30 People Share How They Used To Believe In Something That Turned Out To Be An Embarrassing Misunderstanding
"Having gaps in your knowledge is just a natural part of being human. And sometimes, as the thread proves, those gaps can be amusing!"
30 People Share How They Used To Believe In Something That Turned Out To Be An Embarrassing Misunderstanding
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No matter how smart we think we are, no matter how many degrees we might have, everyone (everyone!) has at least one embarrassing knowledge blindspot. You might be like Ted Mosby from the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother who pronounces ‘chameleon’ with the ‘ch’ like in ‘chocolate’ and the ‘leon’ part like the name Leon.

Or you might be like comedy writer Ariane Sherine who used to think that pigs would snuff out chocolate truffles from the ground like they do normal truffles. When Ariane shared this fun fact on the internet and added that one of her friends thought that Colonel Sanders’ bow on the KFC logo was a stickman body (we can’t unsee it now, by the way), she sparked an amusing thread about the most embarrassing misunderstandings that people have had. Scroll down, upvote your faves, and share your own embarrassing blindspots in the comments below! I’ll get the ball rolling by saying that I keep forgetting that New Zealand is to the Southeast of Australia—in my mind, it’s always to the Southwest! Whoops! Sorry, Kiwis.

"I share a lot of the knowledge blindspots other people have confessed to. For example, when I was young, I also thought the word ‘misled’ was pronounced ‘mizzled!’ And I’m sure I’m also guilty of hundreds of misunderstandings I can’t remember now," Ariane told Bored Panda. "I think that’s why the thread was so popular—everyone can identify with the idea of an embarrassing misunderstanding! Can’t help you with Colonel Sanders though—I fear that image is seared into your brain forever..." Scroll down for the rest of our interview with Ariane.

"I think some people think they’ll lose face if they admit to not knowing things. But no one can know everything! Having gaps in your knowledge is just a natural part of being human. And sometimes, as the thread proves, those gaps can be amusing!"

Ariane also revealed to Bored Panda what she's been up to during the Covid-19 quarantine. "I’ve been working on a really fun book for ages 8-12 set during the coronavirus lockdown. Unfortunately though, my agent has stopped work during lockdown, so if any children’s fiction publishers would like to read the manuscript, please hit me up! I’ve also been proofreading my next book, called How to Live to 100. It’s a funny health science book which tells you how to live a long and healthy life, and is out on October 1," she said.

39-year-old Ariane has many talents besides her talent with the quill: she’s also a comedian, campaigner, and a songwriter. But she’s best known for her writing skills. If you’re a fan of British TV, then you’ve probably enjoyed some of her work without even knowing it. She’s written scripts for BBC shows like My Family, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, The Story of Tracy Beaker, and Space Pirates, ITV1’s The New Worst Witch, and jokes for Channel 4’s Countdown.

She’s incredibly energetic and also a regular on TV and radio programs like BBC Breakfast, Sunday Morning Live, The One Show, Victoria Derbyshire, iPM, Woman’s Hour, Sunday, and Night Waves.

Ariane’s a seasoned journalist, too. She has written over 90 columns for The Guardian and The Spectator, a few travel pieces for The Sunday Times, book reviews for The Observer, album reviews for NME, and features for The Independent, Independent on Sunday, and Esquire. That’s the sort of experience that any journalist would be glad to add to their CV.

So if someone as talented and hard-working as Ariane can talk about her embarrassing misunderstandings openly, there’s no reason for us to hide our own knowledge blindspots. Don’t you think so, dear Pandas?

Comments (121)
Daniel Lewis
I thought God’s name was “Howard” when I heard people say the Lord’s Prayer starting with “Our Father which art in heaven, Howard be thy name.”
When I was 5-6yrs old, I thought that the laugh tracks heard in sitcoms was the laughter of all the other people also watching the show around the world. I went so far as to talk into the tv speaker, introducing myself in hopes of communicating!! Eek!!!
Daniel Lewis
The town where I grew up had a manmade lake with a dam. When I heard people mentioning the Watergate scandal, I thought they were upset about some problem with the dam and was worried that the town might be destroyed by a flood.
Daria Z
Suppositories in Russian are called "candles" and I believed they were thin medical candles that you have to stick up your bum and then LIGHT them. Ohh, learning the truth was so embarrassing, especially since I was well into my 20s ?
Meghann Davies
I was 16 when I realised (quietly) that Neil Armstrong said "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" and not "one small step for a man, one giant leap for magpies" which to me made sense because it would in fact be a giant leap for a magpie...
Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
I laughed so hard at the KFC sign with legs. I still have years in my eyes.
When I was little, I was terrified of thunder, so my mother tried to help by telling me it was just the sound of clouds banging into each other. Unfortunately, I believed that into high school when I was corrected after asking what was in clouds that could make that much noise.
I thought that the unit of weight, pounds was abbreviated as 'lb' because everyone - not just me - needs a reminder of how many ounces are in a pound and the lb looks like a 16.
Until (embarrassingly) recently, I thought that Ted Bundy, the serial killer was also an Actor on Married with Children--and that he played the father character--Al Bundy. I thought he became a serial killer later.
Foxxy (The Original)
I have a few. I thought the M and F on toilets stood for Mother and Father. imagine my embarrassment walking into the male toilets. I thought Sarsparilla was made from dogs. I thought my head would fall off after having a small lump cut out of head. That’s just those ones I can remember right now.
When i was a kid i thought that the "slippery road sign" was the head of Zephyr from Babar.
Candace Fitzpatrick
I thought a pony was a baby horse until this year... I’m 42
Also, 1. I thought for the longest time that the US National Anthem (The Star Spangled Banner) went: 'Jose can you see'. 2. On TV when a cop arrests someone in the US and reads them their Miranda Rights, I thought this was a command that the person must be silent - or else anything they say would be used against them in a court of law. As a lawyer I now know that technically they're actually giving you an OPTION to not talk - because what you say could be used against you in court. I think a lot of people misunderstand that though.
Mary Padgett
I thought the steeple or cross on top of churches worked like a tv antenna to channel God.
Gipsy Kings fan
When I was a little kid in the '60s, I read dozens of my brother's classic Marvel comics (pre-superhero era, many featuring monsters or beings from other planets). I thought that "alien" only referred to a person / creature from another planet. I can't remember how many years went by or how old I was when I found out it also means a person from a foreign country! :-D
Cyndi Hafele
I used to think pubic hair was called public hair, and I couldn't understand why, because it's the most private of all your hair.
Lyra Rey
When I was really little I thought you could enter the world of your favorite tv show by climbing through the screen. More than once my sister came downstairs to find me head butting the tv.
When I was really little, like... 4...?? or younger, I remember being in my kitchen with my mother and my older brother, and suddenly having this grand revelation. "Ohh, I get it now! Milk comes from cows, eggs comes from chickens, and quackers (crackers) comes from ducks!" I couldn't understand why they were both laughing at me and felt very offended, haha.
1. As a 4-5 year old, my family's neighbors had a crew of guys fixing their garage roof for a week or so, & since a few of them wore bandanas I kept nervously telling my mom they were pirates. 2. Around those ages I thought at movie theaters that the screens could only show people b/c those people were in back of the screen doing it all, that we were just seeing live action mediated through the screen. (Though I didn't know how to explain that to anyone then, good thing I never did, laughing face palm). 3. The Arby's logo: I had no clue it was a cowboy hat for the longest tine. 4. The 1990-era Blockbuster ad w/ the cheezy jingle 'Wow, what a difference! Blockbuster Video!' - I thought was saying 'Ghostbuster Video!' 5. This is worse: for the movie Tropic Thunder, a pal of mine was so thrown off by the fake previews they show at the beginning of fake comically bad movies for the fictional Hollywood stars in Tropic Thunder. I had to explain this to him like three times, like: 'See, that's one of the dumb action movies that Ben Stiller's CHARACTER would have done...Do you understand?!' He did eventually, lol.
I thought the old 8 tracks were called "A tracks". I was corrected a few weeks ago. I'm in my 30s :/
Leo Domitrix
The Police song "Spirits in a material world" was heard by me as a kid (at 430 AM, farm life, eh?) as "I stare itno my cereal bowl". My mother thought the same. Enlightenment didn't change how we sing it, btw. We still stare into our cereal bowls!
I thought God was named Peter. Thanks be to God. Thanks Peter God.
SepBass Five15
I thought there were "good guy teams" & "bad guy teams" in all pro sports when I was a kid like in WWF pro wrestling.
Paula Raymundo
Now I can't unsee the arms and legs of Colonel Sanders! XD
I used to believe people with blue or green eyes, could see everything in that color! :o jeje
Cecilia Cheung
I honestly thought that the verse "dark sacred night" in What a Wonderful World said dogs say goodnight well until my early teens
Rose the Cook
Radio and TV often mentioned "the criminal underground" when I was a child. My parents could not understand my fear of the subway.
marjory .jones
My friend thought there were traffic lights in the sky, like the ones on roads, she thought this well into her 20s.
i though a horse was the male and the cow was the female when i was a kid
Lyra Rey
I thought that "subtle" meant the opposite of what it really means because it sounded like it was related to the word "sudden." I first heard the word subtle when I was 12 and my dad read me The Subtle Knife. I loved it, but my misunderstanding of the title made it a bit confusing. I learned the real meaning a few years later but I didn't tell my dad about this until I was 32. Now we refer to The Subtle Knife as "The Knife that Jumps Out at You."
Another one - I used to wear rubber bands on my wrists and tied them really tightly until my grandma told me it will stop my blood from flowing into my hand and it will fall off. 10 years later, I have a phobia of touching my wrists, and until I was 8 I believed my hand could actually fall off if I touched my veins.
My O My
I used to think the band would play the songs you heard in the radio live
Nia Loves Art
I thought subpoenaed was pronounced sub-po-nayd, and ennui was pronounced en-you-i. I still instinctively read them that way.
Chelsea Shimell
I thought Ethiopian was the illness for starving children when they were so bad their bellies were bloated but their arms and legs were tiny. Because of the save a child infomercials on tv. Wasn’t until I watched a sporting event and there was an Ethiopian team I found out it’s a country ? I thought it was so cruel they were making them compete ?
Radek Suski
As I child I thought "Outland" is an actual country
For the longest time I thought the USPS logo was a hatchet head in a slingshot. I still have trouble seeing the eagle.
Steve Barnett
Until only a few years ago I thought that milk was a liquid in its own right. Didn't realise it was 88% water.
When I was little I used to think you get pregnant by kissing. One day we had people over and I saw a couple kissing on tv and I yelled, “you’re going to get her pregnant.” I must’ve been about 7 or 8. The whole room fell silent and then everyone burst out laughing. To this day, every chance my family gets, they mention it to me.
I have a few. #1 Vladimir Lenin and John Lennon were the same person. #2 Captain Cook and Captain Hook were the same person (I grew up in New Zealand) #3 Australia was Oz therefore the Prime Minister of Australia was the Wizard of Oz.
Up until a couple years ago I thought rice was baby pasta. I'm 43.....
Nuno José Almeida
At the age of 12, I finally understood the meaning of Except. Before, I thought it meant Mainly. I still remember when it hit me.
Jon S.
I always thought people described disappointments as "damp squids." I didn't even click when I watched an episode of IT crowd in which Jen was corrected for having the same misconception, I thought the joke was she was right and everyone else was wrong. Years later I discovered there were these explosive things called squibs and "Damp Squib" suddenly made a whole lot more sense than damp squid.
The main newspaper in my home city was called The Herald. So of course I wondered why there were angels from the paper singing "Glory to the newborn king" at Christmas. I also thought the moon followed me when i walked at night while the earth stood still.
Meghann Davies
I was 16 when I realised (quietly) that Neil Armstrong said "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" and not "one small step for a man, one giant leap for magpies" which to me made sense since it would have been a giant leap for a magpie...
Dianna Siever
I've never heard of half of the things people here are referring to. Are they obscure, or am I not worldly enough?
Cho Chang
I used to think that the judges on cooking shows exchanged some kind of secret look to decide who won/lost. I also pronounced Zeus Ze-zus as a child.
Tina Ábrahám
I love Winnie The Pooh, especially Kanga and Roo, but in my native language Roo called "Pocket Baby" (rough mirror translation), so I didn't realised anything and thought that he called this way 'cause kangaroos have pockets. Now I'm 24 and speak english for almost 14 years, but I needed this long time to realise that their name is the word kangaroo, just separated in the middle. I feel so dumb.
Edwin Quantrall
When I was young, I thought that Bachman Turner Overdrive was a Rock band that consisted of Mr. Bachman, Mr. Turner, and Mr. Overdrive. (It probably didn't help that my mom worked for a law firm.)
Michele Clarke
When I was little I thought when songs had my name in them that the radio was singing to me!! and I also thought Fantasy Island was a real place! HAHAHA!
Daniel Heykoop
Wendys logo
Anna Wentz
My uncle told me when I was a wee girl that babies come in a kit from sears and are assembled. He then went on to say I was a discount from Walmart. Nice guy.
Nobody else thought it was windshield factor? Nobody?? I was certain that would be on this list.
Nuno José Almeida
Until 12, I thought except meant mainly. :D I still remember where I was I how I figure it out.
Used to think the red part of the Superman logo was the S, that bee sting was beasting, that nostalgia was when your nose was clogged (same with nauseous) and much more
Crissy Brandt
When I was little I thought the lyrics to Little Red Corvette was Baby Come Back. I’m still awful at hearing/understanding lyrics. ?
Tabitha L
As a child, I couldn't see the eagle in the (old) US Post Office logo. I thought it was some weird face/profile facing left. Not an eagle facing right. To this day, even though I know it is an eagle, I see the weird face thing.
I used to think that the key bank symbol was a lion, and that when girls grew up they became men and when boys grew up they became women, and that those marks on blacktop were meteorites.
Sioux White
I used to think a veterinarian was a doctors for vegetarian people
elia 84631
I thought that mushroom kingdom was in England, princess peach was the queen and the Hyrule in Germany
Rex the Rat
I used to think that the Wizard of Oz was on word before I actually watched it.
Effie Haverlad
I always thought that Shia LaBeouf's name was Shilo Buff!
I always watched TV lying down on my side until my parents said my eyeballs will turn over inside their sockets. I got scared to even turn my head a little.
Yelena Yardeen
I was, like, 20 until I figured out that it was "keyless entry" and not "key luh sentry"
Yassss! My first ever up vote.
When I was younger me and my family went to Miami for a holiday. I remember walking into my parents' bedroom and asking my mum something like "do I have an Ami? Who is your ami?" Lol, it was a great holiday! I kissed Mickey Mouse's nose at Disneyland! ?
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