Obvious things about real life you realize after the millionth time

This is inspired by the long-running thread Obvious things about a creative work you realize after the millionth time. Apologies if it’s been done before recently. I couldn’t find by searching a similar thread about real-life obvious things you never realized.

When I was a kid, my mother often made baked beans from scratch, starting by soaking the dried beans you bought in a bag at the supermarket, so I was familiar with those. Also the kidney beans you put in chili, black/pinto beans in burritos, etc. At the same time, we frequently ate green beans. It never occurred to me that there was much in common between these two types of “beans.” They were sort of like “pepper”-- bell peppers vs. pepper the seasoning; two food items which shared a name but weren’t related.

Well into adulthood, I shared a rental house with roommates, and we had a garden. One spring, I decided I was going to plant green beans. So I dutifully went to the garden store and bought a packet of what I thought of as green bean vine seeds. When I got home and opened it up, I was shocked to find that the seeds were… beans! Like the kidney, pinto, or navy variety! :smack: What an a-ha moment. It had never occurred to me that green beans were just the immature, unripened seed pod of the same kind of plant, and the other kind of beans were the mature seeds, what the little tiny green seeds inside the green bean pod grew into if you let it grow.

What other obvious things in real life did it take you a while to realize?

If you run off quickly, you won’t hear the baby cry after you take its candy.

I’ll be damned. I never realized that about green beans either. :smack:

I never realized that about stringbeans, either!

Same holds true for corn kernels and potatoes.

It took like 20 years for it to dawn on me why ABBA is called ABBA.

Also, RE: the beans; someone had to tell me that green olives are unripe black olives. I thought they were different varieties of olive.

ETA: Also, “olive complexioned” means like the inside of a ripe olive.

For the longest time I didn’t understand why the plastic ID card holder in my wallet had a little oval shaped hole in the center of it and I had the hardest time pulling my Driver’s License out from the edge with my fingernails, and then one day something clicked and I put my finger through little hole part in the plastic and dragged my finger on it and my DL popped right out, I had this wallet years before I realized that the cut-out part on the plastic actually served a purpose. :smack:

That not all gravy was beef gravy. Seriously. I was a picky eater as a kid and refused to eat any gravy unless it was beef gravy. So my parents just told me that it was all beef gravy, regardless of whether we were eating beef, pork, chicken, etc. It didn’t occur to me until I was in about 6th grade that they had been lying to me for all those years.

A misplaced item is always in the last place you look for it. I was a teen before I realized “Sure, cause once you find it in the last place you look, you stop looking for it.”

I did not know that. That term has always puzzled me, because I’ve never seen anyone whose skin was the color of green or black olives (and I’ve only seen “olive” the color referring to a shade of green).

I was well into my thirties before I had the epiphany that a cigarette was in fact a wee cigar (at least linguistically).


That’s why my brother-in-law keeps on looking once he’s found what he was looking for.

(To be fair, this has positive results. He often finds stuff he didn’t know was missing!)

That’s why I always look in the last place first.

My mother insists the expression is a corruption of “It’s always in the last place you’d think to look,” which is why stuff takes so long to hunt down. I know you are joking, but sometimes starting with the non-intuitive places (I have found the TV remote in the refrigerator) first can cut you looking time in half.

I still don’t know.

Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad

Oh. Thanks. I would have hoped it’d be more “oh, WOW”.

Dorothea. Theodore. Same thing.

And they both mean “Adore theo,” or, the deity.