Chicken or Egg?
May 2, 2002 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Chicken or Egg? Well .... neither, apparently.

"One little chap thought that you got orange juice from milk, because the milkman delivered orange juice to his door ".

Anyone else have amusingly misguided, yet (slightly) logical assumptions as a kid?.

posted by MintSauce (106 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I can remember thinking female Presidents were called Prime Ministers, because Margaret Thatcher was our esteemed leader for much of my childhood......
posted by MintSauce at 7:56 AM on May 2, 2002

My friend thought pickles and cucumbers were separate things until she was about 16.
posted by mariko at 8:02 AM on May 2, 2002

Well no but I do want to live where he lives... Can you imagine - orange juice AND milk delivered to your door...

posted by gloege at 8:02 AM on May 2, 2002

Incomprehensible tv theme tunes:

the wombles for example:

Underground Overground
Wombling free,
The wombles of wimbled uncommon are we,
making good you-sir-dur
things that we find
things that the everyday boxley behind.

I always wondered what a boxley behind was.
posted by Spoon at 8:02 AM on May 2, 2002

My wife realized very late in life that not all families referred to finishing your dinner as being a "clean plate commando."
posted by machaus at 8:05 AM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

I assumed for an embarrassingly long time that olives grew with the little red part already in them.
posted by jalexei at 8:08 AM on May 2, 2002

My dad, who was a fireman before he retires, told me that only cold water will put fires out and hot water makes them burn more.
posted by vbfg at 8:14 AM on May 2, 2002

i used to think baked beans were a meat product.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:15 AM on May 2, 2002

Speaking of Mrs Thatch', a kid in my class at school (v.early 80's I suppose) once asked if men were allowed to be Prime Minister.
posted by vbfg at 8:16 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought coffecake had coffee in it.
posted by ao4047 at 8:18 AM on May 2, 2002

I used to think that motorcycles like this were called "neckbreakers" because that's what my dad would call them.
posted by bshort at 8:18 AM on May 2, 2002

I once told my mom I wanted "sweeps-steaks" for dinner
posted by plaino at 8:21 AM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

When I was very young, I thought that you had to pay to have a job. As in, you paid your employer, and that my dad paid to go to work everyday. How true...
posted by adampsyche at 8:21 AM on May 2, 2002

some coffeecake (the real kind) does have coffee in it.
posted by jojo at 8:22 AM on May 2, 2002

My Mom once told me she was going to visit Miami. I remember thinking to myself, "I wonder where her ami is, do I have an ami, when do I get to visit my ami."
posted by bunktone at 8:25 AM on May 2, 2002

Latin America confused me. Did they speak Latin? There were Romans in South America?
posted by gamera at 8:29 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought some of my friends had mares they could only ride at night. (seriously. my mom just called them "bad dreams".)
posted by mdn at 8:33 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought "Lead us not into temptation" was "Lead us not into Thames station". It was a bit of a letdown when I found out there as no such raging palace of sin.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:34 AM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

You'll love this.

When I was really young, I thought feminine hygiene products were for women's feet.

Well they didn't explain what they were for, ads being awfully discreet at that time. I didn't know a thing about menstruation, and I took a guess based on the shape of the pads they were pouring that strange blue liquid onto (no wings then) . . . did women's feet really get that sweaty?
posted by mcwetboy at 8:36 AM on May 2, 2002

I remember thinking that Jesus and Santa Claus were the same person. (Turns out I wasn't far off.) And, of course, that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. My cousin once tried to convince me that rigatoni was the bark of a spaghetti tree, but I knew better: it's the rind from a macaroni bush.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:38 AM on May 2, 2002

I used to think our furnace was a four-stair furnace. I seriously pictured four chambers in there where the heat would climb up.

It wasn't until high school: "oh, forced air".
posted by billder at 8:44 AM on May 2, 2002

I'm a "recovering catholic" (you never really get over it) and at the end of mass the congregation, in unison, says, "thanks be to god." For fifteen years I thought we were saying, "thanks speedy god."
posted by Hugh2d2 at 8:49 AM on May 2, 2002 [2 favorites]

There is a word that describes wrongly understood song lyrics. The word is Mondegreen. The term "mondegreen" was coined by Sylvia Wright in a 1954 Atlantic article. As a child, she had listened to a folk song that included the lines "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And Lady Mondegreen." As is customary with misheard lyrics, she didn't realize her mistake for years. The song was not about the tragic fate of Lady Mondegreen, but rather, the continuing plight of the good earl: "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And laid him on the green."

"The ants are, my friend, they're blowing in the wind".
posted by mikegre at 8:50 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought my dad was Mister Rogers for quite a while (the resemblance was startling, all the way down to the sailing sneakers and cardigan.) I used to think he would go and get in the TV and do the show for me, until I realized one day he was walking around the house AND on the TV.
posted by ltracey at 8:54 AM on May 2, 2002

This America Life: Kid Logic.

I was in high school before someone politely informed me that, no, tigers were not just female lions.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 8:55 AM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

I was about 4 or 5 and had a book that included a "jokes and riddles" section.

My definition of a joke at the time: something you laugh at. I didn't really understand the distinction between jokes and riddles, though.

My mom has this on a cassette tape that preserves 60 embarrassing minutes of my and my brother's childhood:

Jason: [telling a riddle]
Mom: [laughs]
Jason: "Don't laugh, it's a riddle!"

I guess I simply reasoned that riddles differed from jokes in that you weren't supposed to laugh at them.
posted by gohlkus at 8:56 AM on May 2, 2002

Wash, Fluff Dry and Fold said a sign above the giant washing machines at the laundry mat. It was only 55 cents a pound. One day I asked my mom why she didn't just use the machine that washes, dries and folds your clothes for you. Yeah, she laughed heartily. Of course this story would be much cuter if I were six when I asked instead of 16.
posted by jodic at 8:56 AM on May 2, 2002

At four years of age, my kid thought the word "Asshole" meant bad driver (literally)
posted by BentPenguin at 8:59 AM on May 2, 2002

Ira Glass did a This American Life last summer on this very topic: Kid Logic.

Unfortunately, it's RealAudio. Was there ever a more annoying piece of software?
posted by luser at 9:01 AM on May 2, 2002

Never hit preview, walk away, and then come back ten minutes later and hit post.
posted by luser at 9:02 AM on May 2, 2002

My mom was really gullible as a child, and my grandfather was one to take advantage of this.

He had her believe that eggs grow on trees and that her broken leg as a baby was because she fell out of the plane on the way over from Wales. :)
posted by untuckedshirts at 9:04 AM on May 2, 2002

I used to think ice cream was a naturally occurring substance, and that different flavors were harvested from different locations around the world.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 9:07 AM on May 2, 2002

I used to think ice cream was a naturally occurring substance, and that different flavors were harvested from different locations around the world.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2002

My friend thought pickles and cucumbers were separate things until she was about 16.

whoa! I thought pickles and cucumbers were separate things until about two minutes ago.

anyways, I used to think that if you picked your nose and ate your boogers, then your boogers would turn into worms in your stomach. yyyeah.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:17 AM on May 2, 2002

I used to think that fountain soda dispensers were hooked to plumbing that went all the way from the restaurant to the soda factory.

I pictured this wide stream of pipes, one for water, one for coke, one for sprite, etc. In bars there would be one that went to the Guinness factory, one that went to Coors, Budweiser, and so on.

Oh, and I also used to think that in any city if you dug in your backyard you'd hit concrete after a few feet, because the dirt in cities is just a sham to make the city seem more natural, but deeper down there's always a concrete foundation.
posted by kfury at 9:19 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought I was pretty clever because I never believed in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy or any of that nonsense. But I did belive that "force fields" -- those invisible walls that were features of cheesy science fictions shows -- existed. Oops!
posted by mrhappy at 9:21 AM on May 2, 2002

My son refuses to believe that a hockey puck is not actually called a "goal." He defends his assertion with a stubborn and willful defiance.
posted by adampsyche at 9:35 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought kids named Jesus were named Hey Zeus and I wondered why hispanics named their kids after old Greek gods.

I thought calculators stored all the answers to all the math problems in them and just looked them up. I had read enough about transistors to hear that they were used to store information. I couldn't understand that they actually could calculate the answer with a circuit.
posted by mutagen at 9:42 AM on May 2, 2002

I was shocked to discover that when you travel, you don't carry a "soupcase."

because the dirt in cities is just a sham to make the city seem more natural, but deeper down there's always a concrete foundation.

Your reality distortion programming (RDP) obviously did not fully take. A crew will be out tonight to do a reimprinting. Do not speak further with anyone until tomorrow morning.
posted by rushmc at 9:43 AM on May 2, 2002

I thought that boys and girls were the same biologically until I was seven and my baby brother was born. The subject had just never come up, and since I was pretty sure the world revolved around me, everyone else had girl plumbing too. I mean, Ken was no example, was he?
posted by kittyloop at 9:44 AM on May 2, 2002

When I was very young, I thought there were little guys who lived inside the radio and made all the music.

When I was a little older, in elementary school, and learned to say the national anthem, I thought we were all singing "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of the icing."
posted by crunchland at 9:50 AM on May 2, 2002

1. i though 'a few' items was 'two' items, because it rhymed.

2. there is a particular purple berry i thought was so poisonous it would kill you just by touching them.

i didn't eated them.
posted by o2b at 9:51 AM on May 2, 2002

i thought the US was the land of the free and the home of the brave, the most honorable nation of all. i thought our government was made up of dedicated, selfless public servants, and that the rest of the world yearned to become like us, and that anyone could grow up to be president, that policemen were your friends, and that the acquisition of money and power fell somewhere down on the list of national priorities underneath more noble pursuits. what a silly kid i was.
posted by quonsar at 9:55 AM on May 2, 2002

I used to think priests where creepy because they were guys wearing black dresses and had this sort of secret cabal thing going on where they didn't have to nessisarily admit anything to the rest of society.
posted by dong_resin at 9:58 AM on May 2, 2002

There used to be a sign on the westbound, reversible lanes of Interstate 90 between Mercer Island, WA and Seattle over Lake Washington. There were signals above each lane, a red X for "DON'T DRIVE IN THIS LANE" and a green arrow for your lane. The center two lanes would reverse according to rush hour, necessitating the sign, which read, "DO NOT DRIVE IN LANE X"

I thought the sign said "DO NOT DIVE IN LAKE X"

My parents never corrected me, thinking my interpretation was just as good.

Even worse, my mother, for whom English is not her native language use to check my phonics homework. In second grade we were learning adjectives and applying them to animals. Thinking the word "sperm" meant "pizaaz" or "cool" I wrote confidently in my workbook, "The donkey has a lot of sperm". My mom okayed the work. When I was hauled into Mr. McNutt's office the next day, I started crying and blubbering that "My mom doesn't speak English and she said it was okay!" They let me off the hook on that one.
posted by vito90 at 10:04 AM on May 2, 2002

Kittyloop, I think most little boys thought the same thing you did, only reversed. I know I did. I don't recall now how I mentally accounted for the apparent non-plumbing of my G.I. Joe's (aka acceptable dolls for boys, unlike Barbies).
posted by yhbc at 10:04 AM on May 2, 2002

I used to think I could grow up to be anything I wanted to be. Thanks a lot, Mom.
posted by Samsonov14 at 10:05 AM on May 2, 2002

Every word that Bugs Bunny mispronounced, I did too. Especially the quasi-scientific ones. "Bicuspidor", "carbodehydrates", etc. Every now and then I'll still catch myself almost saying one.

I really should have played outside more.
posted by goto11 at 10:06 AM on May 2, 2002

I was convinced up until age 7 that brains were colored gold and silver, because they were the best part of our bodies. When my doctor told me they were actually gray, it was a huge letdown. Of course, this same doctor, when he examined my ears during my many childhood earaches, declared as he shone the little flashlight in them, "Wow, you could grow potatoes in these ears!" I had no idea what he meant, until my mother explained, he means they are dirty enough to grow potatoes because potatoes need a lot of soil!!! I swear my ears were never that dirty!
posted by Lynsey at 10:08 AM on May 2, 2002

Speaking of mispronounciations, scottkramer, I said "what th'?" a lot, thinking it was an acceptable exclamation after seeing it in so many comic books. I didn't know it was one of those things that only works in print.
posted by yhbc at 10:15 AM on May 2, 2002

Up until I started grade school, I thought that we were living in England (my parents were new immigrants to Canada). Once I got that straightened out, I was then under the impression for a number of years that my mother and Julie Andrews were the same person; there is/was a strong resemblance, enough so that a few years ago my brother told me that he had believed the same thing.
My mother told me that her mother warned her that if she ate raw peas she would get worms. To this day, she is uneasy about raw peas...
posted by jokeefe at 10:20 AM on May 2, 2002

My dad worked for the telco. Ergo, I believed he was telling the truth when he said that when he and my mom were out for an evening, he'd use the phone to spy on us and make sure we were behaving. Bugger.

I had (and still have) terrible pronunciation problems. Used to call the game "Mono-poly" not "Mon-op-oly." And then there was Burger King, home of the "Whooper."

Then there was the time when we were off on vacation, and passing through a retirement area, and I spotted a building design I hadn't seen before. "Are those condom-iniums?" I asked. Gah.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 AM on May 2, 2002

Oh, and then there was the year I spent in Grade One, convinced I came from Australia because I'd seen a kangaroo that summer. That, and my terrible accent (high roof in my mouth) and stunning ability to mispronounce words...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 AM on May 2, 2002

(Speaking of worms, I've always made sure that when I see kids with Ichiban noodles, I inform them that it's not the noodles that have the worm eggs, it's that chemical powder. I mean, anyone can tell it's just not healthy for ya!)

(Next time, I'll try to gather all my random thoughts into a single post....)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on May 2, 2002

When I was very young, I thought there were little guys who lived inside the radio and made all the music.

Finally, MeFi makes it to the Discworld.
posted by CatherineB at 10:30 AM on May 2, 2002

While reading this thread I just had the horrifying recollection that, as a kid, I once composed, and performed for some friends, a puppet show in which one of the puppets was arrested and jailed for being "Iranian." It was right after the whole Iran hostage thing back in 1980 but, still, my parents must have been terribly embarassed.
posted by plaino at 10:36 AM on May 2, 2002

I once swallowed the seed from an orange, and was convinved a tree would grow inside me. It bothered me for weeks until i had the nerve to tell my parents. I didn't want to go through the surgery.
posted by jpoulos at 10:37 AM on May 2, 2002

My father tells the story of how he was about 7 when he went on a tour of a dairy farm. Until this time, he thought milk was made in factories, like soda. He was really grossed out over the whole squeezing milk out of the udder thing and stopped drinking milk altogether.
posted by ilsa at 10:39 AM on May 2, 2002

I and a friend saw some episode of Star Wars on TV long, lonngg time ago. And for some time we thought it was a documentary.
posted by adnanbwp at 10:43 AM on May 2, 2002

After dinner my mother would always say to my father: "Do you want I-C-E for dessert?" Of course, he'd say "yes" every time.

So me being the swift 5 year old that I was went to my neighbor and proudly proclaimed that I knew how to spell ice cream. I was more than shocked. In fact, I think I had to be subdued and tranquilized when I learned the truth.

I think that was my parents' first fall from grace.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:58 AM on May 2, 2002

I asked my mum why we Canadians stood on God in our national anthem (didn't it hurt him?).

And when my father told me he had to talk to me about my first cat (to tell me she'd been killed by a car, as it turned out), I clearly remember wondering if he was going to ask me if I wanted to trade her in for a pony. Because you can do that, obviously.
posted by biscotti at 11:16 AM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

I thought that taking medicine when you weren't sick would make you sick with whatever the medicine was for. i.e. taking aspirin without a headache would give you one.

Kept me out of the medicine cabinet, anyway.

jodic: Wash, Fluff Dry and Fold ...55 cents a pound?
Wow! That's high. $0.30 a pound is most I ever pay.
posted by HTuttle at 11:27 AM on May 2, 2002

I was under the impression for a long time that cats and dogs where the female and male versions of the same animal.
posted by euphorb at 11:31 AM on May 2, 2002

This one is bizzare, but...

When you are a little kid you get sick and vomit sometimes--probably more often than adults do. Well, I figured when you ate food it would build up in your body, starting at your feet, and when you were full up, you'd get sick--then the process would begin all over again. I can't imagine why I supposed humans' bodies were hollow.

And I'm not sure why I thought we went to the bathroom either.
posted by brittney at 11:35 AM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

Having been told as a child that I was half-welsh, I spent years confidently asserting that I'd been born precisely on the border.
posted by wassock at 12:07 PM on May 2, 2002

When I was a kid, my mom put a "Chocolite" candle in the bathroom that smelled like, well, chocolate. But I missed that word spelling tests for years because of that damn candle.
posted by Cyrano at 12:54 PM on May 2, 2002

Then there was the birthday cake for my sister. Decorated with the trick candles that start up again after you blow them out.

I'm sure the result is always the same when you pull this stunt on any toddler.

She spat all over the cake.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:13 PM on May 2, 2002

When my wife was little, she believed there was a verb called "brottue", which meant to sponsor or present. She was convinced that announcers on TV shows were saying "brottued by Campbell's Soup" rather than "brought to you by Campbell's Soup".
posted by kokogiak at 1:13 PM on May 2, 2002

My little brother's favorite superhero when he was four years old was Wonder Woman, only he thought her name was Woman Woman. He wanted to be "Woman Woman" for Halloween but my father made him be Batman instead.
posted by bunktone at 1:37 PM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

We used to drive over the Throg's Neck Bridge when we visited my mother's family in New York every summer... I would endlessly ask what a throg was, and since nobody could come up with an answer I just assumed it was some sort of frog-like bridge-necked monster thing that lived in the Bronx.

Actually, I still believe this.
posted by kittyb at 1:43 PM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

Best. Thread. Ever.

Here's two from my darling wife...

1. I thought that Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was filmed in real time. But
the fact that it was nighttime where I was, and daytime in Africa, made
sense because, hey, Africa's on the other side of the world.

2. My dad drove an old car & I thought the radio only got 50's music because
of that.
posted by billder at 1:50 PM on May 2, 2002

KFURY - go to this page
posted by jeb at 2:12 PM on May 2, 2002

I was one of those kids who reads too much, and has tons of words in their vocab that they've never heard pronounced. Best example, the word "misled".
In my head it always sounded like 'mizelled', and I believed that 'to misle' was to deceive, to pull the wool over someone's eyes. It still makes more sense to me.
posted by Catch at 2:29 PM on May 2, 2002

I've a photo of me dressed in the most hideous plaid pants, with a kangaroo jacket and a big, big head of hair. My parents were hippies. We lived hell and gone out in the bush, on a lake. Wonderful place to grow up.

My parents tell a story about my sister. "I'm soooooo small!" she says, age four. "My feet are sooooooo far away!"

My mother is puzzled. Is the kid running a fever?

My sister starts crawling on the floor, pushing a bit of lint on the carpet with her nose, and barking. "I'm a doggy!"

My mother is becoming concerned.

And then it dawns on her.

My sister is stoned out of her gourd. The small hydroponics setup downstairs has either gone to bloom, or my sister has been touching what she's not supposed to touch.

I believe that was pretty much the end of their hippy days.

Not that it stopped my sister. I distinctly remember the time when she snagged a stein of beer from the table, chug-a-lugged it, and then promptly started weaving and walking into walls while crying about feeling bad.

Nor did that stop her. A decade later, she and her best friend get into a liquor cabinet. Can't drink too much from any one bottle, or they'd get caught, right? So they mixed a little from *EVERY* bottle. Made themselves a muddy concoction, and drank that. Gaaaaahd.

And got caught anyway. My sister comes back from the sleepover. My mom mentions that the father had phoned. My sister immediately panicks and starts crying that they didn't mean to get in trouble. But, of course, the phone call had been perfectly innocuous... busted!

Poor kid. She really wasn't cut out for a life of crime.

My father always sincerely promised that if us kids ever felt a need to experiment with drugs, to ask him. He'd get us good, clean drugs and we'd all get stoned together in a safe environment, and really enjoy it.

That pretty much killed every bit of curiousity I had about drugs. If my dad was so cool with it, it couldn't possibly be worth it.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:31 PM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, I read a book about a British train robbery. When it explained that, for example, "fifty thousand pounds were stolen", I immediately wondered why the British insisted on measuring their money based on weight.

I even went so far as to borrow some money from my mom's wallet and weigh it on the small scale in the kitchen. My mom came into the kitchen to see me hunched over a pad of paper with a pencil, about 50 bucks stuffed into my back pocket, furiously trying to do calculations to determine how much money was actually stolen. When I asked her what the average dollar bill weighed in England and why I wanted to know, she quickly understood (and explained) my mistake.

But I wasn't allowed to keep the money.
posted by grum@work at 2:36 PM on May 2, 2002

Once while watching the news - I was about 8, I guess, I saw some hooha about illegal aliens trying to climb over or dig under the border fences (in southern california).

I asked my mom:

"Why don't they just land on the other side of the fence?"
posted by jaded at 2:43 PM on May 2, 2002

I was under the impression for a long time that cats and dogs where the female and male versions of the same animal.

I thought all cats were female and all dogs were male, but I think that much is fairly common.

I remember being at the fair one time and about to get on a helicopter ride. To do this I had to get my hand stamped. I assumed that this would hurt so I was obviously frightened. The guy doing the stamping asked me, "You wanna stay?" and I thought that he was asking me if I wanted my hand stamped -- the stamp was obviously called a "stay." Relieved, I said no, whereupon the guy grabbed my hand and stamped it before I have a chance to even realize what he was doing. Naturally, it didn't hurt at all.

Don't remember the actual helicopter ride, however.
posted by kindall at 2:44 PM on May 2, 2002

When picking vacation destinations, I insisted that we'd go to "Coco-Banana Beach".. For the fruit....
posted by dabitch at 2:51 PM on May 2, 2002

When I was really young, I must have misheard my parents when they said the word "tornado" and heard the word "tomato".

This one summer...I must have been 5 or so...there was a tornado warning so we went to the cellar. I started crying because I was sure giant tomatos where going to come down from the sky and crush our house.

For the longest time I also thought a "french kiss" was two french people kissing.
posted by Windigo at 2:52 PM on May 2, 2002

I thought that god was named "Howard." You know...because of the prayer.

"Our Father, who art in heaven, Howard be thy name..."
posted by ColdChef at 2:55 PM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

My dad said that vinegar dried up your blood. I never touched the stuff for 20 years.
posted by riviera at 3:30 PM on May 2, 2002

In my head it always sounded like 'mizelled', and I believed that 'to misle' was to deceive, to pull the wool over someone's eyes. It still makes more sense to me.

!I had this one too. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I actually didn't figure it out until I read the transcription of Clinton's apology, having already heard it... I just had them as two separate words & never noticed I hadn't heard people use "misle".
posted by mdn at 4:32 PM on May 2, 2002

There were a ton of words I pronounced as written. "Sword" was pronounced with the w intact; "medieval" had four syllables, and "fanatic" was "FAN-attic". (I'm suddenly starting to realize something about my reading material as a kid.)

I also had the misled thing -- except that I thought there were two separate words, one pronounced "miss-led" and the other "mizled". I wondered for years why I was the only one who used "mizled" in conversation.
posted by ook at 5:33 PM on May 2, 2002

...which now that I reread is exactly what mdn said, only with Bill Clinton instead of a high school band cover of "Misled" as the clue-by-four.

Hers is better. Read it twice and skip mine.
posted by ook at 5:36 PM on May 2, 2002

I thought that infants were placed in the street lights, for some reason. They were small enough to fit, right? And they would push red, yellow, and green buttons at random. If we got stuck at a long red light, I would assume that the baby had nodded off...thereby causing drivers to honk, which would wake the baby up...startled, the infant would, of course, then start pushing buttons again.

posted by davidmsc at 5:48 PM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

I remember wondering why so many streets were named 'Access Rd.'. Really.
posted by Opus Dark at 6:30 PM on May 2, 2002

I love this thread. It should be a whole website collection of stories.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:38 PM on May 2, 2002

Until I was five, I thought sounds came in through my nose and smells came in through my ears.
posted by swift at 7:39 PM on May 2, 2002

My dad told me once after I choked on some juice that it had "gone down the wrong pipe." For some time after that I thought that meant there were separate "pipes" going to your stomach for food and drink. It never occurred to me that one of the pipes was for air.
posted by kindall at 8:10 PM on May 2, 2002

Heck, if enough people out there believe in "misle" I might just start using it anyhoo.
posted by Catch at 12:20 AM on May 3, 2002

hehehe .... ye gods, what have I started?

For the longest time my younger brother confused decapitation with castration (no, no idea why)

It wasn't until (aged 13 or so), at the top of his voice, he pointed out the 'castrated mannequin head' in the hairdressers, that we decided to put him right.

Up until recently I didn't realise the Box music channel logo actually spelt BOX too. But then I am getting old.
posted by MintSauce at 2:47 AM on May 3, 2002

One of my first astronomic epiphanies was the realization that the sun and moon were two distinct entities; I had developed the early notion that they were simply opposite sides of the same thing.
posted by johnnyace at 3:41 AM on May 3, 2002

I, too, thought there was a word that sounded like mizled. And another word that sounded like mi-shap. Damned language.
posted by pracowity at 4:52 AM on May 3, 2002

Ill have to agree with five fresh fish, great thread, seldom have I chuckled so much... :)
posted by dabitch at 6:20 AM on May 3, 2002

I'm surprised at how common this experience with "misled" is. It did not surprise me that I never heard anyone pronounce "miszled" - it was quite normal to read words in books that nobody ever spoke - so the bulb lit when I tried to figure out how to spell "mis-led"... I think it was my early teens before I put the two together.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:10 AM on May 3, 2002

Who was that guy? Sounded a lot like the one who used to sign his posts "Mars".
posted by yhbc at 8:20 AM on May 3, 2002

I feel so redeemed about "misled" now! Funny thing about it is that they really had (have?) distinct meanings for me.

To misle someone is to my mind more sinister than misleading them. Maybe because it sounds like a cross between miser and weasel...

If I had read Clinton's apology first, i would have thought he had admitted to deliberately, unfairly, deceiving; hearing it first I thought that he had admitted to accidently stumbling in the wrong direction (not that I cared much about it anyway but let's not bother with that).
posted by mdn at 8:26 AM on May 3, 2002

Anyone know of a site that collects childhood memories? I'm thinking it'd be kind of like the Darwin or Tech Support story sites. Preferably happy/good/harmless kid stories; I don't much care to read about someone's memory of abuse.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 AM on May 3, 2002

On the subject of mis-pronounced words:

Inevitable = "ine-vite-able." And my brother thought that "cinch" was pronounced "kinch." Heck, we could have a whole thread just on the words!
posted by davidmsc at 2:17 PM on May 3, 2002

lol, yhbc - it seems that there are a good number of people who find signatures annoying, so I'm trying to refrain. It has proven quite difficult to break the habit.

(see, I just typed it, and had to backspace over...)
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:42 PM on May 3, 2002

This thread is dying. *weeps*

I have three good ones to report.

- A grade-school friend of mine, who read precociously, had the unfortunate habit of cracking puns beyond his years that depended on mispronunciations. One of them (can't remember the setup) involved pronouncing "star whores" like "Star Wars." When I gave a little embarrassed chuckle at his ambition, he thought I hadn't gotten the joke and explained, "It's hard to hear the difference. Star *whores*!"

- When I was very young, I liked to sing and pipe, and I would invent my own melodies (this was before my parents gave me a transparent radio and I discovered rap music). I was deathly afraid, however, that grown-ups might communicate secret meanings to each other through certain sequences of notes, the way they used to spell words out to conceal things from me before I learned to spell. Right? So I avoided humming around girls, because I thought I might accidentally hum a marriage proposal. I kid you not.

- My favorite of all: A friend of mine with the middle name Carroll believed her father's claim that she was related to Lewis Carroll. I was the bastard to break the news... during her freshman year of college.
posted by aws17576 at 1:54 AM on May 4, 2002

So I avoided humming around girls, because I thought I might accidentally hum a marriage proposal.

I love this. There is something so true about that feeling when you're a kid, that you might accidently follow or break the weird grown up rules and end up in a situation you didn't mean to get to...

Oh, I also used to be confused about why there was a specially designated kind of dating for blind people. It only made it more incomprehensible when it seemed that people who could see could also go on "blind dates" - were they supposed to pretend to be blind?...
posted by mdn at 12:32 PM on May 4, 2002

"that you might accidently follow or break the weird grown up rules and end up in a situation you didn't mean to get to"

whoa, I still get that!
posted by dabitch at 9:51 AM on May 25, 2002 [1 favorite]

Three more, if only to stop aws17576 weeping.

Until at least a year into our marriage, my wife thought tuna were small fish, about the size of, well, a can of tuna. She also thought artichokes grew with naturally squared-off leaves, and was shocked the first time she saw one which hadn't had the spiny bits cut off.

And one for me, so this post won't just be me making fun of my wife: up until junior high, I was somehow under the impression that colic was a dangerous, sometimes fatal disease. Junior high being junior high, this misconception was of course corrected in as public and embarassing a manner as humanly possible. (The irony is that I really did survive a potentially fatal disease in infancy -- I just had the name wrong. Very wrong.)
posted by ook at 3:36 PM on May 25, 2002

I still have great difficulty believing tuna are large. This despite having seen them. I think maybe I confuse them with sardines.

As a child, I used to believe that if I lost something, I could toss a similar thing over my shoulder and it would "find" its partner. I rather suspect I managed to lose twice as much stuff that way. And to this day, when I'm working on my car or motorcycle and drop a nut or bolt, I have to repress the urge to toss another one down...

One summer, I developed the sudden urge to get a few hundred dollars together and buy a bike. I'd have been in grade seven or eight, I imagine. Somehow I developed a psychic ability to find beer bottles: we lived hell and gone out in the country, and I'd cruise the ditches collecting bottles. One day, I got this "calling" from a dozen or so feet into the bush... walked in, poked around, and uncovered a cache of a dozen or so bottles. Freaky. Within a matter of months, I made enough to buy my bike... that's a lotta bottles, fast.

Living way out in the bush, I spent my childhood stomping through the forest exploring. But there was one section of land, dark and marshy, that was "bad." Never, ever wandered in it during the summer. Definite no-man's land. In retrospect, I've no idea why we were afraid of it. It really couldn't have been all that much different than the rest of the woods!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:21 PM on May 25, 2002

I never had the "misled" problem, but it took the longest time for me to figure out that a "tongue" wasn't some strange part of the tongue that I could never identify called the "tongue jew". What a weird spelling that word is.

I second the comment above concerning thinking that a calculator had all the answers to every possible math problem stored in it when it was made. I spent a considerable amount of time thinking of weird operations to try to see if I could come up with something that the designers hadn't thought of. It never worked, although I got momentarily excited the first time I got a divide by zero error.
posted by jammer at 9:45 AM on May 30, 2002

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