Wednesday February 24, 2010: Brussels Sprouts and Colds

It’s odd how we cling to some things that we know are not true.  For example, for the longest time I hated Brussels sprouts.  Of course, when I was a kid, I had quite a list of foods I wouldn’t eat, only to discover later that they were great.  Like asparagus.  Hated it then, love it now.  But I never quite got over the Brussels sprouts thing.  They looked like nasty little cabbages, and smelled awful when they were cooking.  On several occasions, as an adult, though, my ex forced me to try them again because she loved them.  And I had to admit they weren’t bad!  Pretty good, in fact.

But for some reason, I just cannot bring myself to cook and eat them for myself.  My conscious mind knows they’re okay, but my subconscious still pounds its spoon on its high chair and refuses to eat them.

It’s the same thing when it comes to a nasty head cold.  The other day, on my way back to the Pittsburgh Airport, it became abundantly clear that I was coming down with a cold.  The slight sore throat, the repeated bouts of sneezing, the body aches… yup, there’s no way out of this one.  But the first thing that entered my mind was that I had this cold because I had spent the past few days in cold weather.  And as we all know from our childhoods, the surefire way to catch a cold is to go to school without your warm sweater.

Except that’s not true at all.  Colds come from viruses and germs.  As Dr. Gabe Mirkin says, “Colds and pneumonia are caused by infection. You do not pick up infections from cold weather, you get germs from other people who sneeze or cough in your face or transmit germs with their hands to objects that you touch. Research shows that the most common way to get a cold is from someone who has a cold, sneezes on his hands, and then shakes yours. You can also get a cold when a person blows his nose or coughs into a handkerchief and gets some of the germs on his hands, then touches a door knob, and hours later, you touch the door knob and put your fingers in your nose. So the only way that you can get a cold is for someone to give the germ to you directly or by putting the germ onto something else that you touch.”  

I don’t know who Dr. Mirkin is, except that when I Googled “how you catch a cold”  that popped up.  And if you can’t trust a physician you find during a random search on the Internet, who can you trust?

Anyway, the conscious mind knows we can’t catch cold from exposure to cold weather, but the subconscious still clings to the idea that if we go outside without our sweaters during cold weather, we’ll get a cold.  And why do we cling to this?  Because our moms told us that, and we certainly trust our moms to have the right advice.

Of course our moms always feared pork chops that weren’t cooked to death because we lived in terror that we might get trichinosis and DIE.   When I was in my twenties, it dawned on me that never in my life had I ever known or even heard of anyone who contracted trichinosis, much less died from it.  Now, actually, it’s generally safe to eat medium rare pork, but I’m willing to be that there are very few of us who would do it.

So anyway, now I’m in the throes of that cold.  Thankfully, it looks as though this one will be relatively mild and of short duration.  As a radio broadcaster, a cold that makes me sound all stuffy is an occupational hazard.  And I can’t afford to take any more days off.  Still, though, there’s that fuzzy-headed, achy, unpleasant feeling that goes with a cold, and I just don’t have time for that right now.  I wonder if Brussels sprouts might be good for a cold…

Today’s Curiosities

  • Want to know how to make sushi?   How to choose a dentist?  To prepare an emergency kit for your car?  Here’s a website that’s packed with good instructional videos about how to do almost anything.
  • Ever get stuck in an airport for hours because of a delayed flight?  Most of us just grumble, try to sleep, read, and sigh.  Not this girl.  She was stranded in the mostly empty Pittsburgh International Airport during the blizzards this winter.  So she chose to have a little fun:

Have a great day!  –Steve


3 thoughts on “Wednesday February 24, 2010: Brussels Sprouts and Colds

  1. My mom always told me colds were from viruses. And she cooks her pork pink in the middle, although she always feels the need to defend it: “We don’t feed pigs garbage anymore.”
    Hope you feel better.

  2. Thanks, Emily! I guess my mom is just old school. We were always on the verge of getting lockjaw, having our faces ‘stay that way’ when we made a face, catching our deaths from cold, and succumbing to the evils of undercooked pork.

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