Those lies that society told us as kids
HOW MANY times do you think you have lied to your children? I don't mean damaging untruths that can have sinister repercussions, but simple white lies that help to keep the peace on a daily basis.
Power Rangers is not telly on today; the toy shop is closed; Mammy will mind that tenner for you; Daddy's tired after a hard day's work (as if )...the kind of fibs that roll off the tongue for so many of us.
New research claims that on average parents tell their children up to 3,000 lies in a lifetime – I'd consider that calculation reserved. Over the weekend, I probed a few friends on the lies their parents told them, or indeed urban myths that existed in society when they were young, and here are the pick of the bunch.
That ice-cream man doesn't wash his hands. The poor ice-cream man. Not the nicest lie to have told about you, especially when it could jeopardise future sales of your products, should word spread. But it happened, to stop the young ones' tongues drooling, and children were steered in the direction of the fruit and vegvendor instead - a professional renowned for never allowing a speck of dirt gather beneath his fingertips. Or a maggot enter his lettuce.
Pick a dandelion and wet the bed. The oddest of myths, but one the innocent flower, with its shaggy yellow perm, must continue to live with. Some believe this tall tale originated from the fact that the stem of the flower is a diuretic, and diuretics increase the amount of urine released by the body. However, simply sniffing or picking the flower should do no harm - you have to digest it. I'm sure kids are more streetwise these days, and could think of tastier snacks.
Eat your crusts and your hair will go curly. Do you remember that one? We've all heard it and should you have wanted a mop like Shirley Temple, then it was great news. It wasn't such an incentive for those of us that didn't fancy curls up top, however. The crusts of bread are good for you, as they provide up to eight times the amount of antioxidants that the rest of your slice can deliver. I suggest parents replace curls with something more appealing for kids born of the 21st century. Sallow skin, perhaps. The bogeyman is in the wardrobe. The feckin' bogeyman, and how he used to terrify me. Looking back I fail to understand the benefit of his creation other than to terrify kids into behaving; sheer adult entertainment at their offspring's expense. It certainly never helped me get to sleep. His close relation was Mr. Bag Man, the creature with the giant black sack that used to pluck unaccompanied kids from the streets before popping them into a pot of boiling water for his supper.
Hair-raising stuff. SPANISH SUCCESS DIDN'T COME OVERNIGHT
In a week where just about every criticism and slur that could be thrown at Giovanni Trapattoni and his players was slung, it proves timely to remember just how long it took Spain, currently the slickest of international soccer teams, to win their first World Cup.
They first had their name inscribed on the FIFA World Cup Trophy the last time out, in 2010. In fact it was their first time to reach the final of the competition; that's a long wait from when the tournament first began back in 1930. Spain have had more success in the European Championships, winning the tournament in 1964, the second time the tournament was held, and again in 2008. They were also losing finalists to France in 1984.
The point to consider here is that a lot of hurt and media condemnation had washed under the Spanish bridge before they finally tweaked things to perfectionn during the latter part of the noughties. It was also to their good fortune that Xavi and Iniesta were born within their borders.
The Irish football side has been given a cruel reality check at this year's Euro Championships and it knocks home what is expected of them if they want to sit, and hold their composure, at the game's top table. You would only hope that our soccer governing body realises serious changes need to be made. As Damien Duff admitted on the eve of his 100th cap, the current side's efforts (prior to the Italy game) were not good enough. The seeds need to be sown to produce a team that can one day hold its own with the best of them.
Journalist Vincent Hogan made a good point over the weekend when he said the Spanish will never rival us in the fields of rugby, horse racing or Gaelic games (hardly), and let's not forget that we only lost by one kick of the ball to them at the World Cup 10 years' ago. If the right steps are now taken, why we can't run them close again? Eventually.