Art Chenoweth

So, bunkie, summer is in session. You may be still trying to graduate or you might be actually taking a summer break. Either way, unless you’re ticketed for a trip to Mexico or Europe, you’ll likely be moving back in with mom and dad.

Quickly, you’ll become reacquainted with the advantages and disadvantages of this move. Your head splits when the family shar-pei begins yipping loudly in the morning after your riotous night at the Ohm. You’re back under the same roof with a washer and dryer but you still tend to throw your dirty clothes on the floor.

Once again you run the risk of somebody peeking into your diary or sniffing out your stash.

One thing you’ll have to face is mom’s advice. She’ll once again be on hand to worry about your health, your behavior, your state of mind. Thanks to my years of experience I can remind us all of some of the advice moms still traditionally ladle out, some good, some totally off the mark.

“Stop cracking your knuckles, you’ll get arthritis.”

Maybe mom or dad already has arthritis but they didn’t get it knuckle-cracking. You won’t get arthritis but you will loosen your ligaments and tighten your hand muscles. That’s known as losing your grip.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.”

Right on, mom. Nothing is more disgusting. Not only that, you could breathe in food and choke. Want disgusting? King Louis XIV of France suffered a broken upper palate due to bad dentistry. His dinner tended to blow out through his nose.

“Don’t sit so close to the TV, you’ll ruin your eyes.”

Not true. You may wilt and sag from being sedentary but the eyeballs won’t fail. A 1993 Israeli study suggests too much reading can give you near-sightedness. Now they tell us, after years of sweating over the fine print in textbooks.

“Big boys don’t cry.”

Dad may be more likely to say this. Studies say if you don’t let out the tears once in a while, the emotion may erupt as anger. Crying slows the heart rate, reduces stress hormones. Carl Jung said it even scarier. When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.

“If there’s mold on the cheese, throw it out.”

Wrong, mom. Scrape the moldy part off and chomp away.

“Learn to forgive and forget.”

Only half right. Forgiving lowers anxiety, helps depression and lets you release anger, which can lead to heart disease. But forget by forgiving? Not true. You’ll remember forever. That’s why reincarnation wouldn’t feel so good. Do you want to carry all those accumulated bad memories around for a few more lifetimes?

“It’s raining, take your umbrella.”

A tossup. If you want to be macho like Lars Larson, the rigidly conservative radio talk show, you never carry an umbrella in Oregon. If you want to be comfortable, like most of us, break out the bumbershoot. You can always find good bargains in umbrellas at the lost and found sales on campus about once a term.

“Nobody respects a wiseass.”

Men’s Health Magazine points out that David Letterman has proved that wrong. An occasional wise-ass outburst helps relieve inner tension and keeps you out of the doormat class. It doesn’t hurt your image if people fear you just a tiny bit.

“I’m not driving you anywhere if you miss the bus.”

Most moms can never carry out this empty threat, which is a big mistake for your psychiatric future. If you know you can screw up with mom and still come out in the end, you’ll live your whole life as a screwup.

“You’ve got a nosebleed. Tilt your head back.”

Bad idea, mom. Makes the blood run down your throat. Do you want a stomach full of blood? If you’re a vampire, maybe yes. Otherwise, pinch the tip of your nose and sit up straight.

“You can just sit down and eat dinner with the rest of us.”

Mom’s heart is literally in the right place on this one. Studies show eating dinners with the family tends to prompt you to eat more fruit and veggies, less saturated fat.

“That music is too loud.”

Mom is so right on this one. Too many years of loud music can permanently damage your cochlear hairs and they don’t repair themselves. Remember, Charlie Watts of the Stones is stone deaf and Peter Townshend of The Who has permanent tinnitis.

“Eat your breakfast, get the day started right.”

Mom is correct. Your Personal Care Provider (our current HMO pseudonym for the family doctor) will back her up. Those bodies who are never fed breakfast later cry out for junk food.

“If you keep making those awful faces, your face will freeze that way.”

Not quite, but close. A lot of face-making can add wrinkles. On the other hand, you don’t want to be a stone face, either. Speaking of wrinkles, that stars of the silver screen avoid them by avoiding tanning booths, they use liquid tan. They’re a lot more scared of career-ending crinkles than they are of skin cancer.

Mom means well, so don’t be too critical. After you move in, she’ll probably continue to pick up your dirty clothes off the floor and put them in the washer. Be glad she’s there to rescue you from total depravity.