The truth is out there

There are many things that people who should know better say with complete confidence that turn out later to be completely false. I think this started with the caveman who stated emphatically that there would never be a faster mode of travel than your own two feet and continued on with falsehoods perpetuated by new world explorers that it was impossible to circumnavigate the globe (first, because it was not a globe, and second those who denied the essential truth of the geography of the planet would fall prey to the dragons guarding the precipice at the end of the world). Despite the potential ability to learn from these patterns of misguided pronouncements that never fail to come back to haunt us, this has continued through the invention of the car (why would anyone need to go faster than 20 miles per hour?) to the computer (why would anyone need a computer in their home?). These are some of the things that various people in some role of authority told me in a very authoritative way that turned out to be completely false.

You won’t have a calculator with you all the time. Such was the reasoning math teachers used to persuade us of the importance of learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide without assistive devices other than a pencil. The importance of brain-driven calculating skills was further reinforced by the need to avoid the shame of pressing fingers and toes into service, especially in seasons when toes are not readily available. Anyhow, fast forward to the 21st century when everyone carries a calculator around in their pocket in the form of the thing most of us simply call a phone. Unfortunately you still need to know the basic principles of math in order to use a calculator of any kind (for example the order of operations, meaning if the task at hand requires multiplication and division, make sure you do that before attempting to add or subtract anything). I had to look that up by surfing the web on my phone, by the way.

Wear a hat in the winter because most of your heat is lost through your head. I am relieved to learn that I am now off the hook for not wanting to wear a toque. Apparently, contrary to the manual issued to parents everywhere, the amount of heat you lose is evenly distributed across the entire body surface. The reason your head may feel cold when the rest of you is appropriately attired for winter is because the rest of you is appropriately attired for winter. As long as the bulk of your body is bulked up, you are in no danger of dropping dead from hypothermia in the near term. You’re welcome.

If you read in the dark you will ruin your eyesight – or a variation thereof, if you sit too close to the TV you will ruin your eyesight. I think this misinformation was in the best interest of those who would like to enforce bed times and those who would like an unobstructed view of the television (often the one and the same). If this had actually been the case, there would be no golden Labrador dogs available for general consumption as they would have all been conscripted into service.

And by the way, always make sure you wear clean underwear (although I am not sure I want to know anyone who needs to be reminded of this essential truth).

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