Things it Took Me Too Long to Learn

>> Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From time to time, I tell you about "things I have learned" in various places and doing various things (such as our vacation to Lake Tahoe, or from living with an almost-3 year old). 

Of course, the more embarrasing things to write about are the things where I didn't learn things as fast as maybe I should have and ended up feeling a bit like a dolt when I finally figured it out.

Take Erma Bombeck's book, Motherhood, the Second Oldest Profession, for example.  I first read it when I was a young girl, and I could not figure out what the heck the "oldest profession" was supposed to be.  I remember thinking, "well, technically, you become a dad the same time you become a mom ... so ....????"  Of course, the years passed, and I didn't think about it much.  Then one day, I came across the book again, when I was probably in my early 20's, and suddenly, "OOOHHHHH!!!!!! Riiiiighht.  The second oldest profession.  Yes.  Got it now ."

I mean, I wouldn't exactly call myself naive.  Squeaky clean?  You bet.  No one squeaked better than I did.  I still suffer a lot from the Goody-Two-Shoes complex.  But naive?  Not so much.  I was completely aware of how much my classmates were boozing it up (or dealing drugs), I just didn't participate or want to.  Apparently I even fooled a lot of them into thinking I was too clueless to even realize.

My mother gave me Flowers in the Attic to read before I was 12.  (I still don't know why she did that.)  She tried to keep kept me from a lot of things (like the sequels to Clan of the Cave Bear, because of their blatant pornography randomly inserted into various chapters), but Flowers in the Attic was just fine, apparently.

I was just a little slow on the double entendre, I guess.  I don't know.  I have no excuse why it took me so embarrasingly long to get the joke.

Then there was the whole water conservation movement building steam when I was young.  The "in thing" to do to help the conserve water was to put a brick in your toilet to artificially increase the volume.  Every so often people would recommend this as part of the "tips to save the planet" we would hear in school, on TV, etc.  I just couldn't figure this one out, though.  I understood turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, as annoying as I found that at the time, but I didn't get this whole brick thing.

See, I thought they meant put the brick in the bowl of the toilet, and I couldn't figure out how that would help anything.  Besides ... wouldn't it get really messy ... and more than a little bit gross? 

I don't even know how old I was before I finally understood that the brick didn't go in the bowl. 

Of course, like a lot of little kids, I didn't understand the connection between the food on my plate and the starving kids in China (or wherever).  To be fair, I need to tell you that my mother never said anything to me about cleaning my plate.  She would be very mad at me if I let you think that.  She never told me to clean my plate.  I do remember reading a Dennis the Menace cartoon (or maybe it was Family Circus) where the mom told the child to clean his plate because there were starving kids in Africa (or somewhere).  The child answers, "Can't we just send them this stuff?" 

I didn't get the joke.  To me it was a serious question -- if there were starving kids in Africa, what did the food on my plate have to do with it?  Why would my eating more help starving kids?  Of course, I knew we couldn't actually mail my dinner to them because it would go bad, but how would my eating it help them?

Now, I finally do understand that there is more than one answer to this question.  First, we should be grateful for what we have, and second we should not take more than we need so that there will be enough for everyone.  Still, I think this logic is awful tangential when likened to the food on my plate.  I guess at my age, I still don't understand that very well.

So ... I think it should be your turn now.  What puzzle took you way (embarrasingly) too long to figure out?  Post your answer in the comments below.  Don't make me call you out individually, 'cause I will. ;-)


Dazee Dreamer May 26, 2010 at 9:30 AM  

Flowers in the Attic was a sad book. That is kind of funny that your mom would have you read it. hmmm, makes you wonder huh.

Karin Kysilka May 28, 2010 at 10:12 AM  

She and I have talked about it many times. She actually had some pretty legitimate reasons. After all, I read books about plagues and medical dramas, so why not this? After all, it kept me away from Valley of the Horses, right? ;)

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