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Friday, June 10, 2011

Things I Believed Were True That Turned Out Not to Be

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.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Man,

    Actually, your panda (mis-)information is more accurate than you may think. The Red Panda (discovered and named BEFORE the Giant Panda) is considered to be a relative of the raccoon. The Giant Panda (the one that most of us are familiar with) is a bear, however.

    check out this great link:

    The Jeff Corwin video is good, too.

    Thanks for encouraging me to do more research on this; I had heard similar stories, so I just had to look it up to find out more about it.