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9 People Who Learned Basic Facts at Embarrassingly Late Ages

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Jan. 14 2019, Updated 12:19 p.m. ET

Everything at your own pace, they said. You're never too old to learn, they said. Though these sayings may be true, a few people who shared their stories of lessons they learned at an embarrassingly late age will make you feel better about your day, week, and TBQH, life — no matter how badly you feel they've been going.

Once you read about these guys who've been using toilets wrong their whole lives, or thought that Mt. Rushmore was a natural occurring rock formation, you'll start feeling like a MENSA champion — no matter how far you've made it in school. Or, in the words of Albert Einstein, "Two things are infinite — the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe."

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1. The dude who didn't realize you could let the shower warm up before stepping in.

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Source: istock

If you're having a rough morning, take comfort in the fact that this guy has spent his whole life freezing his butt off in the shower. "I always hated showers," he explains, until "the girl I was with" asked him, "Why don't you wait for it to warm up?" He stared back at her in disbelief — "I had no answer for her... I [felt] so stupid, I couldn't enjoy the rest of the night." 

Thanks to this lovely lady, the guy's outlook on showers (and life) are totally changed. "Today I stood and waited for the shower to heat up for the first time," he writes. "It was great!"

What an idiot, you must be thinking. Well, he's working on his masters right now so, just another reason street smarts are more important than book smarts.

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2. The lady who thought America used Mount Rushmore to select the country's presidents.

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Oh, siblings. Can't live with them, can't live without them. When this guy shared his sister's embarrassing anecdote, he disclaimed that though it "may seem too ridiculous to be true ... I assure you, it is."

Until her mid-twenties, one woman "believed Mount Rushmore was a naturally occurring rock formation." But that was just her adult theory; as a teen, she thought that "Americans had used Mount Rushmore to select presidents." Contemporary elections "concerned" her because she believed we'd "used up all the good" presidents already.

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3. The adult man who'd never learned to use a toilet.

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Parents, teach your children well. Lest they grow up to be like this man, who had to be schooled by a salesperson on how to use toilets properly.

"Our toilet broke,  so I was in shopping for new ones," he begins. The salesperson joked that he'd want to buy one that "automatically puts the seat down" after he was finished with it, so he could remain in his wife's good graces. To keep in line with the salesperson's humor, this guy "'joked' back and said, 'If I didn't have a wife, I could save money and not buy one with a seat and I'd never have to hear women complaining about putting it down again'."

This understandably confused the salesman, who "gave [the customer] a strange look and said, 'But what about when you need to poop?'" Apparently, that prompted this guy to "naturally [point] out that I'm a guy and therefore don't put the seat down, I sit on the rim of the bowl." It took him "several embarrassing moments" to realize that he'd misunderstood toilets for his "entire life" and that "guy do indeed use the toilet seat."

Until then, he'd just thought men's restrooms had toilet seats for "unisex/cost-saving/oversight" reasons.

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4. The person who thought toilet paper holders doubled as headrests.

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It pains me to realize how many people's lives were completely destroyed by older siblings pranking them in their youths. Like this one person, who spent their entire life thinking that toilet paper holders in "fancy" bathrooms, where "the toilet roll [is] placed to the side," doubled as headrests.

"One time when I was little," they explain, "my brother asked me to bring him some medicine to the bathroom ... and I saw that he was resting his head against the toilet paper and ... he said, 'Oh you don't know? Some houses have the toilet paper holder placed right here so that it can double as a head rest.'" 

Flash forward twenty something years and this person now "manage[s] an office and we decide to renew our bathrooms." The interior designer was showing them design plans and "the rest of the board all voted for one of them and I opposed," they write, protesting that "it didn't even have a headrest."

They even attempted to explain "what a bathroom headrest was," but the rest of the team spent the whole time "holding back their laughter." That's how this person learned their brother had been punking them all of those years ago.

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5. The word "fine" has two distinct meanings.

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How old were you when you learned that "fine" not only meant OK, but also referred to the "monetary fee" you had to pay "for doing something wrong"? One guy was today years old when the lightbulb finally went off. Until now, he was confused by the signs that said, "No littering. $200 fine." According to his logic, "I thought it meant, 'You can't litter. But if you feel like leaving $200, that's fine."

Boy, my head hurts.

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6. The Amish are not a group of actors, contrary to some people's beliefs.

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One person thought the Amish, you know, the Mennonite sect of Americans who live without telephones, electricity, and cars, were just "an old timey group of actors who were just really into it." 

It wasn't until adulthood that this person "was promptly made fun of" for revealing their beliefs, and told they were "a functioning society who actually live that way, not actors."

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7. Several people are beginning to learn the moon is occasionally visible in the daytime.

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It appears many people's minds are newly blown with this realization, but let me just settle the dispute once and for all that for about half of the moon's cycle, it is visible during the daytime. 

One person had to explain this to their 24-year-old coworker who was "staring at the sky bewildered" at the fact that he could "see the moon....and it's day." Another had the unenviable task of teaching it to their stepdad who "wouldn't have it" and was instead "convinced" the moon's daytime appearance meant "Jesus was coming right then."

I can't help but wonder how life is treating these people.

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8. Some people are discovering the truth behind celebrity names.

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One person thought "the term 'prima donna' was 'pre-Madonna'" and didn't understand what made the "Vogue" singer so important that we would mark the passage of time according to her birth. The associations between Madonna and Jesus make this mishap half acceptable for me.

But when they also believed Ellen was name "Ellen 'The Generous'," rationalizing "I get that she is generous, but she isn't that noteworthy. It's not like she's Alexander the Great or something," their logic went a bit too far.

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9. Seahorses exist in real life, you guys.

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To play devil's advocate, I will concede that "horses that live in the sea" where "the male gives birth" do sound rather mythical, but hasn't this 34-year-old caught glimpse of them even once on TV or in a book? 

People are jumping in to comfort this poor woman, adding that they didn't know "what a narwhal was until 30," or that their 20-year-old brother's mind was "blown when he saw live reindeer" for the first time. "He thought they were just in stories, then he asked me if they can fly," this person continued.

What I wouldn't pay to be on a field trip with these individuals....

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