I know many things. Some things I know, however, turn out not to be true.
I blame this, probably unfairly, on my mother. She was given to dispensing fascinating information, which upon examination, is not consistent with the facts. Now, she also said a lot of fascinating things that were completely true, so you never knew where you stood. The innocent me absorbed all of this - true and untrue alike - with perfect acceptance. Every once in a while an untrue factoid will detonate itself, however, like a German missile long forgotten outside a London suburb.
Driving to and from Baltimore with Jamie Iredell I shared many fascinating tid-bits of information, which Jamie recieved with amazement and delight. Upon investigation, some of these proved spurious.
Here is a sampling of the nonsense I (quite seriously) told Jamie was fact:
LBJ was the first Southern President after the Civil War. I was CONVINCED this was true - it made so much sense that it should be true. It, however, is false. Woodrow Wilson, just for one example, was a Virginian.
Kangaroo is an aboriginal word meaning something to the effect of "what are you talking about?" This, at least, is based on a genuine if mistaken myth. Kangaroo is derived from an aboriginal word for a specific breed of kangaroo.
The Panda Bear is not a true bear at all, but an animal more closely related to the American racoon. Honestly, I don't know what the hell I was thinking of with that one, but I was perfectly sincere in insisting to Jamie that a Panda is a relative of a racoon. It isn't. It's a type of bear.
Anyway, I've been corrected - multiple times - and I suppose this will teach me some humility. Until the next weird piece of misinformation decides to detonate itself.