Buried somewhere in my college psychology notes is a statement something like this: The greatest security a child can have is to grow up knowing his parents told him the truth.
As I recall I had little reason to doubt what my parents told me, even though there were things I didnt think were exactly right, like bedtime, food choice and how beneficial it was to my character to wash the dishes, clean up my mess and babysit my little brothers when Id rather be doing something else.
Oh, Ive discovered a few inaccuracies in their tutelage - No, Daddy, wearing a red string around your neck doesnt prevent nosebleeds (as he learned from his father); No, Mother, the old typewriter isnt superior to the modern computer - but the older I get, the truer and wiser my less-educated, less-traveled parents and grandparents seem to be.
For example, I was shocked to learn that ginger tea is a recommended antidote for an upset stomach today, just as my grandmother said when I was about 7 years old. And I was flabbergasted when my doctor told me my high cholesterol/triglyceride problem would improve by adding fish oil to my diet, which it did - like the cod-liver oil my father poured down my throat to prevent colds eons ago.
Now I have another reason to believe my parents knew what they were doing all along.
I wasnt this complimentary when they wouldnt let my brothers and me drink Coca-Cola. They said it was because they use Coke to clean rust off cars, and just think what it will do to your stomach. But since we didnt have a car, I couldnt see how they knew.
I suspected the real reason was that we couldnt afford it, and that would have been the truth. Instead we drank milk for breakfast, lunch and supper, and fresh, cold water from our well in between. (Coffee and tea were for grown-ups.)
I put one over on them, though. When I was old enough to babysit other peoples children - for money - I drank the Coke they had in their house. But I didnt drink much. Something about that rust - dissolving scenario kept me from over-imbibing.
Well, it appears Daddy may have been right again. According to a message circulating on the Internet, To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers, rub them with rumpled-up aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola. And thats not all. Even you didnt tell me what else the bubbly-brown stuff would do. Listen to this:
In some states the highway patrol uses Coca-Cola to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.
To loosen a rusty bolt, apply a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola.
To remove grease from clothes, add a can of Coca-Cola plus detergent to the wash and run it through a regular cycle.
Use Coca-Cola to clean road haze from your cars windshield.
And get this: Some distributors of Coca-Cola have been using their own product to clean the engines of their trucks for years.
In contrast to the soft drink, my source suggests, there is loads of evidence that water is the superior beverage, not only for quenching your thirst, but for lots of other reasons:
Three-quarters of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and even mild dehydration slows down the metabolism and causes fatigue.
Research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could ease back and joint pain for most sufferers.
In at least a third of people, the thirst mechanism is so weak it is often mistaken for hunger. According to a University of Washington study, one glass of water will shut down hunger pangs for nearly all dieters.
Caution: Because the above information may be controversial, I must add this disclaimer:
In the words of a popular cable news network, I report; you decide. Though Im certain my water information is credible, I personally have never used Coca-Cola to clean blood off the highway, rust off my car, or haze off the windshield, so I cant be sure these tips really work.
But considering the luck Ive been having with old parents tales, I wouldnt bet against it.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to seabara at aol.com.)
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