One of my favorite This American Life episodes starts with people (adults) admitting to false things that they believed in childhood that they somehow didn’t figure out until a somewhat embarrassingly late age. One involved a person who thought that “quesadilla” meant “what’s the deal” in Spanish (Simon and I use that in conversation whenever we can), and another was a woman who thought that unicorns were real until she was at a college party and asked if they were endangered or extinct.
One of the blogs I follow had a similar story, and opened it up for comments. I have to post some of my favorites.
“I thought Alaska was an island until about a year ago (at the embarrassing age of 32) because it is portrayed on most US maps much like Hawaii is – like a phantom limb of the continent, floating around unattached, surrounded by water. I wish I had paid more attention to geography, or for that matter, globes, as a kid. My fiance was the one to inform me when I made a “very funny” comment after he mentioned that he would like to drive to Alaska.”
“I was in high school when a boyfriend informed me that Hawaii is not “off the coast of Florida, somewhere.””
“Until I was an early teenager, I thought persecuted and prosecuted were the same word. So when there were signs in stores that said ‘shoplifters will be prosecuted,’ I thought it was like they would be treated like the Jews during WWII.”
“When I was a kid, my parents would refer to the baby “they lost”. For the longest time, I believed they lost the baby when it fell out of the car.”
I know I had some of these, mostly involving pronunciations since I was a bookish kid, but I can’t really come up with any funny ones. I still spell it “grey” instead of “gray” because I guess I read a lot of British books(?), and it wasn’t until college that I stopped spelling it “develope.” See, it just looks more correct, develop seems naked. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I pronounced it “im PO tent” instead of “IM po tent” for a long time. In my head, I mean, it’s not like I went around saying impotent all the time.