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Discovering Late in Life: People Share Lessons Learned Embarrassingly Late

As long as they’re innocent in nature, misunderstandings and misheard phrases that we believe for years can add a whole lot of humor to life. For example, my former stepbrother once misheard Lenny Kravitz’s cover song playing on a road trip and belted out, “A married woman, stay away from me!” from the backseat. (That’s definitely not the correct lyric, but it does make for a fair interpretation!)

With this concept in mind, we recently inquired with our audience about things they used to believe until very recently. Let’s explore some of their responses below.

“About a year ago, I came across a post discussing ‘icks’ and realized that I was unknowingly committing an ‘ick’: I now understand that the ‘l’ in ‘salmon’ is silent. Phew!” ― Dotun Akande, a visual artist and storyteller

“That a pony is a miniature horse.” ― Carrie R.

Ponies are not baby horses.

Julia Christe via Getty Images

Ponies are not young horses.

“The distinction between cicadas and tinnitus, and the fact that other people can’t hear tinnitus.” ― Dawn M.

“The realization that I don’t need to press ‘shift’ before and after capitalizing a letter on a standard keyboard.” ― Haley H.

“The importance of shaving your bikini line in the direction of hair growth, not against it, to avoid days of unbearable itching. I was 56.” ― Anonymous, a writer

“Mine was the discovery that ‘The Beatles’ is a play on words. They create music, so they ‘beat’ – that’s why it’s spelled that way! I had no clue until one day it clicked, ‘OHHHHHhhhh.’ It’s not the most brilliant pun, so I guess I wasn’t missing out on much.” ― Ryan North, a comic creator

The Beatles have a punny name.

Bettmann via Getty Images

The Beatles have a clever name.

“Learning how to pronounce ‘gyro.’ I was 39 and took my team out for dinner at a conference, and everyone was ordering it, but I couldn’t find it on the menu.” ― Kim P.

“The realization that I need to remove my tampon before urinating.” ― Hanna N.

“The Guinness World Records are located in Dublin.” ― Jennifer A.

“Growing up reading Archie comics, I thought ‘Reggie’ was short for ‘reggae’ with an ‘ie’ at the end. It wasn’t until discussing childhood memories with friends that I discovered it’s actually short for Reginald and rhymes with ‘veggie.’ I felt deceived!” ― Jennifer R.

“I recently discovered that spicy tuna is not a naturally occurring tuna.” ― Anonymous, a comedian

Spicy tuna are not born that way.

Spicy tuna isn’t born spicy.

“The revelation that underwear goes under, not over, pantyhose. I thought that’s how you kept them in place. I was 40!” ― Shelley M.

“Yesterday, I finally understood the joke about the chicken crossing the road. Apparently, ‘the other side’ refers to death because it got run over by a car. I took it literally.” ― Malefyt M.

“That ‘POW’ stands for ‘prisoners of war’ and ‘MIA’ for ‘missing in action.’ I used to read it as ‘pow Mia!’ like a name.” ― Betsy E.

“I recently learned the actual location of Alaska.” ― Fawnya Y.

“I was in my thirties when I realized that the ‘Santa’ in ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ was actually the dad. And I’m a romance writer!” ― Anonymous, a romance writer and educator

“Anime is not just about cartoon animals!” ― Christina V.

“Tapioca pudding is not made of fish eggs. My mom told us that to deter us from eating her pudding. I only found out the truth in my mid-20s.” ― Courtney A.

“You pronounce the ‘b’ in ‘subterfuge.’” ― Erin E.