It's incredible some of the preposterous things that grown-ups still believe to be true. Try not to facepalm as you read these outrageous stories of ignorance at its finest.
1. That's A Load Of Gas
When I was a kid, my dad told me that the grades noted on gasoline pumps indicated the year they were made. He's a smart guy so I thought he was serious. So from then on I always thought that was what gas grades meant.
Fast forward to when I was 25, I asked my boyfriend what year of gas he wanted in his car. He thought I was messing with him. When he realized I was serious, his jaw dropped. That's when I finally learned the truth. My dad doesn't recall telling me that lie ever, but thinks it's hilarious he trolled me for a good 15 years.
2. Childproof For Life
I’m going to start by saying that my daughter is insanely smart. She graduated high school almost a full year early and also will be graduating college early. She’s also usually very quick-witted. I'm not bragging, just giving the story context. Not long after she turned 18, she developed a headache and decided to take some Tylenol.
She struggled, as usual, with the childproof cap. This time though, she got super frustrated. She kind of barked out, "What the heck! I thought it would work now!" I was intrigued, so I asked, "You thought what would work now?" She sighed and looked at me with these wide eyes. Nothing could have prepared me for her response.
She said, "Well, I’m 18 now. I’m no longer a child. So why isn’t it opening?" I had to take a beat, wondering if it would click to her what she just said. It didn’t, and I started cracking up. After a few minutes, I collected myself and explained that’s not at all how those caps work.
She was legit shocked by the information and explained how she thought it had worked. She had been running around her entire life thinking there was a microchip or something in these childproof caps that could somehow identify when the opener was under/over 18.
After that, we looked at each other for a minute, and then both started laughing hysterically till we were in tears. It’s still one of our favorite stories to retell.
3. That Sounds Ridiculous
When we were kids, I told my brother that motorcycles are named after the sound they make. For instance, Kawasaki makes a sound like: "COWWWW AAAAAAAH SAAAAAA KKEEEEEEEEEEEEEE".
About a month ago, I got a call from him—and he blamed me for making him look stupid. When he told me what happened, I burst into laughter. Apparently, he was at a bar telling people this, and making the sounds loudly to try and convince people that it was true, so that they could hear the resemblance.
So he was at the bar yelling: "SOOOOOOOZOOOOOOKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" to a bunch of hot girls who laughed at him and proved him wrong via their phone.
He's 28 years old.
4. Wake Up And Smell The Coffee
My Geography 101 course was being taught by a PhD candidate. We were learning about climates and the subject of coffee-growing regions came up. He went on about the best coffees around the world. I noted that my favorite coffee at the time was Kona, from Hawaii. His response annoyed me so much.
He went on a long, one-sided argument about how Hawaii can't grow coffee trees due to the need for a high-altitude, subtropical climate. My argument was that there is Kona coffee, which is well-known. He dismissed me in front of the class.
5. You're So Gullible
My dad is one of 13 children. Two of my uncles are the biggest pranksters imaginable, while my youngest aunt might be the most gullible person I've ever met.
Around the time my aunt was nine, my two uncles were about 12 and 13 respectively. A third uncle, "Steve," was and always has been a pretty serious guy. One day after losing a hockey game, he came home pretty upset. My aunt wondered what the matter was. That's when my two uncles decided to do the greatest thing ever.
They told her that during the game, Steve accidentally hit another kid with the puck so hard that he lost his life. They told her that she could never bring it up because Steve couldn't stand to think about it. Fast forward 30+ years. In 2009, my aunt was at a family gathering.
After a few too many, the gullible aunt slammed her fist down on the table and said, "I am sick of this. Why don't we ever talk about that kid that Steve put down during hockey practice?"
After a while of explaining, it became apparent that my aunt believed for the majority of her life that her brother had knocked off a kid. The best part? After questioning my uncles about the prank, they just replied, "Holy cow, we forgot about that!"
6. It's Bean Done Before
When I was 23, I had shocking revelation. I found out that my mom didn't invent green bean casserole. I thought it was her own secret recipe. My girlfriend couldn't stop laughing at me after I described it and said I'd try to find out how to make it—then she showed me the side of a can of soup.
7. People Eat That?
My neighbor is in her mid-40s and I've known her my entire 22 years of life. Unfortunately, she isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. She believes that eggs do not come from chickens but are manufactured by humans and machines in factories.
One day we passed a sign on the side of the road that read, "1 dozen chicken eggs - $1" and she made a noticeable "Ugh" of disgust.
Puzzled, my mom asked, "Why 'ugh?'" We weren't prepared for her response.
My neighbor said, "I can't believe people actually eat chicken eggs".
Then my mom replied, “You eat eggs all the time..."
"Those are the white eggs—from the factories, not the brown ones from chickens," she snapped.
We spent the next half hour in the car trying to convince her that eggs were not manufactured. I still don't think she was convinced.
8. Not Smarter Than A Five-Year-Old
My mother, girlfriend, sister, sister-in-law, and niece were all out shopping together. My niece who was almost five years old hid in a rack of clothes. While laughing from inside, she said, “Look Auntie, I'm incognito!"
When asked if she even understood what she said, my niece responded, "Yeah, I'm blending in!" They were all impressed. So they decided to see if my girlfriend was up to par with my niece's vocabulary. So they asked her what incognito meant. Her response was priceless: "Isn't that one of the X-Men"?
9. An Embarrassing Discovery
We were at an aquarium for our 6th-grade field trip. My mom came as well. Little did I know, I was in for a big laugh. When we passed by the seahorse tank, she gasped and exclaimed "BLOODY HECK! SEAHORSES ARE REAL!?!?!?! " Needless to say, it was embarrassing.
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10. Role Confusion
When my cousin discovered she was pregnant, her sister was over the moon. She told everyone how excited she was, even though she didn't know if she was going to be an aunt or uncle. I almost facepalmed right there. She didn't know that the baby's gender didn't define her role and a few of us had to explain it to her.
By the way, she's a teacher.
11. You're Over-Reacting
My friend believes that depression doesn't actually exist and that weak people just overreact when they can't handle the stress and are just trying to get attention. But here's the messed up part: She's studying to be a therapist. What she believes is the exact opposite of what a LOT of professionals are trying to de-stigmatize.
12. You're So Wrong
An ex's friend could not believe that there were undersea cables carrying communications. "What, are you dumb? There's no bloody way there are cables under the water! It's all satellites!" But that wasn't even the best part.
The guy was in his third year of studying engineering. He didn't even apologize when he googled it and discovered that he was wrong.
I guess he never wondered how telegraph messages or phone calls got to other continents in the many decades before satellites.
13. Strangest Belief
Unfortunately, I dated my co-worker and he ended up being the dumbest person in the WORLD (I'm not exaggerating). At the age of 29, he believed that you didn't grow facial hair until after you shave the first time. He believed this because when he was 14, he shaved off his peach fuzz and within a year he had stubble.
His explanation was the best part: “The body doesn't get the signal to produce whiskers until you've cut the regular baby hairs you're born with. It's the same thing that keeps babies mostly bald until their first haircut”. I said, “Then why don't I have beard hairs on my legs?"
He just blinked and said, “I wouldn't have hair at all if I'd never started shaving”.
14. It Can't Bee
My neighbors have two large apiaries. One day while driving by, my wife saw the cloud of bees over the hives and casually commented that the bees had all gotten out and how were our neighbors going to get them all back in?
Now, my wife is a smart woman. There are like, two or maybe three things like this that I have ever stumbled across. Holes in her knowledge that I tease her about mercilessly. How are they going to get the bees back in? Awesome.
15. Gaps In Your Knowledge
Today, in COLLEGE French class we were talking about how pronunciation changes when the next word begins with a vowel. Nothing could have prepared me for what the girl next to me said in response: "I need to learn my vowels, haha... like D is a vowel, right?"
I swear on my mother's future grave I'm not making this up.
16. Itchy Situation
My brother-in-law told my sister that he couldn't understand why people thought herpes was such a big deal. He said, "I mean, it goes away after seven years". Seeing my sister's confusion, he said, "The seven-year itch".
17. Misguided Tour Guide
I once worked with my pilot buddy giving flying tours in the Rockies. Being an ex-geologist, I explained to him how most of the rocks in the surrounding mountains were limestone, meaning it was deposited at the bottom of the ocean. Therefore, all the material making up the surrounding mountains was once at the bottom of the sea before being thrust up into North America.
Well, he must have glossed over that last bit. Later, I found out what he had been telling people, and I cackled: He was explaining to tourists that since all these mountains were once underwater, it meant that all the places they came from (UK, Australia) used to be under the ocean too since the sea level was SO high!
It took way too long to make him understand that the rocks weren't in their present location when they were underwater. I'm still not sure whether he clued in or just stopped caring.
18. Shocking Belief
My father worked in a warehouse when I was five years old. On one memorable day, I tagged along with him while he went to go pick up his paycheck. He pointed out the large fans on the ceiling and said they were so powerful they'd suck someone as light as me up if I didn't hold onto him. I accepted this as blind fact and never thought of it again.
Then when I was 13 years old, I was in the car with my mom when it suddenly hit me. I actually said out loud, “Mom, Dad LIED to me!" Then I facepalmed myself for being shocked at finally realizing this after so many years. Without missing a beat my mom said, “Finally found out he didn't really lose his hair from licking a battery, did you?"
I facepalmed twice in one day.
19. Thief In The Sky
When I was little, my grandma tried to calm my fear of thunder by telling me it was a "tater wagon (potato wagon) rolling across the sky". Since I had no frame of reference for what a potato wagon was, my child brain decided she was saying "tater dragon".
So up until I was old enough to actually learn about weather and storms, I thought there was a huge dragon who flew around during bad weather, stealing potatoes.
20. Huge Discovery
I am a 21-year-old male with above-average intelligence and I just learned that narwhals are NOT mythical creatures. I guess I had always assumed they were just a seafaring unicorn somebody made up as a joke. At this point, I had only ever seen them in animated and hand-drawn forms.
So, I'm watching Frozen Planet with all my roommates, friends, and my fiancee when they showed narwhals on the program. My mind was totally blown away. I jumped out of my chair thinking that the Discovery Channel film crew had made some huge scientific discovery. I regretted my outburst immediately.
Two weeks later and they are still ridiculing me about those large-toothed whales—there is no end in sight...
21. Not Again
In Vietnam, a guy that I was in the same squad with went on leave. He traveled to Saigon and ended up having a fling with a Vietnamese girl. Unfortunately, he picked up something from her and it was causing him a lot of irritation down there. His solution was idiotic.
The dummy got a can of bug spray and sprayed the entire area. Needless to say it burned him and became so raw he was hospitalized for six days. However, when he got out of the hospital, he went back to the same girl and got infected again. He was not the brightest bulb we had in the squadron.
22. Geography Challenge
I moved from Florida to Michigan with my family. In my first year at school in Michigan, we were talking about geography and the definition of peninsulas came up. I mentioned that Florida is a peninsula, and everyone in the class, including the teacher, laughed at me and told me that Florida was not a peninsula. When I insisted, they just laughed even more.
It's called the bloody Florida Peninsula.
23. By The Gods Of Olympus!
About 13 years ago, my uncle was in a shop in Washington state that bordered WA-ID. He way trying to use a check to pay for something. The lady asked where he was from because they couldn't take out-of-state checks. He said Olympia. "Oh sorry, we can't take out-of-country checks".
It took him a second before he realized that she thought he was from Olympia, Greece. That's when he cracked a smile and repeated, "Olympia—as in the capital of this state, not the one in Greece".
She had to call over a manager because obviously, the capital of Washington is Seattle—just like the capital of Oregon is Portland, New York is NYC, and California is LA. It's slightly sad when you don't know capitals or geography, but it's a bit of a double facepalm moment if you don't know the capital of your own bloody state.
24. Sea Of Ignorance
My 22-year-old girlfriend just went on vacation in Florida and went to a sea turtle rescue. She was looking at the baby turtles and asked one of the handlers if he could take the turtle out of its shell so she could see what it looked like. The guy just gave her a blank stare.
Then he politely informed her that turtles can't come out of their shells because that will be the end of them. But my girlfriend's stupidity knew no bounds. On that same vacation, she excitedly texted me that they were going out on a boat to fish for freshwater tuna.
I said, "You mean saltwater tuna" to which she replied, "Oh yeah—wait, what's freshwater then?"
25. All In A Name
My 9th grade English teacher tried to suspend me for not saying "debris" the correct way...even though she was the one saying it wrong all along.
She claimed it was pronounced "de-briss". So she sent me down to the principal's office with a note saying that I "willfully disagreed with her and should be suspended for disrespecting an elder".
The principal, who was already a pretty cool guy, had me sort mail for an hour. But don't worry: Karma came for her in the end. When the hour was almost up, we went back to the classroom.
He interrupted her lecture on whatever it was we were studying and calmly said to her, “The word is pronounced the way he said it. Not 'de-briss'. Please remember this next time, and if you want, you can excuse yourself from this school for a week instead of your student getting suspended for a week”.
She was absolutely mortified. To this day when kids who were in that class run into her, they call her Miss, or Mrs Debriss.
26. Absurd Claims
I worked with a lady who actually believed that the "natural world" did not contain any toxins or poisons, and that the only toxins were "man-made".
I tried to explain that this wasn't true by using simple examples like heavy metals, poisonous plants, etc. but she remained staunch in her complete scientific illiteracy. She was completely unwilling to learn and listen to even the simplest concepts. She was a "true believer" in her absurd claims and no amount of information, discussion, or reasoning was going to sway her.
27. Scientific Ignorance
In the late 80s, my dad's friends—who were in their late teens/early 20s—were talking about the hole in the ozone layer. His friend jumps in and says, "It's no wonder there's a hole in it with all the rockets and shuttles they've shot through it”. She was totally serious. They asked her to repeat it, hoping that she was joking.
They cracked up when they realized she truly believed that.
28. It's Not My Fault
I live on the East Coast. A while back, right before I embarked on a school trip to Canada, my mother asked me what kind of transportation I'd be taking: “By bus? Wouldn't it take a while?" I said, “Yes, about eight hours," but she thought it would be more like 15.
This was due to the fact that she honestly believed Canada started at the West coast and stopped somewhere around North Dakota, and that I would have to go cross-country, and then up to Canada. I had to get an atlas out to convince her otherwise. Her respose was priceless.
She said, "It's not my fault, I was taught by nuns".
29. What A Cool Question—Not
I saw a Facebook screenshot where the author was wondering something along the lines of "If shooting stars are coming to Earth, why don't they disappear from the sky?"
I facepalmed and my 29-year-old coworker asked what was wrong. When I read the quote to her, she cocked her head to the side and said in a completely serious tone, "Man, that's a really good question!"
Then I had to explain what meteorites were, starting pretty much at "Let me tell you about this thing called space..."
Good god people. Seriously.
30. You're Dreaming
I'll never forget when my roommate regaled us with a retelling of her dream where she'd been "napped". We all gave her a funny look so she explained that she was taken from her house. So we corrected her saying, "You mean kidnapped?" I kinda knew what her answer was going to be, but it was still amazing: "Yeah, but I'm not a kid".
31. Not The Brightest Star
A friend of mine, a medical student at that, was somehow under the impression that the sun is visible at night as the brightest star in the night sky. I had to explain to her that the sun isn't visible at night because it's on the other side of the earth, and that's the whole idea of night.
I have no clue how more than a quarter of a century of education managed to lead up to her having that impression.
32. Granny, You're So Wrong
My grandmother had a WILD belief. She thought that if you kept cooked rice for long enough, it would spontaneously transform into maggots. She was incredulous when I tried to explain otherwise, and wanted to know how I could be so sure.
33. The Truth Stuns
I had an otherwise very intelligent high school English teacher admit to the class that up until she was in her early twenties, she thought that unicorns lived in New Zealand. Apparently, that's what her parents told her as a kid. Well, she was in for a big surprise.
She found out the hard truth at a dinner—with her friends who were teachers.
34. Here's How They Work
When I was eight or nine years old, I was riding to the store with my mom, who happens to be a teacher. I mentioned that I needed batteries for something that could either plug into the wall or use batteries. I told her that I needed electricity away from the wall.
She said that batteries didn't have electricity and that they ran stuff on some completely separate force and that electricity only came from plugs. I argued with her for a while, and at the end, she sarcastically said, "Why would I know? I didn't study electrical engineering". My dad is an electrical engineer.
35. A Baffling Concept
My Hungarian grandma—as do all people of that age in Hungary—swears by this. In the summertime when it's super hot outside, all the windows and doors must be shut at all times, lest there be a "huzat," meaning cross-air flow. Yet no one has air conditioning.
If you ever hear about deaths in Europe due to heat waves, I'm pretty sure the majority of those are people who are like my grandma and just die from overheated houses where air currents are kept down.
36. I Kid You Not
I was once talking to someone who was afraid of those "How many squares do you see?" puzzles. Her reason why was so bizarre. She thought that you could "go too deep" and it would damage your eyes and make you blind. I wish I was kidding.
37. Chemistry 101
I was in a lab with my group doing an elementary chemistry experiment during my freshman year in college. A girl in our group got very concerned for our safety when water started boiling and exclaimed, "DON'T BREATHE THAT IN—IT IS HYDROGEN!"
Apparently, she did not understand basic states of matter.
38. Beyond Gullible
When they were kids, my friend told his gullible, older sister that marshmallows came from trees—mallow trees—in the marshes.
He never told her that he was joking and she believed this well into adulthood.
39. Not Accurate At All
In elementary school, I had an eye-opening conversation with my friend about space travel. She began to tell me how amazing it was that we broke through a solid layer of earth so quickly when launching. I was confused and began to explain to her that the atmosphere isn't solid. She was stubborn and wouldn't budge on her argument.
Then suddenly, I realized what she was saying: She thought that we lived inside the earth. She even drew me a diagram to explain which consisted of a circle with stick people walking along the inside perimeter. When she thought I didn't understand, she said, “You know, like a Wonderball”.
She was so surprised to learn that we actually walk on the outside surface of the earth. She also thought gravity was like those carnival rides where you stick to the wall which is at least more accurate.
40. Oh, Roy
The dumbest guy I ever knew was Roy. Roy was raised in a remote MN town in the 1950’s. He had an absolutely repulsive character. He was the kind that would laugh at his own joke the moment it left his mouth. More likely than not, the joke would involve poop, and most likely it will be at least the fifth time he'd told it.
Roy’s only apparent skill was being able to drive a truck, and for most of his life, he worked alone, driving a logging truck. He was a good worker, just incredibly hard to be near.
I still feel sorry for him, I really do. I think, had he learned some social grace, he might have one day owned his own truck, maybe even his own business. As logging was huge in his day, he might have pulled it off with some help. He was terribly undereducated and gullible.
Thank goodness Roy is near retirement. If he were to start out life the way he is now, he would surely be destitute and homeless.
41. Face Palm Moment
My wife, who was 26 years old at the time, saw a video of a car engine exploding and was shocked that it could do so. I jokingly said, "Well—it is a combustion engine".
I got a confused look, then spent over an hour teaching her about how engines work. She assumed engines generated power by passing gasoline through it like a water mill. She blank-faced when I asked why wouldn't we just use water, and where does it then go, and wouldn't one tank last forever?
42. We're Done
The girl I was seeing used to complain about all her weird customers. She always said that so many of them said the wildest things and had the craziest beliefs.
We were having a perfectly good time until I got to one of mine, and said, "Sweet, merciful Judas. People who complain about evolution being taught in schools are almost as bad as the people who think that the earth is only a few thousand years old". She got quiet and I immediately realized why.
Then I said, "So—if you don't believe in evolution, then what?"
"Oh, I believe in evolution, but I think God put us here and we have evolved slightly since then," she uttered.
Okay, whatever. One thing is okay, and eventually in school—she planned on becoming a veterinarian—she'll have to give in a bit.
"Okay, that's reasonable," I only said that because she was cute, ”but what about the age of the earth?"
“I don't think there's proof that it's older".
Aaand—we're done here.
43. What An Eye-Opener
I didn't know pickles were made from cucumbers until my mid-20s. I thought they were two completely different vegetables and pickles were the pickled version of that vegetable. What an illuminating trip to the Gedney factory that was.
44. Try Not To Giggle
This morning at breakfast, my best friend—who is truly an intelligent woman—said something so dumb, I still can't believe it. She explained to me that the percentages on milk cartons indicate how much of the content is actually milk. So 2%, for example, meant that 2% of the carton was milk, and 98% of it contained other liquids, such as water.
I just smiled and nodded throughout her lecture and then calmly, through a tremendous giggle fit, corrected her.
45. Fairy Tale Belief
Up until the age of 21 or 22, I believed a hermit was a reclusive person who lived in a tree. Not in a treehouse, mind you, which might have been somewhat more plausible, but the hollowed-out bark of a tree. I imagined them living in the woods, in gigantic trees with a small door in the bark and no windows.
It must have been something I read as a child in a fairy tale. All I can say is that I was laughed at a lot when this somehow once came up in conversation and I innocently started talking about this theory. I have no idea what I was thinking either...
46. New Discoveries
My neighbor who lives downstairs is from India. He has been in the United States for 16 years now. He is a developer for a large corporation and makes a very good yearly income. We're good friends and we talk from time to time about life. When we talk about religion, however, I always discover something new that he has no clue about.
He once asked me why, if I believed in dinosaurs did I not then believe in God. He has also made the same remarks about galaxies after I told him that billions of galaxies exist.
Today, I informed him that the gas that powers his car comes from decomposed plants and animals from hundreds of millions of years ago. He had a good laugh and then told me that I will believe anything.
47. We Can Make An Exception
Back in the mid-90s, I was trying to purchase a part that was difficult to find for a customer of mine. I finally found a place in New Jersey that had it. When I told the woman on the phone that I needed it shipped to New Mexico, she informed me that they didn't ship out of the country. I said not OLD Mexico—NEW Mexico. She countered with, “Yes, but it's still MEXICO and we only ship inside the United States”.
After a face-palm moment, I spent some time explaining that New Mexico was indeed a state, where it was located, and so on. Even after that, she said, "I've never heard of it before and I can't see why they would name a state after another country". I guess the fact that she was in a state named after part of another country escaped her.
I asked her to just check with someone else in the office. So she put me on hold for a while. But the very best part came last: When she got back on the phone she sheepishly said, "I was told that we can make an exception to our shipping policy for this order".
48. Now That's Ditzy
A close yet ditzy friend of mine once proclaimed that she didn't understand how being a weather reporter could be a job since it was so easy.
After a bit of questioning, it turns out that she thought that the weather was the same every year regardless of the actual year. So if it was sunny on the third of June, then it would be sunny on every subsequent third of June after that. She had also been using this method as a way to decide when to go on holidays. I miss that girl.
49. Decode This
My 23-year-old girlfriend had no idea what Roman numerals were. She was designing a poster for an event I was hosting and asked me, “What's the code for this one”?
It took me a while to figure out she was talking about the event number at the bottom of all of our posters. I tried to explain how Roman numerals work and she just said she knew what they were and refused to talk about it—until she asked what the code was again...
50. One Giant Misconception
I got into a conversation with one of the office secretaries who happens to be married to my boss. I made a comment about being grateful for the weather we had on this continent. She asked what I meant, so I explained mistakenly thinking that she was confused about the continent's weather. Nope, she didn't know what a continent was. She didn't in fact know that the continents were separated. She was in her mid-30s and believed that we lived on one giant land mass.
51. Check, Please
There was this girl I was "chasing after" for about three months. I didn't know her name and never saw her again around campus. Then after the third month, I saw her again and asked her out.
I was a physics student and I was telling her about the cool stuff we learned in planetary physics. She said, and I quote: "How wonderful God is. He made the sun rotate the earth, in a perfect circle".
I laughed as if it was a joke. She was truly serious. I asked for the check and left.
52. Here's What's Really Going On
This girl I used to work with thought that we should stop boiling water altogether because it was going to one day "burn up the world's water supply".
I didn't really understand what she meant by that so I asked her to explain it to me as if I were an idiot. She explained that the steam that comes off of water is like the fire that would come off wood, destroying the water until it eventually "burns away", never to return.
With as much respect as I could conjure, I explained what was really going on and her reply was, "I don't think that's right so I'll have to read up on it when I get home". I really hope she did.
53. Birds Of A Feather...
I work in a restaurant and we don't always hire the best and brightest—but this girl took the cake.
Now, this girl had already "locked" herself in a cooler—one that you push the door to get out of—so my expectations weren't high. But she still managed to top herself.
When discussing prep for the day, I was complaining about running out of chicken. She said something to the effect of "just use the turkey". I told her that it's not right to use a different meat and not tell the customer. Her reply was "Chicken and turkey come from the same animal".
I didn't even take the time to explain it to her. I don't even want to know where she thinks we get bacon from.