When otherwise intelligent people stun you with their lack of knowledge.

First off, everyone has their strong points educationally. I am not writing this to say that everyone who doesnt know the answers to every question is stupid. (Look at that, I cant even construct a simple sentence myself! Cant spell for shit either.)

Have you ever known someone for a while and considered them pretty well educated and smart only to have something come out of their mouth that makes your jaw drop?

My SO has done this on a couple of occasions. First off, this woman is VERY intelligent. Shes an ER nurse and was an A student all her life. She handles all of our bills and finances. In general… pretty sharp. Except for the “natural” sciences, my one love. The last Perseids meteor shower was to be a great one so we bundled up and sat out in the backyard at 2 in the morning watching the show. We’re talking when suddenly she asks, “So which is closer to us the Moon or the closest star??” Thankfully it was dark out 'cause my jaw dropped to my chest. I had NO idea she did not know even the most basic of basic astronomy. Totally bowled me over but I answered sincerely and tried to explain the vast differences in distance and light years.

There was another occurance a while back but I’m trying to remember what it is. I’ll post it later.

Anybody else care to share similar stories? Again, this is not to imply that the person who asked the question is stupid. Its just shown me that everyone has there own special fields they like to learn about and others that they couldn’t care less about.

I think you’re the one that’s mistaken, GopherGod72. How far away from Hollywood were you on that enchanted evening?

a former co-worker… she wasn’t super-intelligent or anything, but she’d graduated from college and was holding down a good job and all, so she wasn’t a bimbo, either. I was engaged, and was talking about wedding plans, and she said something about a wedding mass. I said something along the lines of, “Well, I’m Protestant, so we won’t be having a mass – but we will be getting married at a church.” She didn’t understand this. She was raised Catholic, and had apparently didn’t know how one could be Christian and not Catholic. I mean, she was totally bowled over – had never heard of the Protestant reformation, had seemingly never paid attention to all those other churches out there that aren’t Catholic – nothing. And she was in her late 20s – I don’t know if she’d never been to a non-Catholic wedding or what, but she had a very difficult time wrapping her brain around the whole “Christian-but-not-Catholic” thing. It got even worse when I tried to explain the actual differences… :rolleyes:

Wrong. The moon is close enough to hit your eye like a big pizza pie. No Hollywood star would deign to climb down from their heights to come anywhere near mere mortals such as us.

But seriously, may I ask if the OP really meant the Leonids instead of the Perseids? The Perseids occur in August, and thus should be observed during warm weather for most northern-hemisphere residents (if the OP lives inside the Arctic Circle or below the Tropic of Capricorn, I’ll stand corrected), and it is also known for its consistency. The Leonids, on the other hand, occur in November and are known for having spectacular peaks (such as the one last year) in 33-year intervals.

I had a coworker who was a very intelligent, senior programmer type, and was also something of a financial whiz (to the point where he retired at age 40 based on his investments). While we were discussing a PC problem he was having, it became obvious that he did not know what the difference was between RAM and disk space, since he repeatedly responded “100 Meg” when I asked him how much RAM he had. Keep in mind, this was the bad old days when 4 or 8 Meg of RAM was common, and a 100 Meg harddrive was the standard. Turns out that at some point years in the past he had decided that since virtual memory allowed the computer to emulate additional RAM when needed, there was really no difference between RAM and disk space.

When I was in college (aerospace engineering) I car pooled with a grad student working on a PhD in psychology. These were the days when the Space Shuttle was brand new, and there was lots of talk about the heat shield, whether the tiles would do the job or not. She wondered why the shuttle go so hot during re-entry. I tried to explain about friction with the atmosphere (and thru in what I knew about shock waves, etc) She asked, “but, if it goes so fast, why isn’t it hot all the time? Why is it just when it’s coming down?”

I said, “Because there’s no air out in space”

She said, “Well then, what is there?”

She didn’t know, and apparently couldn’t imagine that there was a limit to the atmosphere, and vacuum beyond.


Everyone is blessed with a different type of intelligence, that’s what makes life so interesting.

Mr. Honey is extremely intelligent in a differant way than I am. He can fix or build absolutely anything. He can build houses, rebuild cars, he is an excellent conversationalist.

He does not care about astronomy like I do, no big deal, when the Leonid meteor shower came about in November, I picked up my friend David and we split a bottle a vino at 4am and watched the best light show I’ve ever seen. Mr. Honey got some much needed sleep.

Embrace your differences, we can all learn from each other. It’s due to Mr. Honey that after 13 years I could now frame a house like a pro.



A lot of times when I mention that I have a twin brother, people ask me if he is identical (I am his sister). Usually people catch themselves, but when one of the doctors I work with asked me this question, it took a disturbingly long time for him figure out why I was laughing at him.

As Will Rogers said, “We are all ignorant, only about different subjects.”

Nevertheless, as one who had venereal disease training in the Army via films and lectures, I was flabbergasted at a co-worker’s question to me. This guy was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (as an State University of Iowa man I can say that maybe that explains it, hee hee) and had a lot of experience besides.

I forget how we got onto the subject but we were talking about syphillis and he asked, “How does a person get it, I mean what causes it?” So I managed to mask my surprise and said, “It’s a disease caused by germs and you get it from someone who has it.” His response was, “Oh, I’ve been told that it is caused by too much sexual intercourse.”

I was talking to on e of my college freinds, and she is pretty smart, A student, good college, etc. We got in a conversation about religion, and I said that I don’t believe in god. She then looked at me funny and said, “What do you think happens to your soul when you die?”

She didn’t know that atheists don’t believe in souls. We got in quite a conversation after that about it.

I’m not putting down either teacher here. They’re both smart, just either insensitive or gullible in some specific areas. I don’t mean to imply their IQ is particularly low, either way.

My History teacher, commenting on the English monarchy: “They like their monarchies. [Chuckle] Just look at all the trouble they’ve gone to sticking the Queen Mum in the ground.” Pretty insensitive, though not wrong in a factual way.

Let’s see…there’s my Bio teacher, who constantly passes on ULs. She insisted the “Ring around the Rosy is a metaphor for the plague” was true, as well as the “Donald Duck was banned in Finland”, “What life was like in the 1500s” and “McDonald’s ballpits” ones. She’s pretty smart (not a genius, not stupid) in other areas, it’s just the gullibility factor that gets her.

lmao… dude you are so right. leonids, of course. See! I show my ignorance in my own subject!!!

I knew a woman who was valedictorian of her (admittedly small) high school class, who got "A"s in math, who once asked me if there were 3 square feet in a square yard. When my jaw hit the floor, she said, “Well, we really didn’t cover conversions that much in class.”

It took my drawing her a picture of a 3x3 square (she did know that there were 3 feet in a yard) to convince her that she didn’t have to know much about conversions to figure this one out.

Ummm, me. All the time.

I’ve always been considered fairly intelligent (in some areas) but I have next to no common sense, and often come out with doozy’s. The latest one was this weekend, when I said "How long does 60 Minutes go… "

O.K, I didn’t finish the sentence, but it was too late, and the damage was done. My friends were still laughing about it when the credits of the show rolled, and I’d asked about half an hour before the show was to begin. (insert embarrassed smiley here)

Just tell them you got confused, and thought you were about to watch “This Hour has 22 Minutes”-- a Canadian comedy show.

Back in the mid-80’s I worked with a woman whom I considered pretty smart. College Grad, seemed to have it together etc…

I do not how the subject came up, but she was under the impression electricity would fall from a socket if not for the light bulb blocking it’s path. Therefore, it was somewhat dangerous to change a light bulb, as electricity would be falling on you. She insisted that you must always wear rubber shoes when you changed a light bulb.

She also believed that a rooster fertilized the egg after it had been laid.

I do this on a fairly regular basis, and I consider myself a clever boy.

A couple of ones from intelligent friends of mine:

  1. “Who painted Whistler’s Mother?”

  2. A Jewish woman friend, just before her wedding, kept talking about “TV vows. You know,the vows they have on soap operas and stuff - not real ones.” She had no idea those were typical Christian wedding vows, but thought they were entirely a Hollywood invention.

Well, unless you’re a paparazzi. Then they’ll hit your eye like a big, oh, let’s say … Sean Penn.

Ed Zotti had never heard of the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.