My favorite overprotective mom story may be the time that I went to visit my best friend Trevor in Sydney, Australia. Mom had read that the ozone layer is really thin in Australia (true) and that I would spontaneously combust if I walked outside in Sydney without a thick coat of sunscreen (possibly true; untested). So that’s what I did. Every day before we left the apartment, I covered myself from head to toe in a near-bulletproof layer of sunblock. I think they’ve since prohibited the level of SPF I used in Australia…it was that potent. While Trevor walked around Sydney with no sunscreen and no sunburn, I skittered from shade to shade to avoid the sun while looking like the sunblock-wearing vampire in first Blade movie. I think I came back from Sydney less tan than before I left. And I was there in the middle of the Australian summer.
Why do I follow my mom’s zany advice? Because she’s my mom, and I know she’s looking out for my best interest. And honestly, a lot of it is in my skewed interpretation of her words. A good example is the time my mom sat me down before I left home for my freshman year at college. Knowing that I’d never had more to drink than the foam off the top of my uncle’s beer, she warned me about the dangers of alcohol by telling me a story. The gist of it was that she had heard about a guy who had gone to a party his first day of college, had a few beers, fell off a frat house, and died.
The Lesson My Mom Was Trying to Impart: The choice to drink alcohol is not to be taken lightly. If you do it, do it responsibly and in moderation.
The Lesson I Heard: If you drink even a sip of alcohol, you will immediately die.
I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much. For 18 year-old me (and the other slightly older versions of myself that went to Japan, France, and Australia), the world was a really big place. I knew there were lots of mistakes I could make that could have serious repercussions, and I didn’t want to make those mistakes. I learned things at my own pace—some things later than I should have–and I turned out just fine.
Thanks, Mom. I love you.
To everyone else: Have your parents ever given you some ridiculous advice? How did you respond?