They say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, and generally speaking, I subscribe to that notion. There are disingenuous questions, there are trick questions, there are bad-faith questions, but if you don’t know something, it’s really truly fine to ask.
Still, it can be surprising just how late in life certain people are asking some of these…
Ready to shake your head a lot? The people of Reddit have stories about ignorance on the following topics…
1. The sun.
I was watching a sunset at the beach with a friend when she asked me why the ocean doesn’t extinguish the sun when the sun goes under the water.
She was young, but an adult.
Had a short conversation about the sun, the earth, and the rotation of the earth.
Had someone tell me Australia and South Africa were the same country.
I’m from Australia originally, I told them this, they didn’t believe me.
3. The line of succession.
Some third graders I knew thought you could become President by killing the former one.
They thought John Wilkes Booth became President by shooting Lincoln.
Mid-twenty year old friend didn’t know you have to change the bag in a vacuum every once in a while
5. Birth control.
My coworkers think that birth control is still effective 5 years after you stop taking it/remove it, so I need to take mine out now unless I want to be an “old” mom.
I just turned 20.
My mother was in her 40’s when she learned the Civil War was NOT between North America and South America.
She looked at me and said “You mean we fought ourselves?” 🤦♀️
Two girls in front of me in line at a subway on my college campus (these were in fact college students mind you), one pointed at the veggie patties they have behind the glass counter and asked her friend what they were. This girl then said in a super southern accent, “Those are that vegan chicken right?”, and the other said “Yeah, turkey.” The first girl agreed and moved on. I’m still confused to this day.
Another was my friend in college who asked what language was spoken in Italy and guessed it was Spanish. We had to remind him Italian was a language.
8. Choking hazards.
When I lived with my old roommates. I was choking on some food, and immediately I started trying to cough and put my hands on my neck (universal choking sign).
They looked at me and stared blankly, asking, “What is it? Are you hot?” They’re in their 20s…
Unfortunately, I was the dumb one here. From the US, visiting a friend in France. She’d told me that stores close on Sunday. I thought I understood–yeah, so the department stores and stuff are closed, but of course necessities like groceries and pharmacies are open.
I needed to get something at the pharmacy, and asked if we could stop by one. She reminded me it was Sunday, and the pharmacy was closed. Cue bluescreen in my brain. But, they’re pharmacies. Surely not /everything/ is closed. “No hun,” she says, “it’s Sunday. Stores are closed on Sunday.” You could practically hear my brain doing a dial tone as I tried to process this very simple idea.
OBGYN here. I once had a young patient in labor who thought her belly button was going to dilate and that was how the baby was going to come out.
To which I politely replied “no my dear it comes out the same way it went in”.
11. The capital.
On 9/11, when I arrived at my office, coworkers were discussing what had happened. Someone mentioned attacks on both coasts. I was surprised to hear that, as I hadn’t heard anything about the West Coast being affected.
Turns out they thought D.C. was in Washington state.
Working for a finance company and a customer asked me “why am I being charged interest on my loan?”
I remember 90% of our lunch time chatter was how much people need to learn financial literacy in school lol.
13. Can openers.
Not me, but on this past season of worst cooks in America, the chef, Carla, had to explain how to use a can opener.
You could see her die a bit inside before she did.
I grew up in Alaska but I went to fifth grade in Las Vegas. My first day they had me introduce myself to the class and to tell them some interesting things about Alaska.
I mentioned it was the largest state and everyone started arguing with me. I looked at the map of the US on the wall and instantly understood why they were confused. Alaska was shrunk down in a little box in the corner. I laughed and said, “Did you think it was an island, too?” Crickets. Pretty sure they thought it was an island.
I showed them there were 5 longitudinal lines across AK and only 3 across Texas. Also showed them on the map where it said it was attached to Canada.
Our education system sucks.
15. Reproductive organs.
Had to explain to a 21yr old that a hysterectomy was not reversible.
This was after he told me that his fiancé would just “get a hysterectomy and then have it reversed when they want to have children.”
They both attended private religious schools their entire education.
Welp, that’s all…concerning.
What’s something you or your friends didn’t know until way too late?
Tell us in the comments.