I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty smart person. Not the kind that gets good grades–that’s work. But the kind with a brain filled with almost useless knowledge. I married someone with the same traits and one of our relatives once inquired if we just sat around telling each other big words all the time.
Thankfully, we don’t. But I have learned recently that I’m not nearly as smart as I thought I was.
For instance, a few weeks ago when we were having a very real gas shortage here in Franklin, I kept noticing that all the stations around my house didn’t have their prices listed. Turns out. almost everyone but me knew that that meant they were out of gas. I had no idea. I just thought it meant that the price was going up so fast that they weren’t going to bother posting it.
Since I don’t have children, babies are a complete mystery to me. At a shower a year ago for my soon-to-be-born great niece, a basket full of goodies included a tube of butt paste. I assumed that it is used to attach diapers to …well… butts. Kind of like rubber cement–or, if you spent as much time in ad agency creative departments as I have–booger glue. It’s good for sticking things together, but it isn’t permanent. Seemed perfectly logical to me. Afterall, you want to make sure those Pampers stay put.
And then there’s iced tea. I don’t know how to make it. I know homes where there’s always a pitcher of it in the refrigerator. (Pitchers at my house tend to hold margaritas or Bloody Marys.) Despite my Southern origins, I never perfected the art of the perfect pitcher of tea. A few years ago we were at a Thanksgiving dinner and the host handed me a jar of instant iced tea and asked me to fill up a pitcher. He might as well of asked me to recite the Morse Code. If he had asked me to please make a cheese souffle from scratch right then and there–without a recipe–I would’ve been fine. But instant iced tea escapes me completely.
And here’s one last example of “the things everybody else knows that I don’t have a clue about.” Once again, it’s courtesey of great niece. Yesterday she was one and, of course, there was a grand celebration with lots of pink, lots of presents and lots of people. When it was time for the cake, we all sang and watched as she “blew” out the candles. Then that cake was removed and another was placed in front of her.
“What’s that for?” I asked. About 20 heads quickly turned to see who had asked such a silly question. You could almost see little thought bubbles above their heads..”Oh, it’s the great aunt who didn’t know what butt paste was.”
Turns out that one year olds ALWAYS get their own cake to play with. To dig into with their hands and smear all over their pink tutus. I was assured that this is a time-honored tradition. But it’s one that definitley passed me by.
Who knew? (Well, evidently everyone but me.)