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Monday, March 21, 2011

Things My Grandma Does

In a small study done in Texas back in 2005, a middle-school librarian found that 76% of students were usually swayed by cover art and 70% were led to choose a book by the title itself (Jones 44). You and I both know that adults fall prey to this, too. The latest book that reached out and grabbed me (this time as I was innocently walking by the new book shelf) is called Never Shower in a Thunderstorm: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths about our Health and the World We Live In.

My grandmother was a serious proponent of the no-showering-during-precipitation camp, which never made sense to me. (Grandma also liked to unplug everything in the house during rain showers. Everything. Even during a drizzle. Oh, Grandma.) Surely nothing could actually happen? This book was a definite must-read for me, especially after I discovered that dear old Grandma was correct about when to wash up:
A bolt of lightning that hits a building... can travel through plumbing, into metal pipes and wiring, and shock anyone who comes into contact with a faucet or appliance. Metal pipes are not only excellent conductors of electricity, but they also carry tap water laden with impurities that help conduct electrical current. (O'Connor 159)

There have been reports of people being struck inside their homes while showeringbrushing their teeth, even while washing dishes. I knew my Grandma was a sharp one. The National Weather Service has
Natural Hazard Statistics for the United States on its website. It's broken down by state, which makes it easy as pie to find out that two people died in 2006 in Mississippi due to lightning strikes: one while sheltering under a tree (a big no-no) and another while talking on the telephone (Grandma knew.) 

By the way, my favorite eye-catching book for Grandma to read when I was small? I was always partial to Are You My Mother? A book sure to capture the eyes of any three-year-old... How could you go wrong with a bird on top of a dog's head?

Jones, Leigh Ann. "The Great Cover-Up." School Library Journal 53.6 (2007): 44. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 21 March 2011.
O'Connor, Anahad. Never Shower in a Thunderstorm: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths About our Health and the World We Live in. New York, NY: Times Books, 2007. Print.

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