X-Rays and Candy

Yesterday I was doing something uncharacteristically indulgent—getting my hair colored, trimmed, and styled, when I overheard another client and stylist discussing the dangers of trick or treating, you know, the old razors in apples thing. They spoke of that myth as the gospel truth, as the reason they were taking their kids to some trunk and treat thing (I did not know what that was—had to look it up!).

I am always surprised at how those myths persist—heck, they began in the pre-internet age—which really says something about how people latch onto things, and don’t let go. I remember the razors in apples thing growing up, I remember local hospitals offering to x-ray candy every year. Does that still happen?

I was chomping at the bit to intrude on their conversation, but, alas, I was in the hair drying/styling portion of my salon day—so I only caught bits of the ongoing conversation, and there was no way I was going to yell over the sound of hot hair aimed at my head loudly at high speed. It’s funny, earlier this year, I wrote about struggling with the notion of jumping onto every little lapse when I hear cancer myths—worried I will become that tiresome “cancer woman” among people I know (probably already am to some degree). But when Halloween BS gets tossed around, whew, I was VERY ready to rain knowledge and truth on uninformed heads!

Forced into zipping my lips, I got contemplative about how myths persist. I mean, I know the jokes about not believing everything you see on the internet—of course you cannot! But on the other hand, not believing everything you read and hear (rumors?) is a long, grand tradition, isn’t it? (Uh-oh, having a childhood flashback to the rumor about the Mikey kid eating pop rocks and soda—anyone remember that?) And combating rumors with truth happens on the internet too, in addition to the creation of BS. So, how is it that so many people still buy into the urban legends about razors and apples? That has been debunked, I thought!

I wish I knew how to end these illusions, because that talent would sure come in handy in CancerLand.

We hang onto falsehoods, slogans, any number of ideas out of….what? Tradition? Habit? Pick any breast cancer sound bite: 1 in 8 (when that stat is bit more nuanced when looking at age brackets), early detection saves lives, sugar feeds cancer, a positive outlook helps kick cancer ass, run for cures—oh, why go on. I’ve been struggling with a few myths I hang onto myself—but at least I am questioning everything.

Maybe that is the key—the willingness to question anything one hears or reads. An open mind.

October is wrapping up and I find myself in a foul mood tonight. Watching nonsense online, people hanging onto untruths, just being unwilling to hear any challenges to what is perceived as facts, I’m just bummed out. Between Halloween myths and breast cancer BS, I’m just drowning in mass delusions.

I’ve been blogging and reading blogs for nearly 3 years, and I’ve been in CancerLand for nearly five, and I keep thinking: Still?! Still, with this rah rah pink crap, no progression?! How can that be? We have to keep fighting nonsense every year?

But the answer to that question was right in front of me yesterday, listening to 2 people talk about a lie, a decades old myth, like it was real.

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