The pen is mightier than the sword

Hey kids!

Now, before we get down to business, you’ll all be happy to learn that I’ve redone my nails, and that they now look only look fifteen per cent terrible. (As opposed to their usual ninety-five percent.)


I really must learn how to take my time and not do dishes when the polish is still drying…

But either way, progress!

It has been a terrific last few days here in Halifax, filled with great food, lots of family, some great runs, and tons of face time with my mum’s kitty cats.

Simon has really been practicing his best sun-god impression


What a cutie!

Yesterday afternoon my cousin Bridget came over and coloured, cut, and styled my hair.

Talk about superior service!

It was a brilliant way to spend a couple of hours and I absolutely love the end look.


The chestnut look is in folks.


If any of you live in the HRM, hit me up and I can give you her deets.


Anyways, what got me thinking when she was blow-drying my hair, was how growing up, my mum would always tell my sisters and I to never go outside, nor go to sleep with wet hair lest we wish to catch a head cold and likely succumb to a tragic, early death.

(My mother in-law actually told me the exact same thing last weekend, horrified as she was to feel that the ends of my ponytail were still damp from my earlier shower.)

I’m pretty sure this was a thing that many mums have told their kids (as I’m sure their mums told them, and theirs, and theirs) and I started to think about all the other old wives tales I grew up with, and how they’ve shaped me to be the bonkers young woman that I am today.

For instance, every time I eat raw batter I am sure that I am going to contract worms.

I am also terrified that if I don’t eat a particular foodstuff that contains mayonnaise within one hour of preparation I will likely expire from botulism.

(This is probably also why I don’t ever eat potato salad. That stuff will KILL you!)

But probably the nuttiest thing of all, is my irrational fear of ever getting pen on my skin.

(Don’t even THINK of writing your phone number on my wrist buddy-boy! That offense will land you in the nearest lake.)

Let me explain.

In 1995, the province of Quebec held a referendum asking its residents whether or not they wanted to legally separate from Canada and form their own nation.

It was a crazy-close race, with the federalist supporters narrowly squeaking out a win (51.1% to 49.9%).

As a young gal desperate to see Quebec stay, I was more than relieved and exuberantly happy with these results.

Now, one of the leaders of the Parti Quebecois and chief separatist at the time was a man named Lucien Bouchard. I despised this man on principle, and was horrified to learn that he had lost a leg the year prior due to necrotizing fasciitis (or flesh-eating disease if you will.)

I remember asking my mum how someone could contract such a scary disease, and (in a likely effort to stop my sisters and I from drawing on ourselves) she told me that he was infected from getting pen on his skin.


What a ballsy move.

Anywho, this put the absolute fear of god into me, terrified as I was to get anything close to resembling ink on my skin.

I liked my limbs, and I sure as heck was going to keep them.

Whenever anyone asks me to relay a time I felt true terror, one of the stories I share is the time in grade five when Marc Rutenschauser grabbed my right arm and drew a smiley face on my wrist.

The feeling of my blood running frigid is a sensation which I will likely never, ever forget.

I really did feel like that was game over for me, right then and there.

It’s probably also why I have a weird dislike of smiley faces, and have a really hard time whenever :) is changed to J when I write e-mails.


Isn’t it crazy the things that shape us as human beings?

I tell ya.

So, what are some of the things that your parents told you as children that have stuck with you until this day?

Let me know, and I’ll read them when I get back from my walk.

And don’t worry – I took the pains to dry my hair. After all, I wouldn’t want to get sick, would I?

Published by

Vanessa Woznow

Writer, runner, ranter, reader. I write about all things.

13 thoughts on “The pen is mightier than the sword”

  1. The next time I see you I am going to force feed you my famous potato salad — it’s the thing that I make that is most often requested by friends and fam!

    Two things that my mother always told us, which, of course, are not true, but they were designed to keep us from swallowing things that we shouldn’t. They were, as follows :

    Don’t swallow chewing gum, it never digests and it will form a big ball in your stomach, requiring major surgery from which you may never recover. (Can you even imagine telling that OVER and OVER, I might add, to impressionable children?) Crazy!

    Don’t swallow seeds from your fruit. If you do, a tree will begin to grow in your stomach and it will eventually come out your mouth. Who wants to marry a girl with a branch sticking out of her mouth? She’d be difficult to kiss, no? So, don’t do it. EVER.

    Yeah. That was my mother. Of course, this is the same woman who let us melt crayons on paper plates out in the sun AND let us eat our “creations”. Yup. She was insane. Insane, I tell you :) (Sorry about the smiley face, but I just HAD to do it!)

    1. I want to eat your potato salad – bring it on I say! Does it have pickles or celery in it? I love anything crunchy.

      The chewing gum myth I remember very well, but GOOD LORD – your mum actually told you that fruit would grow in your tummy? FOR REAL? That is madness! I was sure those stories only lived inside of Shell Silverstein poems. Your mum sure had guts, that’s for sure! Hah!

      Hahaha!! Oh my goodness, you’re last comment. BEST. OF LIFE!

      1. it’s weird, when i comment from where i work, i see the cursor move but no words! no characters. i think “….” was a test. (i can SEE what i type from here at home)

  2. First, your nails look lovely, and they show no wear from having done dishes while they were still drying. (I was going to insert a smiley face here, but given your inner child’s phobia of them, I won’t do it. I can’t knowingly contribute to what will surely be your untimely death.) Second, your hair is marvelous. Third, eat the raw batter. It’s almost as good, possibly better, than anything it will turn out to be from the oven.

    Oh…one thing I heard was that if I sat too close to the television, my eyes would cross and get stuck that way. And not to look directly at the sun because it would blind me. I did both, and I’m still living and have my eyesight. But that staring-at-the-sun thing could be why I wear glasses or contacts.

    1. Lol! Too good re: smiley faces, and much, MUCH appreciated! And thank you so, so much! (On both the nail and hair front. I’ve managed to keep both looking pretty snazzy since the day they were done. It’s a process to learn these things!)

      Ahhhh yes, I definitely know of the cross eyed and the sunshine blindness. Could be why I wear glasses too! :)

  3. “if you pull your eyelashes out, you might get cancer.”

    what? why was i pulling my eyelashes out?

    but more importantly: your hair. YOUR HAIR. i love it. LOVE.

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