11 things I misunderstood as a kid

A couple of days ago I overheard the boys talking and had to clarify that when someone says, “I’d bet my life,” you don’t actually kill them if they are wrong.

This got me thinking about some of the misunderstandings that had me quietly worried when I was a kid.

1) On road trips, I thought my father was “drinking and driving” when he was drinking (a coffee, or Coke) while he was driving. I was sure he would be arrested.

2) When my mother used to wash my ears to make sure “potatoes weren’t growing” I was very troubled by the thought of waking up one day with baby potatoes back there.

3) At the eye doctor, when I had to choose which lens made things more focused, “1, 2 or the same?” I was anxious the whole time thinking one wrong answer would screw up my glasses for the rest of my life.

4) I was scared to look up at the sky in case I accidentally looked directly at the sun and went blind.

5) I was very concerned that everybody was wrongly adding a 2nd letter N to the alphabet song. I was hearing “Y, N, Z” instead of “Y and Z”.

6) When I was told not to flush the toilet when someone was in the shower, I thought that was because the dirty water from the toilet bowl would come out of the showerhead.

7) I took it literally at Catholic mass, when our priest held up the chalice before communion and proclaimed that Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me.” I got laughs from the family when I did it once at home but, being very afraid for my soul, I surreptitiously continued to raised my glass of milk before supper for months.

8) “Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.” This cutesy goodnight had me scared that giant bugs were going to come out from under the bed and attack. I used to insist on the door being left open and the bathroom light on, claiming I was scared of the dark but I really hoped the bed bugs would be afraid of the light.

9) I had an allergy to shellfish when I was young and couldn’t understand why my parents made me eat “scallop” potatoes when they knew they would make me sick.

10) When food or water “went down the wrong pipe”, I thought that the back of my mouth had two different holes and that I wasn’t swallowing properly.

11) When I heard about guerrilla warfare on the news, I thought that gorillas were arming themselves preparing for an attack. Those Uzi toting apes, and their pals the killer bees, gave me a few sleepless nights.

How about you? Is there anything you misunderstood as a child that gave you pause for thought?

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11 responses to “11 things I misunderstood as a kid

  1. This so reminds me of my youngest daughter who would sing at the top of her lungs the Fugees “Killing Me Softly” with “her saw”. We didn’t have the heart to inform her that the actual lyric was with “her song”. Logically her rendition made much more sense anyway. That being said, I’ve certainly made a lyric or two substitutions in my lifetime. It still makes us laugh when we hear it on the radio but now we all join “H” singing it her way.
    Great blog!!! Having lots of fun reading it.

    • Thanks Jenn! H and I are kindred spirits. The misunderstood lyrics of my youth could be blog of their own. No wonder my parents had my hearing checked!

      I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog. Thanks for reading!

  2. For several summers when I was a kid (way back in the 70’s) my parents used to take us on a two week car vacation to Florida (think 3400 kms in the dead of summer with no air conditioning). We would always stop in New York City and see the sights, and I could never understand the significance of the 8 in the “Eight Pire State Building”. Looked like a hell of a lot more than eight pires to me!

  3. I used to think that thunder caused rain; the noise from the thunder shaking the rain out of the grey clouds…
    But the thing I never will understand is how my parents smacking me with a wooden spoon was going to hurt them more than me. Really? I mean, really???

    • OMG the wooden spoon!! Was this an Irish thing that carried over to Canada and Australia, or is it universal? We were never actually hit by that spoon but just the threat scared the crap out of me. I still remember the one time we had made Dad so mad about something, he hit the kitchen counter with the wooden spoon and it snapped in half and went flying… there was just silence, what would happen now?

  4. Love this post! Oh how our brains used to work!

    I have memories as child with my parents struggling to get us out the door in the morning and drop me off at daycare. My mother would say that if I didn’t hurry up, she was going to be late for work and then she was going to get fired. I literally thought they would throw her into a fire, and that she would burn. Yet it didn’t make me any faster …

  5. Ha. Number eleven…Did you watch Planet of the Apes too? Did it add to the intensity?

    When I was little, my grandma told me I could swallow my tongue. I got paranoid and put my tongue between my teeth until I had sores on it. I really didn’t want to swallow my tongue.

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