Superstitions That Make You Go 'Huh?'
For the past two weeks, my left eye brow had been twitching. The muscles behind my eyes seemed like they were high on some cheap drugs and going hay wire. It's a very uncomfortable feeling that made me highly irritable. I bet I looked crazy at work tapping my eyebrow and stretching the skin around my eyes hoping that would help. I had heard of an old wives' tale, a superstitious belief, that says if your left eyes twitching it means there will be a death in the family. This got me very worried so I prayed and cast every evil spirit or forces that may be present, covered myself with the Blood of Jesus. In addition, I beckoned on the four guardian archangels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael. Ok so that's a stretch, I really didn't do that, just added that for effect, but people do call on them. Don't ask me where I know that from, it's a long story.
As sad as it sounds, I am very superstitious, not because I believe in them, but because I am fascinated by the coincidental occurrences that are predicted, the metaphors and ironies that are laced behind incidents and mostly how imaginative and colorful they are. Growing up in Nigeria, and Africa in general, being superstitious or reacting to them is practically a way of life. There are days when folks would return from the marketplace with 'touch and go' or 'touch and follow' stories. The first is when a person 'allegedly' disappears, turns into a tortoise or has missing private parts after being touched by a charmed person, and the latter is when one is hypnotised into leading charmed scamers to jewelry, money and prized documents. Then there was that story about the Guru Mharaji, who supposedly used his red 'Best Biro' ink pens that he manufactured to suck the blood of school children. Oh my lord, what a frezy that created when someone performed an experiment to prove the superstition was true. He poured out ink from the red American 'Bic Biro' pen and the 'Best Biro' pen into a puddle of water. Apparently if the ink was really ink, it would not sink and if it was blood it would float, or something like that. Well, the puddle with the 'Best' ink has all sorts of shapes of creatures, cats, rats, and frogs floating. That was the last day I used that brand of pen.
There are so many other laughable stories, including ones about changlings, the ghost in the high-heels and mer-humans. I am sure someone's grandmother saw the movie Splash that just validated her beliefs.
Anyways, I digressed from my story. So my eye was twitching, and I decided to google it up to find out what was wrong and if there was a remedy. (Google is a God send, I don't know what I would do without it. It even comes in Yoruba language, may be there'll be an Igbo one out soon.) Turns out there's a name for the symptom, Myokomia, which is Latin for 'twitching eye'. It's caused by various things such as stress, fatigue. I read up different medical explanations and remedies, cold compress, hot compress, more rest and all sorts of things that did not involve taking actual medications. Then I read somewhere that it could be caused by a potassium deficiency. Hmh, wasn't that what caused Terry Schiavo's initial stroke? I continued to read and low and behold, there was a remedy. Apparently, It is also an old wives tale, that eating bananas will stop the twitching. The crazy old ladies must have been on to something because on my way home I bought some bananas. I ate three of them with my late night dinner and went to bed. I don't kow if it's science or a miracle, but i'm now cured. No more of that annoying twitch all because of some old superstitious belief. I wonder what other remedies out there are discredited as silly old kitchen gibberish. I hope there's something that eating Vanilla Ice-cream can cure. It beats drinking a concoction of Vermonia Amygdalina (bitter-leaf) to cure Malaria or a bowl of palm-oil after eating raw cashew nut. Yuck!!