Wherever you look, there are “safety” warnings impeding us from enjoying our lives. Don’t eat this, don’t smoke that, don’t put that in your butt. I hate to be the one to break the news, but I think everything’s going to be okay.
While there are some warnings out there that you should definitely pay attention to (for example, the surgeon general’s warning on that pack of cigarettes) there are a few floating around that are total bogus.
Here’s a bunch that we should all be ignoring.
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Using cellphones while flying
It doesn’t matter. Our expert pilot/therapist bud, along with dispelling a sh*t-ton of flying myths, confirmed that turning off your phone during takeoff does nothing. “It doesn’t matter, it never did.The FAA did not want to get into the business of testing every electronic device that could have possibly caused a problem.” Hear that, kids? Play Candy Crush to your heart’s content.
Wait an hour after eating to go swimming
Allegedly those who jump into the water will experience a killer cramp that ultimately leads to drowning. Fortunately, Snopes took apart this decades-old myth. During the early ‘60s, exercise physiologist Arthur Steinhaus took a position against the myth in Journal of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation: “Although muscle cramps in the calves, feet, and hands while swimming are not unknown, they are certainly not life threatening provided the swimmer does not panic.”
Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.
It won’t. These labels were originally attached in the early twentieth century to dissuade mattress sellers from selling beds made out of shitty materials to consumers. So, do whatever the hell you want with that mattress—ain’t no thing.
Don’t sit too close to the TV
According to a 2005 article in The New York Times, the claim that television is bad for your eyesight is actually outdated—but it was a problem for a while: “Before the 1950s, television sets emitted levels of radiation that after repeated and extended exposure could have heightened the risk of eye problems in some people.” Most experts still recommend taking a few minutes off per hour if you’re doing a 10-hour binge watch.
Cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis
Arthur who? Okay, dad-joke aside, cracking your knuckles is not in the slightest bit bad for you. A study published back 1998 in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism entitled, “Does Knuckle Cracking Lead to Arthritis of the Fingers?” earned the author, Donald Unger, a Nobel Prize (seriously) after he proved that knuckle cracking is harmless. Unger cracked the knuckles on his left hand for fifty years while leaving his right hand un-cracked. Guess what happened? Nothing.
Don’t swallow gum and toothpaste
Apparently gum takes seven years to digest, right? Wrong. Pediatric gastroenterologist, David Milov, of the Nemours Children's Clinic in Orlando tells us that the myth is completely medically unfounded: "On occasion we'll see a piece of swallowed gum," he says, "But usually it's not something that's any more than a week old." Toothpaste is totally fine too, NASA’s astronauts swallow it in space. Probably shouldn’t make a habit of it though.
It’s unsafe to fly through a thunderstorm
Once again, our favorite pilot Tom Bunn, dispels this myth: “You don’t want to land when you’re right under one because there’s a thing that happens called a downburst, where there’s a thunderstorm and it just dumps the air straight downward. If you’re 5,000 feet high, you’re fine, but you don’t want to be 50 feet off the ground.”
Laser pointers will blind you
They almost certainly won’t, but you still shouldn’t point them at people. According to a piece on Scientific American, “Eye damage from a pocket laser is unlikely, but could be possible under certain conditions.” If you get your hands on a laser pointer that’s not manufactured to federal specifications, you’ll literally put an eye out with that thing. But, for the most part, the laser pointers you find in CVS and Walgreens won’t make your buddy’s retinas melt.
Jeremy Glass is Supercompressor's prized staff writer who once won a poker game in Havana.