Home Remedies

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I have a cold. (No flowers, prayers, or sympathy cards, although one of the more expensive single malts would go a long way towards easing my suffering) I don’t really want anything here but some good helpful advice. Granted I am sure there are dozens of off the counter medications out there Big Pharma would be overjoyed to sell me to alleviate the pounding in the empty corridors of my mind and dam my runny nose for slightly less than what I paid for my first car. But you know and they know, their suggestion will do nothing. I have tried them all over the years and none of them work.

No, my friends, what I am looking for is not some brand name remedy, I want some good old-fashioned folk medicine; some guaranteed cure your granny and her granny before have passed down from time immemorial (1950). You geezers out there will know what I am talking about.

When I was a kid and near death, or thought I was, my mother would head to the kitchen and whip up some miracle cure. Within minutes I would be hale and healthy and I don’t even know what hale means.

My sister and I were always taking something. Mineral oil, why were we forced to take mineral oil? It tasted like… well it tasted like oil now that I think about it… but why? I think it was to keep us regular but I’m not sure. I remember stirring a spoonful into a glass of Nestle Quik and banging it back really fast and, I don’t know… running for the john I guess.

We were subjected to all sorts of weird concoctions. I honestly don’t remember the mustard plaster made with Keen’s Mustard one of the vilest substances ever foisted on humanity slathered on my chest. I think I must have blacked out with the pain of it and my brain mercifully wiped it from my memory. Some people, even today, actually eat Keen’s Mustard which is a sign of mental instability if there ever was one. My dad liked it and I think that is what killed him, took a few days short of 92 years but I’m sure that’s what did him in.

I looked mustard plaster up online and it is still recommended for chest congestion. I have another use that is even better. If your teen aged daughter has started dating, rub a little on her chest before she goes out the door. It won’t help her relationship, but you will sleep better.

On the down side, if her boyfriend is a big fan of Montreal Smoked Meat, corned beef or pastrami, you may have yourself a bigger problem.

There have been hundreds of old wives’ sayings that have survived over the centuries. Some are just a little off the wall and only a nutcase would believe, or even worse, act on them. On the other hand, some of them sound fairly reasonable and appear like they might have been based on a scientific study. One in particular I thought might be true is that we only use ten percent of our brains. I am tempted to say I have friends who don’t use anywhere near that much. Actually we use it all.

Another one that is false is waking a sleepwalker can cause a heart attack. However, if a husband should decide to take an afternoon nap and wakes up bare naked in the middle of his wife’s bridge club in the living room, I can see where he, and his wife too, probably could end up in a cardiac ward.

And of course there is the old adage that masturbation causes blindness. I was talking to Stevie Wonder about that very rumour. I still don’t know what he thinks about it because I forgot my hearing aids that day and never heard a word he said.

One we all know is that old chestnut ‘feed a cold and starve a fever’ and I am thinking seriously about trying that one. It has been around for centuries I know, but is it true? What if that advanced medical theory somehow got turned around and it is actually backwards? Think about that for a minute! Here you are with a dreadful cold about to have a fine dining experience at McDonalds. Your nose is running and you are hacking up phlegm, mucus and God know what else and… Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were reading this at the dinner table.

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