My School's Favourite Urban Myths
Today, everyone knows what the internet is. But if you were born before 1990, then the chances are you'll remember a time when they didn't. How did kids upset each other out before they could Frape one another into cyberbullied oblivion? Urban myths. Urban myths were the glue that held society together. For some reason they were still called urban myths even when bandied around my suburban school playground.
Here's some of the shit me and my friends would tell each other when we were children. I'm leaving out the "WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF AIDS" and "SHE WOKE UP IN AN ICE BATH IN THAILAND WITHOUT A KIDNEY" things because they're more played out than "Lil Zangief was actually the bully" conspiracy theories.
The Myth: "My older brother's druggy friend took loads of this stuff called ketamine last weekend and he went mad. He broke his arms flipping cars over and then he was hit by a car and his legs snapped but he got up and kept fighting everybody. In the end he had a pile of people laying knocked out around him and it took ten police and three bouncers to bring him down."
Problems with this Myth: While it's true that ketamine is powerful enough to temporarily subdue the nervous system, it's hard to imagine a teenager getting his hands on stuff so strong that he's able to lay waste to the law without any working limbs. For alternative versions of this myth, see: "My druggy cousin took acid and tried to peel himself like a banana," and: "My dad's workmate's son took pills and never came down".
The Myth: "Tanya's mum and her new boyfriend had sex on the toilet and Tanya sat on the toilet right afterwards and she got pregnant!"
Problems with this Myth: This one seems to have been some kind of conservative teenage cautionary tale about the collapse of the traditional family unit, as it always involved 'a new boyfriend'. I'm sure a doctor could find a trillion reasons why sperm couldn't live on porcelain or leap into your vulva, but to me it's the idea of a couple screwing on a toilet in their own house. That's just insanity, use the bed you wannabe homeless weirdos.
MURDER ON THE TRAIN
The Myth: "My friend Kelly has to get the train to Burnham to go to school and when she came home late after practice once this guy was sat opposite, staring at her with his arm around his wife. Then he stood up to get off the train and the woman fell forward. She had a knife sticking out of her back and she was dead. It wasn't his wife, it was a woman he had killed."
Problems with this Myth: Your friend Kelly is a lying bitch who makes up ridiculous stories to tell you because she thinks that if she doesn't you'll lose interest and the friends you go to school with every day will "take you away from her". Also, why would a murderer leave the knife behind? His prints will be all over that thing.
THE KILLING FIELD
The Myth: "Last summer a girl on my estate was playing with her friends in the sunflower field but she got trapped and the sun made the petals so hot that she burnt to death."
Problems with this Myth: Given that the internet has never heard of this actually happening, I'm going to say that some dad with a morbid imagination made it up to stop his kids having fun in the sunshine. It was probably the same dad who said that when an ice cream truck played its music, it was out of ice cream.
The Myth: "You can get high smoking banana peel."
Problems with this Myth: The guy who invented it admitted it was a lie back in 1970. In the absence of good weed connects, 13-year-olds who've read The Anarchist Cookbook will continue to chase the yellow dragon for perpetuity. (Tip: "banandine" does not exist. Try blasting your asthmatic brother's epinephrine inhalers instead.)
SHARON STONE WAS IN GUNS N' ROSES
The Myth: Sharon Stone sung backing vocals with Slash, et al.
Problems with this Myth: I don't really remember what the thinking was behind this one. I think we were just throwing together two things we thought were cool when we were 12 years old, and that meant that Sharon Stone from Basic Instinct (you see her pussy in it!!!!) was the blonde woman (Duff McKagan) on the tape inlay for Appetite For Destruction and she definitely toured the world with the guy no-one else would believe was black and the shemale in the headband. I guess the modern equivalent would be schoolkids thinking the lesbian cop from The Wire played guitar on Rebirth, which is so sexy, nauseating and depressing all at the same time that it's practically Guns N' Roses.
THE MAN ON THE BUS
The Myth: "My friend Kelly was on the bus into town once and this guy sat behind her kept knocking the back of her seat. She thought he was playing with himself so she span around, but he wasn't wanking, he had a knife and was literally a millimetre away from getting through the plastic and into her back!"
Problems with this Myth: Look, I already told you about your friend Kelly. She's full of shit. Don't believe a word that comes out of her mouth, especially if it has anything to do with public transport or knives.
So that was the bullshit we told each other, what were the lies you told each other at school? I bet they weren't as scary as killer sunflowers.
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