Eye-opening childhood truths turn into messy myths

Burt's Eye View

I hate it when truths that I hold to be self-evident turn out to be mere myths. It ruins my whole day.

Did you know that maximum speed for a road runner is 20 mph while a coyote tops out at 43 mph? That means Wile E. Coyote could have caught the Road Runner without breaking a sweat — or any of the other things he smashed, blew up or obliterated in those Looney Tunes cartoons.

As someone said, my whole childhood was based on a lie.

Here’s another one: Your eyes won’t get stuck that way no matter how long you cross them. I got a headache, but my eyes refused to lock.

Despite what our comic books taught us, a trombone cannot shoot a firecracker.

I played trombone. My brother played tuba. If you drop a lit firecracker down the bell of either instrument, no amount of huffing and puffing on our parts will launch that bang-bang sour note anywhere. It’s going to explode inside our horns.

(Note to our band directors: This should not be construed as a confession in any way, shape or form. We admit nothing. Other than disappointment. In the name of science experiments.)

Another one — have you actually witnessed someone take a flying tumble on a banana peel? You know why not? They’re just not as slippery as all our great slapstick comedians portrayed them.

Speaking of dropping foodstuffs, there is no such thing as a “five-second rule.” Germs don’t have stopwatches. If a cookie hits the carpet, the bugs hop aboard immediately. Consider it flavoring.

The shattered delusion that hurt the most, the one that ripped away my pillow of comfort, is this:

Men aren’t dirt-blind.

Years ago, I found an article in Reader’s Digest — my favorite medical journal — that states researchers proved that men truly do not notice dust bunnies, mud spots or dirt in the corner.

When my wife bustled by with a broom and a mop and sighed, “Can you not see THAT!” I waved the magazine and crowed, “Nope. It says right here that I can’t.” Science protected me from housework.

No more.

An international team of social and political sciences researchers showed hundreds of men and women an unkempt and dirty living room and kitchen to gauge their perception of messiness. The results, according to reporting from Melbourne University, is that men saw every bit as much of the dirt as women did.

The real problem, the study concludes, is that society expects less from men — and we gladly live down to it.

Face it, guys, if someone visits your house and sees dirty dishes overflowing the sink, newspapers scattered over the sofa and laundry piled on the dining room table, the standard reaction is, “Your wife’s not a very good housekeeper, is she?”

But let me tell you something, Buster, you are just as capable of cleaning the kitchen, picking up that disgusting mess you made, and folding and putting away the laundry, and you know it just as well as I do, so hop to it right now, and no more excuses!

At least, that’s how I heard it. From a woman waving a broom and a mop.

My eyes were opened. Another myth busted.

— Tidy up Cole’s message box at burtseyeview@trib today.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.

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