My mother was a master of over-statement. It's probably a trait many mothers share, little realising that their tales of chewing gum sticking to ribs and eventually causing some kind of catastrophic blockage, or people getting untold terrible diseases due to walking about with bare midriffs, or some disaster befalling anyone who was foolish enough to sit with their back to the fire - what is it with fires and backs? - are too fantastically over-egged to really register. You knew someone who got double pneumonia from unaired sheets? Yeah, right!
Anyway, this all came to mind this week when I read about the little girl who nearly killed herself through chewing on her hair. Like a cat licking her fur, she'd managed to create the hugest hair ball which was in danger of strangulating her vital organs. Six hours of surgery later and she's out of danger, but this is definitely one for the grandchildren: 'Stop chewing your hair! Don't you know you can kill yourself like that?' Nah, they'd never believe it.