Truth to “Old Wive’s Tales”…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …

The other morning a started to speak and I had the need to clear my throat.

I said, “Pardon me, I have a frog in my throat.”

I wondered, “Why a frog in my throat?”

Why not a news, a salamander or a toad?

So I did a little research.

Seems the term “frog in your throat” goes back to 1800’s when Taylor Brothers used it as the name of a propriety medicine for sore throats.

Taylor Brothers claimed that “Frog in the Throat” lozenges would cure hoarseness.

Claimed to be the “Greatest Cough and Voice Lozenge on Earth”, those drops cost you 10 cents a box.

Frogs and throats may go back to midievil times when physicians thought the secretions of a frog could help heal a sore throat.

There are writings from the 17th century claiming holding a frog in a child’s mouth until the frog died was a cure for thrush.

The “Wild West” medicine shows in America have a story about a travelling show coming to town and one of the “attendees” claimed he swallowed some spring water and chugged down a small frog.

He claimed he could feel it jumping inside him.

The “salesman” directed the man to lay on the stage in front of everyone and he said he would put a bif of his “magic elixar” in the victims’ mouth and the smell would force the frog to jump out of the man’s mouth.

Of course this had to be done with the hucksters’ high hat over the victim’s head.

Sure enough, the victim coughed and gagged and “Voila!”, the salesman produced a small frog.

That’s why we probably have a “frog in our throat” today.

To me, it falls into the “Old Wives Tales” category, those supposed truths which are mostly spurious or superstitious.

Today we’d call them “urban myths” or “urban legends”.

For example;

“Swimming after eating with give you serious cramps” and you had to wait at least 30 minutes before going back into the water.

This was probably supported by adults who desired a break from having to keep an eye of squealing and splashing kids at the beach or in the pool.

:”Chewing gum stays in your stomach for 7 years.”

While your body can’t digest it, it normally passes through harmlessly.

It’s probably better to spit it out and stick in to the underside of a table so my sister Jerry can retrieve it and chew on it, especially if it’s aromatic grape bubble gum. (True story!)

“Human urine heals jellyfish stings.”

Probably made for some interesting Florida beach scenes.

“Coffee stuns your growth”.

Any NBA players drink coffee?

“Plucking a gray hair means 2 more will grow it”.

If this were true, a lot of bald men would have started plucking hairs years ago.

“Sitting too close to the TV runs your eyes.”

Temporary eye strain maybe.

“Cats suck baby’s breath.”

There’s a 300+ year old case where a child was allegedly strangled to death by a cat but researchers believe the youngster died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

“Shaving makes hair grow back thicker”.

Might have gained strength in the “Flower Power 60’s” and the “Women’s Lib Movement” when we turned to flannel and hairier body parts.

“Hair of the dog cures a hangover”.

Now this first appeared in print way back in 1546.

If you had your morning orange juice after a “night on the town”, a little vodka mixed in would chase the headache and nausea.

“Cracking knuckles can cause arthritis”.

This was probably encouraged by those who weren’t fond of the sound.

Actually the popping is from the nitrogen bubbles in the fluid that lubricates those joints.

“Eating carrots will give you better eyesight.”

Every see a rabbit wearing eyeglasses?

Actually, this is credited to WWII Royal Air Foce members.

“Being cold will give you one.”

Well, when it’s chilly, we stay indoors more and we exposed ourselves more frequently to the “bugs” from other folks.

“Five second rule.”

Nah. The moment the food or utensil hits the floor, bacteria are there, no matter how much you brush it off or blow on it.

“Eat 8 spiders a year while sleeping.”

The National Sleep Foundation has no hard data to support this but arachnaphobics would differ.

“Feed a cold, starve a fever.”

There’s a bit of truth in this due to raising the body temperature when you eat, but still.

My Grandmother-in-law once told me that pine needles were poisonous.

That’s why nothing ever grew under those big pine trees in the yard.

Never mind it was due to the fact they were so deep that they limited moisture and sunlight from reaching any plant growth.

She also said if you didn’t pass gas, it would build up pressure and stop your heart.


You can’t bee too safe now, can you?

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