We’ve all heard various urban myths over the years. There’s a wee bit of believability in them until you give the story some thought. Once you do that, stories like the kidney removal are barely worth the effort it takes to shake your head.
My first urban myth came from my mom. I was about eight years old, I think, and had been outside on a winter’s day waiting for my parents to return from a trip to a nearby town. I was wearing earmuffs.
According to mom some poor fellow in that same nearby town had been out making deliveries two weeks earlier, wearing earmuffs, and he froze his brain.
The story stayed with me. I didn’t have the capacity for critical thought at that age to realize it was less than possible for this to happen. Eventually I realized the absurdity of it. Years later I told my husband the story. To this day he calls earmuffs “brainfreezers.”
Sometime in the mid-1990s mom told me the story again as it had just happened two weeks earlier.
Oh, well. Poor fellow.
If the frozen brain is absurd, then this next story is preposterous. I heard it about 20 years ago when I was working in Fort St. John in northeastern BC.
Seems some members of the local Native population spent a good deal of time outdoors in the winter consuming alcohol and building fires to stay warm. According to my boss, the editor of the local daily newspaper, one woman fell asleep by her fire and wound up in the local hospital for eight days. She was okay, but the beer in her stomach was frozen.
I started to say something, but realized it was pointless. It’s a good story in that it covers so many bases. Alcoholism, racism, medical marvels, mysterious ways of the Natives, plus it’s entertaining and it makes the brainfreezers story sound legitimate.
So I wonder, now that the cold weather is upon us, if I put on some earmuffs, lift a few, and then sleep outside, which will freeze first, beer or brain?