As clever as we might think we are, we all have gaps in our knowledge. After all, it’s impossible to know everything about our world. You might live your whole life believing that dolphins are land mammals who swim just for fun. Or assuming that a "birthday suit" is a specific set of clothes people wear when they turn another year older. Then, when someone points out that it's completely not true, you can’t help but wonder whether others thought the same as you.

Well, negan2018's post on Ask Reddit revealed that there are plenty of people who have also experienced these embarrassing moments. The user asked fellow community members, "What really obvious thing have you only just realized?" and thousands started sharing their stories.

As they say, the more you read, the more you know. So get ready to take a deep dive into some of the best answers we have collected from this thread. Make sure to upvote the ones you enjoyed most and share your own little misunderstandings in the comments below!

#1

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life I recently realized I was allergic to carrots. I just thought they made everyone's mouth numb, you know, just like almonds.... I also learned recently that I have an almond allergy.

Canwerevolt , J E Theriot Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
7 months ago

I have oral allergy syndrome that didn't start happening till I was in my 20s. I get itchy, tingly and/or sore gums, lips, throat, roof of mouth and tongue when eat most raw fruit and vegetables. Rockmelon is the worst for it and I love rockmelon. As the years have gone by it has been gradually getting worse and worse.

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#2

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life The first time I visited the USA I was on my own and in NY and going to all the museums. I kept seeing signs that said "No strollers" and thought, because we call strollers prams in the UK, that you guys are super strict about the proper amount of attention required to visit a museum. I actually pretended to show more interest than I had in order not to be thougth of as some deadbeat out for a casual stroll.

It wasn't until about day three that I saw a "No strollers" sign that included a graphic for idiots.

Flibble21 , anokarina Report

Catherine Binder
Community Member
7 months ago

I hate to burst your bubble, but that is a "no funky monkey" sign.

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#3

I must've been around 11-12 years old, when I realized that "in order of appearance" during the end credits of a movie doesn't list the actors/actresses by who is the most good looking.

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DDmaybeandor
Community Member
7 months ago

This assumption you originally had is cracking me up!

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To find out why many of us realize obvious things only later in life, we reached out to Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. He is a clinical psychologist and creator of MentalDrive, an initiative to help people improve their well-being by providing strategies they can use every day. According to him, we humans naturally adapt to things that happen frequently and regularly. 

"We literally are hardwired to move the common occurrences into the background of our consciousness so that we can look out for novel things," he told Bored Panda. "This happens because things that are not obvious, that are not common, that stand out, could pose a threat to our well-being, or could be something really rewarding."  

Klapow explained that we often take things we do and see every day for granted, "only to pay more attention to those actions and interactions that grab our attention. The obvious goes in the background, so we reserve brain bandwidth to notice the novel, standout occurrences in our life." 

#4

The division symbol ÷ is just a fraction. The two dots represent numbers

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Rai Grant
Community Member
7 months ago

Lol so it is!!! I'd never noticed before

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#5

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life This girl I know has a dog named Deoji. Two years into knowing her and being around Deoji, I was having a conversation with her sister in law and I said "I love the name Deoji, how did she come up with that?" Her sister in law responds, "Deoji" and I said "yea, it's a neat name". She started laughing and said "No, D.O.G. ...the way you spell dog"

I'm still mindblown about this lol.

PoTinkTink17 , James Barker Report

Andy Acceber
Community Member
7 months ago

I knew a dog named D.O.G. Deoji is even funnier. I'd love to correct a vet's office in spelling that name.

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#6

Saw a place labled as "Public house" when I moved nearby recently.

It was at that moment I realized "OH thats why they call them PUBS. Its short for public house"

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Saico Hipe
Community Member
7 months ago

Ohhhhhh. Well, I was today years old, so don't feel too badly. 😂

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However, throughout our lives, there are fewer things that are different and unknown to us. "We start seeing the same things over and over. We call that maturity and growth and development." When we become adults, we can look at the seemingly common in a more detailed way. "And when we do, we often discover that that obvious has so much more to it that we missed earlier on," the clinical psychologist said.

"Another reason we miss the obvious is that we sometimes are not ready psychologically to handle [it]," Klapow added. "A relationship that is toxic, a love interest that is too intense, a realization that we don’t have a skill or strength we believe we have." While these things may be crystal clear to the outside observer, "our own psychological defenses go up and protect us from seeing the obvious. Because to do so might overwhelm us emotionally and psychologically." 

"This pattern can go on for years, until which time we either have the psychological maturity or our life circumstances change such that we can look at the obvious which once posed a psychological threat in a more mature, less defensive way."

Both of these processes are something that everyone has in common. "People have these in varying degrees and, more importantly, they learn to overcome these hardwired tendencies in order to see life more clearly and experience life more fully." 

#7

VERY LATE BUT it's called the alphabet because the Greek "Alphabet" starts with the letter alpha, beta....

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DDmaybeandor
Community Member
7 months ago

Thanks, I learned that today.

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#8

The piggy in 'This Little Piggy' didn’t go to the market to go shopping. ... I’m still horrified

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
7 months ago

You take that back!

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#9

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life The Grammys are called that because the awards are gramophones.

L00katTheAww , CousinJacob Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
7 months ago

This post was my revelation.. 🤷

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#10

I only just today realized that the “walk the plank” plank on a boat is not a special addition pirates added to their ships as a means of public execution that looked like a little wooden diving board.

It is, in fact, the very same plank as the gangplank you’d normally use to get on and off of the ship. It is not the presence of the plank that is threatening, but the absence of dock.

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DDmaybeandor
Community Member
7 months ago

Oh wow! I never knew that! I did know it was sometimes called the gangplank, but I didn’t know that’s what’s used to board the ship.

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Klapow stated that we experience life from our perspective. So what can be 100% clear to others may be totally missed by us. "Our defense mechanisms, our rationalizations, our attention to other aspects of our life can carry us through time without any insight into what others see so clearly," he said. And when we realize we lived our whole lives believing untrue things, we might feel uncomfortable.

"We are embarrassed because the obvious is often simple and clear to everyone else." He mentioned that we feel this way for several reasons. The first would be that we simply missed what others saw. Then, "we may have made mistakes, hurt others, missed out on opportunities because we didn't see the obvious. Lastly, we have to acknowledge to others and ourselves that despite how we think of ourselves or how we are seen by others, we have missed something."

#11

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life Not me but my sister asked me about 2 and a half months ago when we were watching John Wick 3 during the desert scene she asked me if they were real and I asked if what were real and she said “Sand Lands” and I busted out laughing so god damn hard and said “you mean deserts? Yes they’re real”. Thinking about it right now Got me laughing.

Tonychina23 , imdb Report

Trigga
Community Member
7 months ago

Sand land..... that's funny though

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#12

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life Super embarrassing but in college I would order Roman Cokes because I heard everyone else ordering the same...turns out I misheard everyone and found out it was just rum and coke

Kaylakamrie , John Arano Report

Adam C
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

Conversation in 2011, I was 30. My boss: " So Fat Tuesday this year will be feb 22an (tuesday) or mars 1st (also tuesday)" Me: Fattues day always on a tuesday?"

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#13

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life I regret to inform you all that it just occurred to me the other day that the game is called Sims because they’re in a simulation. I’m 26.

haleyrose927 , Aaron Parecki Report

PiscesMama
Community Member
7 months ago

Oh dear…

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When we uncover evident things, it can feel like discovering something brand new. It all depends on how we interpret the experience: "It’s easy to feel embarrassed, frustrated, guilty that we missed something that was there the whole time."

We should try to "turn the internal dialog around and tell ourselves: 'I now see things differently, more clearly, and that is going to help me from this day moving forward'. Then, the initial embarrassment and frustration can transition into gratitude and excitement for arriving at the discovery of the obvious," he continued.

#14

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life That parents have children write letters to Santa so they can figure out what to buy them for Christmas. I can’t believe how I never put that together after 32 years on this earth I just thought it was fun little tradition..

currentlydownvoted , Mike Arney Report

Quiltin Mammar
Community Member
7 months ago

What? You don't believe in Santa? A lump of coal for you next Christmas;0)

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#15

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life I realized that to be in one's birthday suit it means to be without clothes. I thought for the longest time it was a specific set of clothes you would wear on your birthday each year. I found out when I asked, "what happens when you don't fit in your birthday suit anymore?" Lol

BeastofWhimsy , Christian Bowen Report

Chancey
Community Member
7 months ago

I have that problem where I now have trouble fitting in my birthday suit!

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#16

My grandpa used to ask me when I was a kid if I could talk without moving my lips. Being a dumb ass kid I would always give it my best effort, and thought I was pretty good at it. 20 years later I realised the old bugger was just telling me to shut the f*ck up haha. Too bad I can't let him know I finally figured it out.

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Scagsy
Community Member
7 months ago

Oh, he knows. And he's laughing!

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"We are growing, learning, adapting organisms. What is foreign at one point in time can become obvious later as we learn and develop. At any point in our life, we have a chance to look at what we see every day and look at it differently. We never know what we may discover if we are courageous enough to consider the obvious when the world around us is telling us it is sitting right in front of us," Klapow concluded.

#17

I was playing Monopoly, and someone owned a load of properties all clustered together. I said, 'You’ve got a bit of a monopoly on that part of the board. Hey that’s funny, because we’re playing Monopoly, and you got a...oh, I see now.

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EEF🤓
Community Member
7 months ago

There's a documentary about the invention of the game. It's pretty interesting. Was invented by a woman who was basically saying, yes capitalism sucks.

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#18

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life That they put measurement stickers next to gas station doors so if a robber is running out of the store you can get a better estimate of their height. I always thought they were just there for something fun to do on road trip stops....

iamconfusion0815 , Ouael Ben Salah Report

Scagsy
Community Member
7 months ago

TIL that such a thing even existed.

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#19

A screensaver has a purpose and it literally saves your screen from an image being burned into it. I'm 37

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Aqsa Azam
Community Member
7 months ago

Wow damnn, I didn't know that. Nifty.

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#20

That Michelangelo's David is David from David and Goliath. How did I not know this?? I thought it was just dude called Dave.

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Jo Johannsen
Community Member
7 months ago

I never knew either.

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#21

Raincoats typically have bright colours so you're easier to spot during heavy rain, not because raincoat designers have bad taste

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Kanuli
Community Member
7 months ago

That I learned with a kids song in germany that would help you get dressed properly, to be seen and hopedully not killed by unaware drivers on the street.

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#22

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life That Jessica Rabbit is not a rabbit, but took Roger Rabbit's last name.

joshg6108 , disney.fandom Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
7 months ago

I never even gave it any thought until reading this. 😊

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#23

Thought that raw hazelnuts don't taste good, because they give this weird tingle in your mouth. Found out I had a nut allergy when it suddenly turned from "tingle" to "anaphylaxis" and I ended up in hospital for eating nut chocolate

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
7 months ago

Oh no, so no Nutella. Bummer.

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#24

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life My mom used to make my sisters and I “belly-buttons” for dinner. I was 27 when I realized that they were actually tortellini, but she knew we were dumb kids and would refuse something named so strange even though they were delicious.

no1flyhalf , Yoav Aziz Report

BusLady
Community Member
7 months ago

My son called broccoli "little trees".

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#25

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life For the longest time, I always thought Prima Donna was Pre-Madonna

imbouttonutongod , G.F. Nesbitt & Co Report

Rachknits
Community Member
7 months ago

That's kind of cute

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#26

I always thought “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too” was a weird saying because why wouldn’t I be able to eat my freaking slice of cake? It’s my cake.

Nobody was telling me that I can’t have my cake. Turns out they mean you can’t eat the cake while also still retaining it. Once it is eaten, it is gone. An idiom I did not understand until this year. I am 27.

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NsG
Community Member
7 months ago

Because the idiom has been reversed. You cannot eat your cake and have it too.

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#27

Oh you want a freaking doozy? For YEARS, I did not realize it was Mike Myers playing both Austin Powers AND Dr Evil. I don't know how I missed it, but it never twigged that it was the same actor. Felt like a right royal twat when that was pointed out to me!

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Kay blue
Community Member
7 months ago

Right royal twat is one of my favourite insults.

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#28

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life I live in a part of Chicago called Greektown for 8 years and never realized the blue and white Christmas lights were meant to represent the colors on their flag. It just dawned on me today.

letsgetrandy , Renee Fisher Report

gellert gridlewald
Community Member
7 months ago

woops..

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#29

I'm in my fifties. I grew up in a rural area north of New York City, I'm a veteran, I'm reasonably intelligent, reasonably well-traveled.

I've been hearing (and repeating this expression on and off for all of my life:

Friend/acquaintance 1: "Hey, man see you soon!" Friend/acquaintance 2: "Not if I see you first." smirk

It's just within the last few years that I realized that's a -almost always joking, kind- jab at Friend/acquaintance 1.

It was so ritualized as a way to say goodnight to a buddy, that it never occurred to me that it meant that the friend would choose to avoid the other person.

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GoodWolf
Community Member
7 months ago

Ooooh 💡 I didn't realize that, either

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#30

In the movie "Cats vs Dogs" when the dog goes "Son of my mom!" He's actually saying Son of a b*tch

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Roxy Eastland
Community Member
7 months ago

Evidence that once again we insult men by insulting the women in their lives

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#31

The mommy in that Christmas song wasn't cheating with Santa but instead, it's the dad dressed in a Santa Claus costume. That's why 'I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus

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Ozacoter
Community Member
7 months ago

Thats what your mum wants you to believe ;)

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#32

Cruella de Vil was a cruel devil.

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gellert gridlewald
Community Member
7 months ago

oh...

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#33

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life This is going to make me seem dumb as hell but I recently realized why pickles don’t ever.. come fresh...

thisisisle , SuckerPunch Gourmet Report

Emily M
Community Member
7 months ago

I work in an elementary school. Completely blew 4 third graders' minds to discover that their beloved pickles were made from 'gross' cucumbers xD

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#34

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life For a long time I thought "to bust a nut" meant that you were going to kick a guy in the balls or beat him up. So anytime I was getting worked up or angry talking about some guy I would say " I'm going to bust his f*cking nut" not knowing the real meaning. Nobody ever said anything but it was always followed by my friends laughing so I assumed it was because I was being dramatic.

Years go by and my coworker is telling me about some rude person he met and I said "you should definitely bust that guy's nut", to which he paused and said "do you even know what that means?" Suffice it to say I was extremely embarrassed and horrified when he explained it to me.

Seacreeplandcreep , Creaslim Report

Sarah Jane
Community Member
7 months ago

A slang term for when a man ejaculates...

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#35

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life When I was little for some reason I hated toast. Just hated it. My parents always tried to make me eat it but I always refused. My grandma decided to try something different. She took toast, cut it up into tiny squares, put some butter on them and called them “Little Pillows.” I ate them all the time. Only now, at 22 years old, did I realize it was just freakin toast.

Cosplaybaby13 , charlesdeluvio Report

plain bOrEd not panda
Community Member
7 months ago

I am pretty sure she put the butter before cutting them all into small pieces :D Just a random obsessive thought I got :D

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#36

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life When I was little we had an Australian shepherd named Sydney. I didn’t understand why her name was Sydney until 18 years later.

Doggieboy5 , Joséphine Menge Report

indiecognition
Community Member
7 months ago

Not exactly a Perth-shattering revelation

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#37

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life I live in Denmark so english is not my native language and I just realised that weekend means the end of the week.

denmark-the-best , Isabella and Zsa Fischer Report

Crease Almighty
Community Member
7 months ago

Yeah I didn’t realise Breakfast was literally means Breaking fast the from the previous day… 🤔🤔

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#38

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life I thought astigmatism was A stigmatism. So I thought you could have two stigmatisms

matthewdeanschmittw , Amanda Dalbjörn Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
7 months ago

I thought an attaché case was 'a taché case' for far too long. I never needed to talk about them, just heard them mentioned in dramas or documentaries. I still half think that's what's being said.

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#39

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life That big ship's wheel I got to turn as a kid was not actually controlling the cruise ship.

MiscWalrus , Ray Harrington Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
7 months ago

Cool treat for kids.

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#40

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life The song "it's getting hot in here" isn't actually talking about here temperature

I felt very, very stupid

ekoth , Nelly Report

Kay blue
Community Member
7 months ago

I think it depends how old you were when you first heard the song.

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#41

I’m 30 and I realized a few months ago that “howdy” is Cowboy for “how do you do”

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s. vitkovitsky
Community Member
7 months ago

It's from Eluzabethan/Sbakespearean times, a contraction of how do ye.

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#42

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life My friend (22 y.o) only realized last year that dolphins have to swim and live in the water to survive. He thought they're land mammals but they just really like to swim for fun.

marshmeowllo , Ádám Berkecz Report

Quiltin Mammar
Community Member
7 months ago

I think your friend needs help

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#43

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life That to take off the plastic piece on top of deodorant you just simply twist the bottom a few times lmao

woodyprowlers , Ana Essentiels Report

Guido Pisano
Community Member
7 months ago

but with plastic piece on deodorant last a lot more :P

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#44

That the phrase mint condition means like new because it's the condition coins leave the mint in

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Jihana
Community Member
7 months ago

I just recently realized that too, but English is not my first language.

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#45

I kept seeing the same Chinese characters on restaurant's signs and I always wanted to know what it meant. A week ago I found out: they mean restaurant.

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BC_Animus
Community Member
7 months ago

I am hoping you don't have "restaurant" tattooed on your body. Word of advice folks, don't be one of those people who tattoos Chinese symbols on their bodies before finding out what they meant.

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#46

My boyfriend did not know that his electric toothbrush has a timer on it that goes off at 1 minute and 2 minutes. He actually returned it and got a new one thinking it was broken, since the “timer” is just a brief sort of pause/reduction in the vibration. He would be like “wtf I literally just charged this f*cking thing” thinking that the battery was already dying. One day, and I can’t remember exactly what the conversation was, I brought up how I liked that my toothbrush let me know when I had brushed long enough, and it was like a lightbulb went off in his head and suddenly he put it together that that was what his toothbrush was doing all along.

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Alison Dalleywater
Community Member
7 months ago

No way! That's what I did. Threw mine away and went back to normal ones!

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#47

Cilantro and Coriander are the same plant.

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Monday
Community Member
7 months ago

And for a percentage fo the population it tastes like soap.

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#48

My whole life I thought "Pay-per-view" was actually "paper view" because I had only ever heard people say it, and only recently saw it written out.

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Catherine Binder
Community Member
7 months ago

This is kinda poetic in a way.

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#49

I was 28 before I realized the meaning to the why is 6 afraid of 7 joke. I always just thought it was dumb, 7,8,9, like you’re just counting.......the electric bill wasn’t paid until later in my life.

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Kanuli
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

Hahaha. Because seven ate nine? I love it.

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#50

50 Obvious Things People Found Out Hilariously Late In Life The houses in Bikini Bottom are car mufflers...

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Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
7 months ago

It's Bikini Bottom because it's under Bikini Atoll where early atomic bombs were conducted.

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