When I was in year 10, (I think) I remember my science teacher told us that his father told him as a child that lights work by sucking up all the darkness in the room. Anyone who remembers this story being told, feel free to correct me. Still, from memory, He said he believed this lie until his first year of university – when he finally voiced this misconception and was pulled into line by his peers.
The realisation that his father had lied to him about how various aspects of the universe work, he told us, was the deciding factor in his career shift. He wound up with a PHD working as an astrophysicist, who then ‘got bored’ and decided to go into teaching. I think about that story almost every day.
I too believed many ridiculous things through my childhood. However, I find they are amusing tidbits to share, and thus, I present; things I believed as a kid that turned out to be lies.
Assuming every cartoon character was female
I clearly had a very loose grasp on gender presentation as a child- because, despite the obvious signs that certain cartoon characters were male, I continually assumed that they were female.
The most notable of these is Charlie from Charlie and Lola…I can’t tell you how many heated discussions I engaged in with my Sister to find out I was, in fact, wrong.
While it would have made sense for me to think “Lola (she/her) wears dresses and hairclips and Charlie (he/him) wears pants and has a male best friend” – my little brain said no! Charlie is a non-gendered name, and from my scope of knowledge about the name ‘Charlie’ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie from Hi-5, THIS Charlie was blonde, and so was Hi5 Charlie. Having an older sister who generally rejected anything feminine also probably contributed.
I also thought Bambi, Tails from Sonic, Piglet from Tigger, and Tweety Bird were girls. I found the latter false in year 6 – after someone pointed out that there was a female love interest for Tweety bird.
You can’t cross double white line
I thought that you weren’t allowed to WALK over double white lines when crossing the road. I did absorb the few road rules as a child, “not crossing double white lines” did seem of the utmost importance. Zebra crossings were only allowed if you made sure to only step on the black parts.
The stormwater drain will kill me
I feel like we all experienced this, but I was irrationally scared that I’d somehow fall through the openings in water drainage things. Or the lid would fall if I stepped on it. I wasn’t worried about getting stuck down there or hurting myself, and my brain had not yet developed rational consequential thought processes, I just thought “step = die”.
You have to wash your hair twice
I remember distinctly the first time I was made to wash my own hair and was shocked to learn that shampoo and conditioner are separate things and my caretakers were not, in fact just putting the same magic substance in my hair twice.
What is a tonsil?
As recent as august last year, I thought that the dangly thing in your throat was your tonsils and people who got tonsillitis had that removed. I’m fairly certain that I gained this misunderstanding from a movie that used the term “tonsil tennis” to reference kissing.
The escalator will eat you
I thought that the escalator at the mall was going to eat me. If I wasn’t standing in the right place, I thought the electronic stairs would fold down on the way up, and my feet would get stuck underneath, and if I didn’t jump off at the end, my feet would get sucked into the belt. Honestly, I think that’s valid, and I’m still cautious.
The light in the car is illegal
I think we were all duped by this one, actually. All of our parents had a collective meeting and decided to tell us that we couldn’t turn the light on in the car. Otherwise, the police would arrest us. Also, I thought being arrested meant certain imprisonment.
Sweet, sweet, sweet 16
I blame the American teen rom-com industry for this one. I thought that on your 16th birthday, you MUST receive a car as a gift and you could therefore drive. I didn’t get my P’s until I was 18 seems extra ironic in this light. A few weeks back, I was questioned by a small child who was completely baffled that I have a car, and I can drive, but I am not and never have been married. I did not explain how such things actually work because I respected her enthusiasm.
Fairies exist, mermaids don’t
I believed in fairies for what seems to me like an obnoxiously long amount of time. I caught on to the goss about the tooth fairy and all those pretty fast, so she didn’t count, but obviously, Tinkerbell-like entities existed and resided in my backyard, even if I never saw them. However, I remember swearing black and blue that I had seen a fairy whilst sitting in a peach tree on a farm. In hindsight, it may have been a wasp.
I built tiny fairy hotels and got angry every time someone said they didn’t believe in fairies because Tinkerbell said that a fairy dies every time someone says that.
Alongside this unwavering assurance that fairies were in fact real, I staunchly disagreed with even the merest possibility that mermaids could exist. Tiny magic people, who look after bugs and plants? Obviously real. Human-fish hybrids?? Absolutely not.
The magic touch
When I was 9, I used to walk home from school with my sister and Uncle Jonny, and every time we came to a pedestrian crossing, he asked me to push the button that makes the light go green and claimed it would only work if I were the one to press it. I genuinely believed this to be true. It’s a shame that this power did not grow with me, because now the only traffic anomaly that I experience is that nearly every time I go through a green light, it turns orange halfway through.
“No but fairies are actually real, look into the Hozier theories,”
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