the truthiness of science–revealed

My boyfriend calls me gullible, and he is not wrong. He has me believing things so very, very easily–a list of things that is, in fact, too embarrassing to reveal, because it is true that I am so very gullible. I prefer to think of it as “trusting,” and “filled with the belief that the people around me who love me would not ever lie to me for the sake of comedy because that would just be cold-hearted and cruel,” but he weirdly just will not buy into that world view and I think it’s because of that chip in his head that he told me about.

There are some beliefs I hold that I have never considered myself gullible for believing, though. Stuff like “A poinsettia will kill your cat dead, so do not have one,” and “All the heat goes out the top of your head, so wear a hat!” and “Drinking a lot of water and eating McDonald’s breakfast will fix the night after a whole barrel full of eggnog.” As it turns out, these things are not true, and neither are the truths that so many people had previously held to be so self-evident, that sugar will make you crazy-nutball banging off the walls, and if you eat after, say, 7:00 p.m., you will get very fat and then die, possibly of suicide around the holidays, which is when everyone rushes to knock themselves off, you know.

They’re the “they say” kinds of truths that just seem to be part of the fabric of space time, they are so self-evident and absolutely incontrovertible, but scientists–and you know how much we love science–from the Indiana University School of Medicine say that we are all crazy and really, what were we thinking? These are not true facts after all!

I guess it just all seems so reasonable, you know? And most people like to consider themselves to be reasonable and to have an excellent sense of humor, both of which are often not true. I mean, pointsettas are red, and that means danger. You are going to bed instead of staying up to be active, so of course those calories you eat are going to stick around. The forced cheeriness of the holidays are enough to drive anyone off a cliff, or to eat an entire poinsettia. Right? Totally.

I wonder how many things I believe that I have plucked from thin air–not just the stuff my terribly mean boyfriend tells me, not just science facts and bits of trivia floating around left over from middle school, but my beliefs, the core of who I consider myself to be, the chewy nougat center of the person I consider myself to be. Can I back myself up with facts and data? And should I have to? Or can I just keep religiously avoiding going outside with wet hair?

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