom” reverses itself again, my bases are covered.

They also told us to brush after every meal, without fail. I guess we were supposed to take a tooth brush to school, but no one ever did. Nor did they give us the time or opportunity to brush after lunch. Now I hear that brushing immediately after a meal is the wrong thing to do. Now, food softens the tooth enamel and makes it susceptible to damage. You should wait at least twenty minutes before brushing. Or go to bed with dirty teeth if you snack within twenty minutes of bedtime.

In fourth grade, our elementary school campaigned for better nutrition at breakfast. They ran a contest, giving points for each “healthy” thing students ate: eggs, bacon, juice, and toast. In those days, most mothers did not work outside the home and had the time and energy to cook breakfast. Of course, the economically advantaged families could afford bacon, eggs, and juice, so their children won the contest. My mother was a good cook but we had a large family. Although we lived on a farm, we did not have chickens at the time and had to buy eggs, not to mention bacon and juice. Our breakfast was usually bran flakes and milk. Today, as far as I know, juice is still acceptable, but bacon is verboten and eggs are sometimes the wrong thing to eat, depending on how the “experts” feel about cholesterol this week. What is the recommended breakfast today? Bran flakes and milk.

Do you remember when you should never go swimming for at least an hour after eating? After spending half a day driving to the beach and arriving at lunch time, you had to wait an hour before getting your feet wet. Why? Because you would get cramps and drown. Now I understand this prohibition has been lifted. Eating has nothing to do with life threatening cramps. Eat, and enjoy your swim.

When I became a mother, we were told never to put a baby on his back. He would spit up and choke to death. Since I wanted to be a good mother, I always laid my babies on their bellies. By the time I became a grandmother, “wisdom” had changed. Putting a baby on his belly is now the wrong thing to do. He will suffocate. Now you must put them on their backs. I guess they no longer spit up and choke. As a middle ground, you can lay them on their sides. Right. They’ll stay that way and not roll over onto their backs or bellies to certain death.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for having experts to advise us. After all, they are supposed to be up to date on knowledge and research. But sometimes I wish they would make up their minds. In the meantime, I think I will rely on common sense.

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