Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's all in your head!

As a boy I was blessed to be able to spend a fair amount of time with older relatives during periodic visits to family in Illinois. They were a hard-working lot who had to work hard because they didn't have much money. Taking time off from work because you didn't feel well was rarely an option. Consequently they gave an unsympathetic ear to anyone who claimed to be sick. "It's all in your head" was the usual response to someone who thought he might have a cold, a sore throat, a cerebral hemorrhage -- all malingering. My father, who inherited this bedside manner unmollified, forbade my siblings and me to have allergies. When I tell this to others they are sceptical. "What do you mean, you weren't allowed to have allergies?" they ask. It's not as if Dad said outright "no one in this house will have an allergy." His method showed more cunning than that. We had a number of cousins who had to take shots because of allergies. Like all children, we feared the needle. So, if one of us exhibited any such pantywaist behavior as sniffing, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and said, "I think I'm allergic to (fill in blank)" all Dad had to say was "Do you want to give yourself shots every day like your cousins?"
"NO!" we screamed.
"Then shut up."

Having been brought up in this sensible fashion, I was smugly pleased to find the paternal philosophy vindicated by a recent study indicating a correlation between reported allergies in children and parental hysteria. While third world kids breathe easy, the children of wealthy left-wing slackers are threatened by death every time their Mexican nanny opens a jar of Jif. Here, read about it for yourself.


Katie said...

OK. I am laughing hysterically.

Marianne Sanders said...

Love the post and the subsequent article! Very similar to my own upbringing!

My daughter missed a couple of days of school a few months ago due to illness. When she returned, she got called to the principal's office and was told that if she missed more than 15 days of school, she and I would have to appear in court. A very effective approach in dealing with absence - she hasn't missed a day since!