I Used to Believe

What silly notions did you believe as a kid?  Here is a long list, supplied by volunteers, look to the left for extra links.  Here is one good example of many:

I believed that Girl Scouts could arrest people as the police could, and that Boy Scouts could go to war.

I used to believe that it was the wedding ring which somehow caused children to come (really, and yes I was worried about what this meant for traditional scientific theories of causality).  I also used to believe that a baseball shortstop had to be short, and that dealing with adult life — just the simple mechanics of paying bills and the like — would prove immensely complicated and perhaps beyond my capabilities.

I used to claim — but not believe — that my invisible friend Bing Bing lived under the refrigerator.

The pointer is from the always interesting www.geekpress.com.

What did you once believe?


I believed there was a different Pope in every country. I live in Italy.

I believed that police and firemen didn't have to eat, possesing superhuman abilities. You can imagine my shock when I first saw two police in a Burger King.

I believed that it was incredibly difficult to drive. Making big turns and stopping was doable, but watching my parents constantly making the tiny adjustments with the steering wheel to track the lane seemed unbelievably complicated.

I believed that at some point, girls turned into boys and boys turned into girls. It was a completely logical deduction, based on conversations I'd been present for, but I can't remember the evidence.

I thought things were called "chester drawers", and that if the "worst came to worst", things would still turn out ok.

I believed that the world was once black and white. It sort of made sense because all the old movies and TV shows I saw were black and white.

I used to believe in an all-powerful Keynesian economics. I've since
learned it takes a little of this, a little of that, etc.

I believed that airports were just a bureaucratic procedure; you drove there, got on the plane, flew around in circles for a few hours, touched down at a different gate of the same airport, then just drove to your destination.

I believed for a very long time that girls never went to the bathroom.

I had a modified version of that belief; for much of my childhood I thought that only boys went, you know, Number Two.

I thought that somehow babies came directly out of women's bellies, and I was perplexed at how this could happen since there weren't any openings to allow this. Later I found out there were openings. So, I also thought that boys had something down below while girls had nothing.

I used to believe that an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly just being created the universe, was watching over all of us, and would let some of us hang out with him after we died.

I thought computer bytes refered to some jawlike mechanism inside a computer that would clamp down on floppy disks in order to read them.

I was so convinced of the evil of drinking and driving that I'd yell at anybody in a car with a can of coke.

I believed that a red-coated "Mountie" from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would come to the candy store on my block in Brooklyn to collect all the Canadian coins kids covertly used as part of their candy money.

JC, I'm sorry I missed that you said the same thing about the world being in black and white. Glad I'm not alone!

After the 1976 election, when Carter didn't become president the next day I thought he and Ford must have tied and agreed to split the next presidential term.

I also believed that Presidents never cried, so the whole Carter administration was a big surprise for me.

For many years after that, I believed that evidence and reason played a role in Congressional decisionmaking.

I used to believe that at the bank you got back the exact same bills you had deposited there originally, they were just storing them (like in your own personal drawer).

That peanut butter came from the inside of sticks.

This isn't mine, but I think it's hilarious:

I was travelling with my Dad in the car one day when I saw him throw an apple core out the window. Thinking this was cool I threw my packet of chips out the window as well. Dad then yelled at me about how it was bad to litter, so when I told him I saw him do it, he simply said "it's different, it's biodegradeable". For years afterwards when my sister and I weren't allowed to stay up and watch TV with Mum and Dad I would tell her "It's biodegradeable" as I thought that meant something adults were allowed to do but not kids.

--Pat (from language : speaking)

When my teacher would say, "so and so says this or so and so says that" that she was actually telling me "sew and sew" and that she was thus speaking complete gibberish. That one I believed for years, actually.

I used to believe that babies were born with clothes on.

I thought that television programs were in stasis when I turned
off the TV. So, that I could turn it off, go eat, then when I
came back to the Tv after lunch, my program would be waiting
patiently for me.

I cried when Ali lost to Spinks (though I was from St. Louis!),
thinking he was truly a hero with superhuman powers. To me that
day, Evil triumphed over Good. But in this case, I was right.

I used to believe as a child that I was living the same life again and again.

When talking about local property taxes, I thought people were saying "raidables". It turns out that it's true after all :)

I've got to confess to the "Chariots of the Gods" thing as well. Luckily I learned about logic and argument, and how to really assess these claims for myself. (Which is why I think Mythbusters is a great TV show)

I had serious fact-fiction problems, especially when it came to material in books that appeared to be written as fact. Since I was a child in the 70s, that meant that I believed a lot of Hal Lindsay biblical prophecy as well as a lot of New Agey Atlantis / Chariot of the Gods stuff as well as in Santa Claus-- my ability to read and my interest in devouring books wildly outstripped the development of any critical judgment. I just figured the world was a complicated place where the science I read about in the encyclopedia coexisted with the Antichrist taking over the EEC and spaceships that taught peopl ehow to build pyramids.

F'r'instance, I took maps of human migration patterns at different times (e.g. out of Africa, across the Bering land bridge) and tried to work out a theory of the dispersal of Yetis and Sasquatches as evolutionary missing links along the same maps.

Also: I thought that Grease and West Side Story showed that in the 1950s people spontaneously broke into song more often; and I thought that expressions such as "olden days" and "good old days" must denote specific times, just like "The Middle Ages" or "the 20s".

Pragmatist, I also used to believe that Jesus was born on Christmas day and died about four months later on Good Friday!

In addition, I believed:

that urine was a strand (as opposed to a stream). I remember being surprised one day when my forefinger slipped into the stream and I suddenly realized that urine is liquid, with the same consistency as water.

that pop singers were actually espousing their owns opinions and feelings when they sang. For instance, it was hypocritical for someone to sing "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" and then sing "It Must Be Him."

that women delivered children out of their mouths. (Where else could they possibly come out?)

My most embarrassing adult belief was that when someone appealed from a court ruling or verdict, he got an entirely new trial by a different court. And that Nairobi was a country.

That it didn't matter if you looked in the closet or under the bed, Dracula could come through the floor boards in a gaseous state.

That a mugger was some kind of crazy animal/teenager.

I believed that when you crossed the border and changed states or countries, the color of landscape would change, just like on full color maps.

My dad also had be believing for a while that chocolate milk can from the black / brown colored cows.

A junkie was someone who ate too much junk food.

I remember sitting on the school bus in Kindergarten on a field trip patiently explaining to my friend that all babies were born with male parts. I thought that girl’s p*nises became v*ginas by turning inside out after a year or so of age. I have no idea where I came up with this, but I believed it 100%.

I made fun of a bunch of kids in my 2nd grade class for believing in Santa Claus. We hotly debated the topic. I closed my arguments by stating that Santa Claus was about as real as a $2 bill. This turned out to be a poor strategy, since (unbeknownst to me) $2 bills did in fact exist.

Also, there were several occasions in which I confused dreams with reality. For example, I have a few childhood memories that I now realize must have been dreams. But at the time, I thought they’d really happened to me.

I used to think there was some kind of direct hierarchy going from me, to my dad, to my dad's boss, to his boss's boss, on and on until you got to the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God.

I thought the taboo against swearing applied only to children (in all contexts), and that it was socially acceptable for adults to swear in pretty much any circumstance. I got this idea from father, who was a pretty jovial guy, but swore like a sailor all day and in all situations. Of course years later, I've often learned the hard way that it is highly frowned upon for adults to swear in certain contexts, most especially around children. I know better now, though often I don't remember until someone gives me a dirty look. I suppose I was actually correct in my underlying assumption, that swearing isn't actually harmful, insofar as the only consequence of my father swearing around me as a child is that I'm frequently unhesitant to swear around children.

I used to believe that all women will have children when they reach certain age.(without any one's help)

I was pretty certain that doing things with girls who had no clothes on was really neat,
but I had no real idea how that was going to happen, so I tried to figure it out with
some (now) hilarious results. I was really clueless.

I used to believe that having sex caused AIDS. I didn't understand that it was a virus, and that your sex partner had to have it to pass it to you. I thought it was just a disease that spontaneously appeared in certain people who had a lot of sex. I didn't understand the whole virus thing until 9th grade. It is worth noting that my parents didn't allow me to take sex ed in 7th grade, so I was in the library doing an independent study on spiders while everyone else in my class was learning these things.

I used to believe that a teacher who wrote P.L.O on the blackboard at school was a terrorist sympathiser.

I soon learned that P.L.O. in the educational context meant "Please Leave On".

I used to believe that there must be a lot of robots making things somewhere, because I couldn't conceive of there being enough people in the world that they would be able to do all the work.

The world used to not have color. This is well evidenced by all those old television shows and pictures in black & white.

I thought it was strange that people weren't more interested in talking to me about what the transition to color was like.

I once asked my older brother if boneless chicken is made by having a karate guy reach into the chicken really fast and pull out the bones. My brother said yes. That lasted a while.

Like another commenter, I thought dogs were boys and cats were girls.

I am not sure if I knew that "chester draws" is incorrect before I read this comment thread. I hope I have a few silly beliefs still unrealized.

I also thought "a BJ involved literal blowing."

Another one: that I could grow up to actually BE anything...I wanted to be a lion.

My parents never drank (in front of me). Therefore, I beleived that with one sip a person would become immediately and irreversibly addicted to alcohol, and the only remedy was weeks at a hospital.

That firemen started fires; after all, they were always wherever fires happened to be.

That there was nothing on the eastern side of "the Mountains" (ie, the Sierra Nevada) since I had never seen them. I figured it was some sort of Communist plot, since that was what my uncle said about anything unexplainable.

That there was some cool place called "the West" where John Wayne lived and you could see those interesting mesas. It took me awhile to deal with the idea that "the West" was east of us.

That Red Chinese were literally red. I actually drew pictures of red-faced Asians as a kid...

I thought those guys with the red tunics at the Tower of London fed bees, because they were called Bee-Feeders. Those bees,of course, made the honey for the queen's morning toast.

I saw signs along the highway which said "Speed Radar Controlled" so I figured cars had a radar reciever which adjusted how fast they went.

I was predisposed to believe a lot of the stuff which was going around in the early 70s, so it was fortunate that when I opened up Hal Lindsey's book at random the first time it came my way, I came upon his attempt to link the "fact" that WWI marked the end of 100 years of peace to some biblical prophecy. Knowing better, I tossed the whole book aside. I also somehow failed, unlike my siblings, to absorb my parents' leftwing worldview.

I also never believed that for every drop of rain a flower grows.

I know one person who use to think that some movies are in black and white, because they were made before color was invented - I'll let her know she's not alone. I know another person (Russian) who thought Lenin was her grandfather - and got in a fight with another girl who claimed the same.

It's good to see that others also believed that the world consisted of two colours, black and white, prior to about 1965. I remember thinking, 'how boring that must have been'!

I thought a B.J. was a kind of hair style produced by a blowdryer.

I used to believe that, because on black-and-white TV the outfield at Dodger Stadium was the same color as the playground at my elementary school, baseball parks were entirely paved with asphalt.

As for me, I once asked my mother how people got AIDS. She responded, "By being naughty." I was baffled trying to come up with a mechanism by which particular germs could enter my system only when I disobeyed my parents.

I used to see those a-frame construction warning signs, with the flashing lights, and think, "How do they get power to those lights?" I had this complicated idea about some guy carefully setting the sign down, and wires sprouting out the bottom of it to grow out like roots until they found a buried power line.

I remember very clearly the moment that I realized there was a simpler solution, several years later.

I remember thinking that the sign in my hometown that said that speed was enforced using radar, that there were little radars put throughout the town, hidden behind walls, houses, hills, etc., and that speeding in this town would surely get you caught. I know my parents never sped through town. Unlike on the highway, where police had to have a radar, they would just follow your speeding car based on the readings from these hidden sensors.

I was also in the "I thought driving was incredibly and terrifyingly complex." The only nightmares I can remember as a child were of finding myself in the drivers seat of the family car and not knowing what to do.

I believed my brother when he told me that if when you sleep, if your feet are all but straight up and down, then they would stay like that the rest of my life. (e.g. pigeon toed, etc.)

I remember thinking the moon was following me. I remember how if I was sitting in my car seat, it was always following the car, about 10 feet away, and about the size of a grapefruit.

A friend of mine once told me he remembered that, as well, but he was terrified of the moon, because it was so obviously powerful. His solution was to run into his house, where the moon never entered. He in fact didn't understand why, if the moon could follow him anywhere, it couldn't come through the door.

One time I missed a few days’ worth of school, probably because of a family trip or something. When I returned, everyone -- my teacher, other students, even my parents -- casually mentioned that, because of the time I missed at school, I’d have to take a “make-up test.†

This confused and terrified me. As a seven-year-old boy, I didn’t know anything about make-up. (I was sure I’d fail the test.) And why were they going to test me about make-up, of all things? And why was everyone so nonchalant about the matter?

I was sick with worry and panic for days.

I believed I was adopted by my parents when I was some 3 years old. I didn't remember a thing from before that, and the only logical explanation was that my parents had erased all my memories.

I also believed that there was a fairly large population of Yetis in the Himalayas, that they lived in caves and reared Yaks for a living.

Since I was born in a ceaserian section, I assumed all children came out that way. I was traumatized that they would cut open my mother's belly to take out my little brother.

When I first heard about evolution, I believed each *individual* human being evolved from a fish.

I thought a bank was a place where you stood in line every month and they gave you as much money as you needed that month. I thought the check-book was a fantastic invention.

I believed :

- That the word couple (as in "a couple of things") meant two OR three, on the basis that if one meant two things, they would use the word two.

- That the belly button was an orifice, used for gay sex (I didn't have much a graphic imagination)

- That strippers were necessarily nudists

- That music on the radio was rare, only used when the people working there had a cold (my parents were into talk/sports radio)

- That the singer would get tired of singing the same song over and over if I replayed the tape too many times

- That sleeping with my head at the foot of my bed would send more blood that way and make me smarter, specifically better at maths. I think I even read that one somewhere...

I used to believe that kissing brought children and the cars could be made to go backwards by subtlely touching the brake and the accelerator at the same time.

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