Just when you thought life was too dangerous to be bearable, I am here to offer you some comforting news, just as a kind of Christmas gift from me to you.
An article in an issue of the Globe and Mail a few years ago offered the reader a bit of enlightenment that has come about due to legitimate scientific experimentation. Consequently, you are now free to do away with some widely held myths this Christmastime.
Here are the results of the G&M study:
– Poinsettias are not poisonous: Poinsettias are at worst widely overdone at Christmas and are really not all that pretty and should best be studied in the places where they grow, like Mexico, Hawaii and other tropical climes. But, there is also a longstanding belief that even a nibble on a petal would result in immediate and agonizing death. In fact, recent studies have shown you could scarf a boxcarload of them and suffer no ill-effects. Such a finding, however, does not make them particularly beautiful.
– Suicides are not more prevalent at Christmas: Newspaper folks, cops and medical parishioners have always been in accord with the poet who attested that April is the cruellest month. In truth, the desire to off oneself comes with the balmy days of spring, for whatever reason. While the Christmas season may bring about some genuine despair, the final solution seems to be rarely sought.
– Sugar does not make kids hyperactive: It rots their teeth and can expedite Type 2 diabetes, but if they are tearing around the house and damaging the bric-a-brac it is probably because they’re undisciplined little jerks.
– There are magical hangover cures: There are not, period. The only cure is time and by God you will suffer during that time. Self-inflicted injuries have penalties, so live with it or learn to drink moderately.
– You do not lose the majority of your body heat through the top of your head: Everybody believes this one, but it just ain’t so, say researchers. If you went out in sub-zero weather with a hat on, but no pants, you would lose just as much body heat through your legs. You would also probably be arrested.
Space limitations precluded the G&M covering ‘all’ the myths and misapprehensions that about this time of year. So, as a service to my faithful readers, I am about to fill you in on the items that did not make it. Consider if you will (said in a Rod Serling voice, if you choose) the matter of the following:
– Simply three successive playings of the Twelve Days of Christmas has been proved to render laboratory rats suicidally depressed. However, the Little Drummer Boy need only be played twice to render those same rats insane.
– Commercial eggnog is passed by food safety inspectors provided it contains not in excess of 28 percent industrial waste.
– A sex act with a non-spouse if carried out under mistletoe does not constitute adultery in the eyes of some churches. Federal law, however, forbids the naming of those churches.
– In Belgium it is illegal for children to arise earlier than 7 a.m. on Christmas morning. The state can seize children who violate this regulation, and their parents can and will be arrested.
– It is common knowledge that there exists in the world only one certifiable Christmas cake, and that it has been sent by mail from recipient to recipient throughout the western world since 1627. At the end of the Yuletide season it is returned to the Tower of London where it is kept next to the Crown Jewels until the following October. In 1747 one Percy Warbeck of Coventry was beheaded for slicing off a little chunk and suggesting he actually liked it.
– The Queen’s favorite Christmas song is the dogs barking Jingle Bells and she demands that it be played at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Eve. The dogs are, of course, all corgis trained by Her Majesty. Refusal by an archbishop to carry out this mandate can and has resulted in beheading or banishment to the Antipodes.
– The actual Little Town of Bethlehem in Israel is also known as the Cleveland of the Holy Land and was, prior to the rise of computers, the Wite-Out manufacturing capital of the world. Computers are still deemed blasphemies by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.
– In Britain, Canada and much of the Commonwealth, December 26th is known as Boxing Day. This is a day devoted to unfettered brawling in the streets and pubs with no penalties. It’s a great stress reducer.
– In the State of Pennsylvania it is mandatory for families to invite the most loathed members for Christmas dinner and it is also compulsory to bond and fake having a good time. If said good time does not ensue, the loathed cousin, aunt or whoever, can report the family which will be forced to forego all Christmas activities for the ensuing five years.
– The Little Drummer Boy is Satanic: This is my opinion and I’m sticking to it. No coincidence that it is the favorite carol of loathesome Angela on The Office.
May you all have a wonderful season regardless of what you get up to.