Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Why Does Grandpa Say 'God Bless You' Even When We Don't Sneeze?"

My grandfather, God bless his soul, had some of the strangest theories I've ever heard in my life. First, there was the one about keeping a rubber band around the top of the opened milk carton to keep the "milk gas" from escaping and turning it sour. Then there was the one where he explained that reaching into the mailbox every time he left the house would make any burglars watching think he was turning on an alarm so they wouldn't rob the place. And the one where he concluded that the reason he had so much hair on his back was because he spent so much time outside without a shirt on and this had somehow caused him to "evolve." God bless him.

But my all-time favorite was laid out during a conversation about walking at Robert Moses beach. My grandfather had been doing this for as long as I could remember, and kept on doing it well into his 70s. He was one tough old son-of-a-gun. He'd go practically every day, from one end all the way to the other and back again. I don't even know how many miles that is. But I do know that smack in the middle of that course is Field 5 — the infamous "clothing-optional" area. Grandpa wasn't particularly fond of Field 5, and he elucidated it thusly:

Grandpa: "I don't like going past the nude beach, see, because mosquitoes could come down from the dunes and bite the gays, and then they could bite me and give me the AIDS."


Wow, Grandpa.

There are SO many things wrong with that statement. First: Not all people on the nude beach are gay. Second: Not all gay people have AIDS. And third: Mosquitoes don't even transmit AIDS. There is not a SINGLE POINT of this theory that makes any sense whatsoever.

We tried to explain this to him, but he kept earnestly interrupting, "No, see, the mosquitoes don't have the AIDS, but they could bite the gays and that would give them the AIDS."

"But Grandpa, mosquitoes can't get AIDS."

"No, but see, if they bite the gays..."

Und so weiter. Exasperating.

Years later, on a mostly male-dominated message board, I discovered the Internet meme "teh ghey" and in a strange way, despite it's moronic implications, it delighted me to no end. Crazy memories...

Oh, Grandpa. God bless you. :)


  1. You should have known better that to correct your grandpa's theories!
    It's imposible for most of elder people to change their beliefs.
    People have this tendency to patronize old people. Sometimes they really believe in nonsense. But there are other times when we open the newspaper in the morning, and read about some academic research made by bored scientists that proved mosquitos may transmit "the Aids".


  2. BTW I'm sure your Grandpa was lovable!
    God bless his soul.

  3. Dalia's right. Look at eggs. They're good, they're bad, they're good...they have an identity crisis and a complete breakdown...I digress.

    Re: Grandpa. Sometimes those crazy theories hold water. Here's one told to me by an elderly Irish lady recently that I laughed at: I wear heels a lot at work and I get severe foot cramps sometimes at night when I go to bed. She told me to put a bar of soap between the sheets. I laughed. On what premise, I asked. I don't know she said. Just works. Know what? It did. So I'm trying that elastic trick. Also, I could swear I read somewhere that sunburn will cause hair on the back later in life.

  4. @Dalia: I should have known better, yes. My sister said something in his eulogy like, "We did disagree on many things, but it was ok because I knew Becky would always be the stubborn one who'd say what we all were thinking." :D

    @TCHC: I have never heard this soap theory. I did, however, once hear from a girl I worked with that if you have the hiccups, take 9 sips of water and they'll go away. And it's always worked for me. :)

  5. Well...your sister has a bright political career in front of her. :P

  6. you're grandpa stories make me miss my equally confused grandpa. his name was george, but he went by pete. and he called my gator even though my name is brittainy.

    also, i left out a gallon of milk with a half an inch of milk left in it on the counter for two days, and when i was finally going to dump it there was totally gas in there. it was pretty gross.