WOODY: Don’t Believe Every Old Tale Old Wives Tell
LARRY WOODY, Guest Columnist
Sunday, July 15, 2012 4:07 am
I once made the mistake of believing the Old Wives Tale that a skunk can’t throw its scent if quickly dispatched. (I never stopped to wonder how an Old Wife could possibly know something like that when I volunteered to whack a skunk holed up in my neighbor’s garage.)
Trust me – the Old Wives were dead wrong about skunks and their spraying aptitude.
I popped Mr. Stinky and he popped me back.
How bad was it?
Let’s just say it was a while before I could sing in the choir again.
You’ve gotta be careful about believing tales spun by Old Wives.
Another skunk fable: According to an Old Wives Tale, tomato juice will remove the odor.
It didn’t work on my dog Buddy who got spritzed one night while out on the town. Next morning we gave him a tomato-juice bath and it made it worse – for days Buddy smelled like a stinky tomato.
If a bird flies through your window, Old Wives claim that means bad luck.
I can see how that could be true, especially if the bird were, say, a Canada goose. The cleaning bill would be enormous.
It was equally bad luck the night a bat flew down my Aunt Em’s chimney.
After Aunt Em demolished much of her furniture swinging a broom (a flitting bat is harder to hit than a major league screwball), the amused bat grew bored and darted out a window.
Speaking of bats, Old Wives claim the little critters will dive down and get tangled in one’s hair. Over the years that’s become less and less of a worry for most men my age. Any bat that tried to land on our head would skid off the runway.
If a bee flies into your home Old Wives say it means you’ll have a visitor. If a bee flies into your car it means the visitor could be a tow-truck driver.
The sound of cow bells drives away evil spirits. It also drives fans nuts at Mississippi State football games.
Old Wives claim its bad luck to smash a ladybug. Especially on your freshly cleaned carpet.
According to the Old Wives it’s bad luck to lay a hat on a bed. Conversely, it’s equally bad luck to go to sleep hanging from a hat-rack.
One of my favorite Old Wives Tales is that its good luck to spit on your fish bait.
I once fished with a superstitious fisherman who chewed tobacco. The boat was a mess.
Another Old Wives Tale for the hygienically challenged: spit in your palm before shaking hands and the deal will never be broken.
Maybe so, but it’s hard to imagine sealing a deal with some corporate big-shot that way. (“OK, Mr. Trump, we’ve got a deal – put’er there! Patooey!”)
If your left hand itches it means you’re going to come into some money. If your right hand itches it means that cluster of leaves by the driveway that you dropped your keys into was poison ivy.
Always get out of bed on the same side you got in or you’ll have bad luck. Plus, if it’s dark, you can’t find your shoes.
According to an Old Wives Tale, if an owl hoots outside your bedroom window it’s a bad omen.
I can attest to that, based on an experience one night at Reelfoot Lake. An owl started hooting outside the cabin window around midnight and I got up to shoo it away. I got out on the wrong side of the bed and stepped on a lady bug, completing the triple play of bad omens – owl, bed, bug.
Next day I didn’t catch a single fish, my buddy swallowed his good-luck chaw and our boat sprang a leak.
I can’t say that the Old Wives didn’t warn me.
Larry Woody can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.