Friday, February 21, 2014

Wrong ideas I had for way too long

I saw an article the other day about misconceptions, discussing ideas that people held for long periods of time that they now understand were wrong. And not just any old misconceptions, but really stupid ones; misconceptions that make no sense at all.

So, here are a couple wrong ideas I had for a long time.

The first is not particularly relevant to everyday life and is really a misinterpretation of a movie plot point. In The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch turns over her ginormous red hourglass and tells Dorothy that the time in the hourglass is how long she has to live. Today I interpret that as a deadline at which time the Witch would return and have Dorothy killed (possibly by the Winky guards). For decades, however, I thought the Witch meant that Dorothy would just magically drop dead the instant the red sand ran out. I never understood why Dorothy didn’t just keep turning over the hourglass to give herself more time.

The second is historical. Like most people, I know that Hitler killed himself in his bunker. I used to think that Hitler’s bunker was located on the coast of France and that he killed himself when the Allied Troops invaded France on D-Day. I could vividly picture him looking out and seeing the landing craft and directing defenses before he killed himself. When I finally realized that Hitler died in his bunker in Berlin nearly a year later, it caused a major readjustment in how I visualized the war and Hitler’s end.

Please feel free to share your own misconceptions in the comments. I’m sure I’ll think up some more as well.


Vol-E said...

My childhood was extremely stable, to the point of being boring -- I lived in the same house with the same parents and the same furniture, and my parents generally had the same clothes and hairstyles for the whole 23 years I was with them. So I basically had the expectation that my classmates had similar arrangements. Anytime I became aware of a major shift in someone's living situation, I found it especially fascinating. Maybe it's because in one early school year (1st or 2nd grade), one classmate moved away and another new kid joined our class, I assumed that when you moved to a new town, you and someone else from that town always switched places. So I thought John Jones, who moved away, had moved into the home of Jane Smith, who had come to our town to "replace" John. I think I was in middle school before it ever occurred to me that this didn't necessarily make sense!

Ipecac said...

That's an interesting one!

lil1inblue said...

As a young child watching The Wizard of Oz, I really believed that Dorothy went to Oz and that it was not a dream. I thought all the adults were crazy for not believing her. A babysitter later set me straight (after making fun of my most favorite movie the entire time it was on). I did not like her.

Also, when I was in 4th grade or so, I went to a friend's house after school. The weather turned, and we ended up having quite a big storm. We were both terrified of tornadoes, and the warning sirens started going off. My friend's grandmother told us not to worry, because it was the second Tuesday of the month and they were just testing the sirens. She said the weather was not that bad. She then proceeded to teach us to play blackjack. I honestly believed that it was just really windy and rainy and they just happened to test the sirens that day. For a really long time. I think I was home from college one summer, reminiscing with my mom, and she mentioned the time my friend's grandma taught us blackjack during a really bad storm. I said something about it being a lot of fun, and that it was weird that they were testing the sirens that day, as well. My mom laughed at me and said that the storm was much worse than my friend's grandma had let on. There were in fact tornadoes that hit nearby towns (not ours), and the sirens were in fact the warning sirens. I don't know why it took me so long to realize!