Some myths are better left unspoiled
A study in the April 2006 Journal of Paleolimnology suggests that instead of water, Jesus actually walked on an isolated patch of floating ice in the Sea of Galilee.Paleolimnologists everywhere must be unscrewing bottles of sparkling cider in celebration of the professor of oceanography at Florida State University who studied the geological core samples from 1,500-2,500 years ago which revealed the existence of protracted cold spells. At the same time, the professor himself has dismissed insinuations from critics who think perhaps he should feel guilty for potentially turning upside down one of the basic tenets of Christianity, saying “If you need miracles to prop up your faith, then maybe your faith is weak to begin with.”His blasé attitude seems akin to walking up to a kid and saying, “Hey kid, you’re adopted. No one knows who those grown-ups are that you’ve been calling ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ for the past 12 years. Sucks, huh? Best of luck to you.” What’s next? Should the estimated 2.1 billion Christians across the globe be informed if DNA tests prove that Jesus was God’s nephew, not his son? Whether Biblical, oceanographic or commonplace, aren’t some beliefs sacred enough that revealing them should be on a need-to-know basis only? My mom used to take my sister and I each winter when we were growing up to the New York City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” at Lincoln Center. Chills of excitement raced down my spine every time the Nutcracker won his battle and became the prince in the Land of Snow when his mask magically disappeared. I was in college when my mom took me back to see “The Nutcracker” for the first time since I was little. However, instead of goose bumps, I got a migraine. There were no tingles when I realized the male ballerina very un-magically tossed his mask stage right. I never should have gone back. It was like a part of my childhood died at that moment. And I never should have learned to surf the web. That way, I never would have stumbled across the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Inspired by the opening line, “It was a dark and stormy night,” from Edward George Bulwert-Lytton’s 1830 book, “Paul Clifford,” the annual literary competition challenges writers to compose the worst possible opening line for a novel.Until I discovered the contest, I had been under the impression that “It was a dark and stormy night” was the first line of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” I was given that impression by my father, who, for years, repeated the line and quizzed me on its origin, which he always attributed to “The Raven.” When I called my dad with the facts after quadruple-checking the line’s origin, he replied simply with, “Huh. Who knew?” To be fair, I suppose there’s never a good way or time to realize that your parents don’t know everything. (For the record, though, my mom actually does know everything. Just ask her.) Wouldn’t Dorothy have slept better at night if she hadn’t found out that the mighty and powerful Wizard who was meant to get her back to Kansas was actually a big-nosed guy with a receding hairline not quite bright enough to cower behind a floor-length curtain that at least hid his legs? Imagine how many Prozac prescriptions the pharmacist in Oz must have filled once word got out to the residents that the person they’d worshiped forever was a fraud.There’s no un-ringing the bell once the cat’s out of the bag. “The Simpsons” was essentially ruined for me once I found out the guy who does Bart’s voice is a woman. I definitely didn’t want to know that a leader of the free world, Dick Cheney, prefers Diet Sprite. I’ll forever associate Wendy’s chili with finger tips, even though it turned out to be a hoax. Blue dresses everywhere probably would have preferred if Monica Lewinsky had just thrown hers away, so we all could have been spared from thinking of private presidential matters every time we see a similarly colored frock. Just imagine the panic that would ensue if the American Medical Association ever formally announced chicken soup doesn’t cure the cold that isn’t contracted by leaving the house with wet hair. Other than the Santa, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy myths, there’s nothing anyone should assume that everyone else knows, or needs to know. If Meredith Cohen won’t be gaining access to a trust fund when she turns 35 in a few years, please keep it quiet. E-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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