You have only yourself to blame…

Sunday was my father’s seventy-fourth birthday, and it caused me to ruminate a bit.

See, when I was growing up, my science teacher dad told us all how they get rid of tapeworms. You have not heard of this? Let me enlighten you. They put you in the hospital and starve you. When you are really, really hungry, they cook up a big steak and set it in front of you, and when the RAVENOUS tapeworm comes out through your nostrils, they grab hold of it and YANK until they have the whole thing out.

What, you did not know this?

Many people do not. Why, when I retold this up into my late teens and possibly early twenties, people scoffed. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that my father had MADE THIS SHIT UP. What sort of man TELLS his children this? Surely a man who expected they would not be gullible enough to believe it. I lived in mortal fear of tapeworms for most of my young life, because tapeworm removal sounded pretty damn nasty, painful and just plain icky.

As you consider this story, perhaps you will understand why I eventually took that other stuff–the religion stuff–my father told me with a grain of salt I should have saved to put on the steak they were going to lure the tapeworm out with.

Tell me this. Is it really any wonder I took that whole “Golden-plates-reformed-Egyptian-headless-Nephite-running-around” story and threw IT out the window, too?

Dad? You have only yourself to blame. But Happy Birthday anyway.

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About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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4 Responses to You have only yourself to blame…

  1. nerdycellist says:

    My grandma told my mom that she shouldn’t pick at her bellybutton because that was the knot that held your guts in. Mom didn’t find out the truth until her early twenties, when she was working in a pathology lab and actually saw a bellybutton – both sides. Still believes in gold plates and deer-back riding and the rest of that nonsense though.

    I don’t remember them teaching me about Santa and the Easter Bunny, probably because they didn’t want to lie to me. They gave that up with my younger siblings, maybe just so I could exercise the older sister’s prerogative of making them cry when I told them Santa wasn’t real. I was a pretty rotten older sister.

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  2. Tracy says:

    My father had a elementary school science teacher tell him that thunder is made by two clouds bumping together.

    When he got to high school, he learned the truth, but what makes someone tell a fabrication to a kid? I guess because kids are gullible, but still.

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  3. C. L. Hanson says:

    That’s funny, I’ve actually heard people tell that tapeworm story, but never as a serious explanation.

    However, I have heard (religious and non-religious) people argue your main point seriously with respect to Santa Claus: that when kids are encouraged to sincerely believe that Santa Claus is real and then later learn that it’s just a shared illusion, it can encourage them to doubt religious stories as well. I talked about this myself in I Believe in Santa Claus.

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  4. Becca says:

    My dad (also a scientist) told me brown cows give chocolate milk and white cows give white milk, among other silly things and I believed him. i think it’s a weird part of their brains that like to mess with kids minds. Of course I have my three year old believing that moose make a noise that goes “dum-dee-dum-dee-dum” because it sounds so cute when he does it. I’ll have to tell him the truth soon I guess.

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