When I was a little girl, I went to Catholic school. We talked a lot about Heaven and Hell in those days, but we also talked about this place called Purgatory. I assumed Purgatory was for medium people like me, people who sometimes stole cookies but would never kill anybody. I thought Purgatory was like living in an apartment building with no air conditioning or something; a little crappy, but not as bad as Hell. Such is the reasoning of a child, and this viral Twitter thread about things kids misunderstand appeals to that kid in me who was just hoping to make it to Purgatory.
Kids are notoriously hilarious when it comes to world views. Always a little wrong and sort of belligerent in their wrongness, stubbornly clinging to their own ideas of how the world works. A little like a certain president who shall remain nameless, only adorable and not dangerous. As a sort of impromptu celebration of this, Jennifer Wright, a writer for Harper's Bazaar, tweeted one of her favorite childhood misunderstandings on Thursday. She noted that she believed as a child that "adultery" meant you were pretending to be an adult, and I'm not 100 percent sure that she was wrong.
Wright's invitation to share memories of the weirdest things they misunderstood did not go unanswered. And honestly, it's probably my favorite thing happening on the internet right now. Which is saying a lot (dancing baby videos still exist, obviously). Especially when she added her second admission, which was a doozy:
I also thought clowns were born looking that way. I'd been told it was VERY RUDE to point or laugh at anyone who looked different, so at kindergarten birthdays I would gaze at them with respectful solemnity, like a little Queen Victoria. I think if no one had told me I'd have been about three years away from writing something for my school newsletter about how WRONG it was that we were forcing these beautiful individuals to perform for our amusement and CHUCKLES.
Some people remember really needing to believe in magic, especially birthday magic (thanks a lot for filling us with unrealistic expectations, cartoons).
I believe cartoons can also be blamed for our collective assumption that inanimate objects have a secret, thriving emotional life. Like cutlery, according to this thoughtful tweeter:
The belief that cutlery has a secret life inside their drawer, which is also sort of a terrifying thought, was shared by more than one person. And this tweeter pointed the finger at one culprit... The Brave Little Toaster.
For the record, I genuinely thought quick sand would be a much more serious problem in my life than it's been because of Bugs Bunny and reruns of Gilligan's Island.
Other people also struggled to figure out what was real and what wasn't. Like unicorns and seahorses.
Then there was that whole Pennsylvania/Transylvania thing... one place is full of beautiful rolling hills, the other is full of vampires. Tough to tell the difference.
And then there's the whole drinking and driving thing. Sure, we now understand that you can't have an alcoholic drink and then drive, but maybe people should have explained that to the poor, confused children.
As far as this tweet goes... I'm just going to leave it right here and let it speak for itself.
This is my favorite thing about kids, and also about remembering being a kid myself. The world is full of confusing wonder, and you still get to define everything yourself. Erroneously, in most cases, but I feel like that's part of the fun of growing up. Believing in magic, until the world slowly destroys your misconceptions.