Kids are like sponges.
They soak up every imaginable piece of information.
And we all know how smart sponges are, right?
Growing up in rural Illinois had its benefits. The whole world was my playground. In winters, I had endless fields in which to stomp, sled, and build snowmen armies. In the summer, the entire state served as my personal baseball diamond.
For all the fun I had, and for all the places my imagination took me, I was an idiot.
How big of an idiot?
Let’s find out…
I used to believe animals could never make mistakes. I guess I probably watched too many National Geographic nature shows, because for many years I thought it was impossible for any creature other than a human to fall down, trip, stumble, or make any slight error in movement. Then one day I saw my cat jump for…and miss…the stairs. And a light bulb flickered on inside my head.
I assumed women’s breasts were for amusement purposes only. I mean, I guess they kind of are. Babies seem pretty happy to encounter them. I didn’t figure out the whole milk thing until I hit about ten years old.
I knew Santa was fake (sorry, kids.) But I believed in the tooth fairy. And the Easter Bunny. Not really sure how I didn’t connect the dots.
My grandfather (dude was mean sometimes) explained to me the pizza delivery guy didn’t need tips because he got paid too much already. Don’t worry, I got over this one rather quickly. I overtip now.
One of my family members convinced me that because I hadn’t been baptized, touching holy water in church would burn me. Actually, now that I think about it, they might be right. I’m not brave enough to test the theory.
I believed cicadas were pretty much the deadliest creature alive.
But I happily chased bees with reckless abandon.
A cousin once convinced me that baseball pitchers threw the ball so hard, the ball would literally pass through the hitter’s bat if they didn’t swing hard enough.
I was pretty sure that if I couldn’t see the bottom of a particular body of water (even if it was only a few feet deep) the water’s depth was thousands of feet.
Also, I believed sharks lurked in the freshwater quarry in which we used to swim.
And Jaws definitely lived in the swimming pool’s deep end.
Once, I tried to dig to China. With a plastic yellow shovel. Literally. I got about three feet down before I gave up and went inside for lemonade.
I thought holding my breath made me harder to see while playing hide & seek.
And I still kind of believe turning the music down while driving helps me when I’m driving downtown.
For a brief time in second grade, I thought kissing girls was enough to get them pregnant. So naturally I chased every girl down on the playground and kissed them. Sadly, no one got pregnant, but I did earn a week’s after-school study (Detention for little kids.)
Someone convinced me squirrels were carnivorous.
Alligators definitely came from toilets.
Quicksand was something to be feared. It could’ve happened anywhere.
King Cobra snakes littered the cornfields of northern Illinois.
And Eagles only lived on the tops of the highest mountains in the world.
I really didn’t understand how the chain-reaction caused by dropping atomic weapons didn’t destroy the entire planet. When we had nuke drills in the early 80’s, the teachers would make us hide under our desks. As if THAT would help.
Root beer definitely contained real beer.
I was absolutely sure girls could never smell bad in any way.
My worst fear was throwing up so much my entire stomach might come out.
I believed people could be resurrected. As in, raised from the dead. I didn’t quite grasp the concept of permanent death. Oops.
And…while going through her New Age phase, my aunt briefly convinced me reincarnation was real. C’mon, auntie.
One of my earliest childhood memories? A week or two during which I tried to run faster than light. At dawn at my grandparents’ house, I sprinted outside and tried to run fast enough to catch up to the night again. I’m pretty sure I got close. Or not.
Until just before high school, I believed women gave birth to babies via their butt. No one had bothered to explain proper anatomy to me, and so I worried that if a mom-to-be was using the bathroom, she stood a reasonable chance of ejecting the baby into the toilet, where it would drown.
I told you.
I was an idiot.
Be smarter than me. Read this.