Growing up I was under the assumption that as I got older I would understand more. Then when I was a teenager I was pretty sure I knew everything there was to know. And when I got out of college I realized I really knew nothing about anything except:
1. The 1984 Detroit Tigers
2. Some lyrics to a few Hootie and the Blowfish songs
3. A lot of Star Wars dialogue
4. My severe limitations as they related to girls, and
5. That beer was God's way of saying "sorry for saddling you with those severe limitations as they relate to girls."
But then I (thankfully) got older yet again. And now I realize that not only do I possess terrifyingly huge abysses of knowledge, but there are a whole slew of things that I couldn't understand even if someone really smart and good at explaining things explained them to me. A partial list follows.
1. The Human Body--Most bewildering of all. I hardly know where to start. I could talk about how there's no way eyes should be able to do what they do. Or ears. Or lungs. But let's focus on just one organ: the heart. During an average lifetime, the heart will beat 2.5 billion times. To put that into perspective, it's about how much more money the government is throwing into "Cash for Clunkers." Okay, maybe that comparison doesn't work, but it's a lot. And it never quits until, you know, it quits. It doesn't even take a break. It just keeps working for 80 years or whatever. Kind of like Barbara Walters. Amazing.
2. Air Travel--I actually kind of understand the physics behind this one. Shape of the wing. Air flows fast on one side, slower on the other, lift-to-drag ratio...but that still doesn't explain how something that big can stay in the air. Like Rosie O'Donnell staying on the air, it just shouldn't happen.
3. Big Boats--Kind of like airplanes. I get buoyancy, but there are some really huge boats out there. REALLY HUGE. Ships like cities. And to really blow my mind there are ships from which airplanes take off and land. That's just insane.
4. Space--Too damn big. Nothing that big should be allowed to exist. Who's regulating this thing? It takes sunlight eight minutes to reach Earth, which means that if the sun winked out seven minutes ago, we wouldn't even know it for another minute. Also, there's no sound in space, which means that when we have to go to war against some hostile planet, our laser guns won't make any noise. And speaking of lasers, you wouldn't actually be able to see the lasers unless there was a crapload of dust or chalk or something floating around. It'll make for terrible TV. We probably won't even bother to go to war with optics like that.
5. Medicine--So I take a pill, swallow it, it goes in my stomach, and that fixes my headache? How do these pills know what to do anyway? I've cut them open, there's no instructions, not even a microchip. It's like solidified dust and it knows how to fix my headache. That's some scary stuff right there. With stuff like this, we might not need lasers to defeat the aliens.
6. Phones--Old phones were bad enough. I talk into this thing and my voice somehow travels along a wire and comes out the other end, almost simultaneously, and another person can understand it. Even sounds moderately like me. But cell phones are a whole 'nother beast. I guess there are all these voices just whizzing around in the air now. Thank god they're invisible, like the lasers.
7. Microchips--Even if those pills I mentioned above had microchips, I'd still be really confused.
8. Live TV--I should not be able to watch a live European soccer game in my living room. First, because someone should take the remote control away from me and turn the channel, but second, because it should not be possible. I'm pretty sure live TV is like cell phones, but I since I've already admitted total ignorance, I could be wrong.
9. Recorded music--I sing a song and it gets, like, etched onto a record, and then this needle comes along and translates these etchings into sounds that are remarkably similar to the sounds I made when I was singing. And records are the media that make the most sense to me. I don't even want to think about cassettes, CDs, and whatever it is the kids are listening to nowadays.