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We ate a hearty lunch of pizza at the pool today. When we were done, I closed the pizza box and reapplied the sunscreen just as slowly as I could. The natives were restless and wanted me to hurry, but we had to take our time, I explained -- “because if you swim too soon after eating, you’ll get sick.”

Why did I say that? Is this really an epidemic of such proportions that mothers of every generation find it worthy of mention? Are there really ambulance drivers squealing into the pool parking lots all over this nation to pick up little Teddy because he jumped in the water before his corn dog was fully digested?

Probably not. But I say it anyway, because my mom said so. Her mother told her, and her mother told her, and that is reason enough. Of course, it is entirely possible that, centuries ago, a mother in medieval London was scrubbing her laundry in the Thames, while her little daughter Brunhilde begged to jump in. But oh, how Mom was tired, what with all the potatoes to hoe and the roof to the thatch and the evil feudal overlords to generally deal with. And so, thinking quickly (as mothers had to do even 500 years ago), she said “No, no swimming now, my love, because you just ate your porridge, and…well…swimming too soon will make you sick.”

And thus it began. Brunhilde told her daughter, who told hers, who told hers, and on and on, all the way forward in time to my Oklahoma swimming pool today, with my impatient children sitting and digesting pizza (unnecessarily) to my heart’s content. It’s funny enough to make your eyes cross, except you might not want to do that: they’ll stick that way. My mom said so.

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