When we are children, we expect that there will come a day when we are hit by an “adult epiphany”, where we suddenly understand all the mysteries of the world.
Today I am here to prove to you that the “adult epiphany” never actually happens.
Exhibit A: My grandmother is from El Paso, Texas. Her accent is very strong. So, when I was little and she would say “El Paso”, she pronounced it “Ale Paso”. Being a kid from Arizona, I knew the word “paso” meant pass… but I never knew my grandmother was saying “el”, so I wondered for a long time why they called that town Ale Pass. I finally got it when I could read.
Exhibit B: My dad is a funny guy. One time when I was really little he told me that the little white specks in Bologna will cause a tree to grow in your stomach. I believed him.
Exhibit C: The first time I ever heard the term “speed limit”, I thought my mom had said “speed lemon”. I distinctly remember asking for clarification several times — Me: “Speed LEMON?!” My mom: “Yes, honey.” Me: “SPEED LEMON?!?” My mom: Yes, honey. Me: “But why do they call it that?” My mom: “Because it’s as fast as you’re allowed to go.” (Clearly my pronunciation of the word “lemon” was not great!) Anyway, this speed lemon thing really stuck in my head and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how they decided a speed lemon. The best I could figure was that someone rolled a lemon down a hill, and if you went faster than that, you were breaking the speed lemon and you’d get a speeding ticket. I didn’t understand until I could read that it was not “lemon”.
Exhibit D: One time my parents and I were going on a road trip somewhere. As usual, we were listening to bluegrass. A song came on where they were singing “this is love, this is love, this is loooooove”. But I thought they were saying “it’s a slug, it’s a slug, it’s a sluuuuuuuug!”. I’m not sure, but I think I even asked my mom why anyone would sing about a slug. She still teases me about that to this day.
Exhibit E: This is the worst one of all, because my understanding of this issue did not happen until very recently. Surely you’ve heard of the Ford Pinto.
Well, here we go again… I’m from Arizona. Yes, I know that a pinto is a type of horse. But I also associate the word pinto with beans. We
ate a lot of beans growing up. Heck, I cook a lot of beans now. So, yeah, beans are more in the forefront of my mind than horses. You see what I’m getting at here, right? I always thought the Ford Pinto was named after a bean. And I truly never knew otherwise until very recently when The Hubbster explained that Ford had made a series of “pony” cars all named after horses which included the Pinto, and the Mustang. I didn’t say it out loud, but in my head I was thinking, “Whaaaa? That’s a bean.” And then it hit me like a bolt: that car really isn’t called a pinto bean. ALL THESE YEARS I THOUGHT IT WAS NAMED AFTER A BEAN.
So if you’re expecting some epiphany of understanding to hit you as an adult, I’m here to tell you, it’s not gonna happen. Not if I’ve spent my whole life thinking Ford named a car after a bean.