People Share Their Biggest 'Air Head' Moments

From trying to figure out what salad spinners are for, to mistaking a bottle of birth control pills for candy, and finding out what dads special cigarettes actually are, people share their biggest air head moments.

[Source can be found at the end of the article]

Growing up, my mother raised me to never look into her purse because it was rude to rifle through another's belongings. At 7 years old, I felt like a rebel and looked through her purse while she was out gardening. I found her lipstick, wallet, and an odd shaped canister that looked like perfume. I figured, let's give it a shot and sprayed some all over me (mostly my face). What I didn't realize was that it was pepper spray. I ran around screaming in utter pain. Lesson learned…


I was at an ante-natal class with my wife when the instructor shared a tip for making sure you let your baby feed from each breast an equal amount - by taking it in turns, left/right. But which one you start off with? How do you remember which you started with? You use a hair tie. A few minutes later, she remarked, "and don't forget to put the hair tie on your other wrist when you next do a feed."

To which I remarked, rather too audibly for a room of 20 strangers, "oooohh, you put it on your wrist!


Those travel toothbrushes.

I always carried one on me and always wondered why they made one so tiny. Until one day on vacation with my girlfriend I'm using it and she says "why don't you use it normally?" She then grabs the casing for the toothbrush and attaches it to the bottom of the brush...


When i was a kid, my grandfather and I built a model 1989 Batmobile together. We worked so hard to get it together. Neither of us having built models before so it took hours. We finished up, and we had one green piece left. We looked through the instructions, looked all over the model, but could NOT figure it out. Finally I went and got my grandma to see if she could figure it out. She came in, took one look at it and ... it was the top of the super glue. We had forgotten to re-cap the super glue.

My grandfather died a few years ago... I STILL get crap from my grandma for that moment 25 years later.

Good memories.


I went into a store and purchased a nice suit for work but forgot to bring the coupon I was going to use. I asked about it while checking out and the girl told me she's sorry but can't help me. She then placed the same coupon on the counter and asked if I had dropped it. I must have been distracted because I denied that it was mine 3 times before I finally understood she was trying to be nice and give me a coupon. I felt really dumb.


That the pockets on suit coats/blazers, and back pockets of slacks are (loosely) stitched closed and meant to be cut open. I spent a solid four years of my life as a pissed off pragmatist- "why would you put pockets just for show? Those jerks!"

One day, a friend heard my incessant complaining and goes, "you know you just make a small snip and pull the thread out- then the pockets are accessible."

Goes to closet, snips open pockets... "Oh...


That the reason baby vests have envelope shoulders is so that when they do a doo-doo that explodes all over the vest, you can remove the vest downwards instead of lifting it over their head and smearing poop all over their head.


When I finally figured out why dad's "special cigarettes" smelled so different from regular cigarettes...

Suddenly his room full of backlights, incense, psychedelic art, and "old fashioned pipes" made a lot of sense.


Have you guys seen those escalators with the green lights shining through the steps? When I was very young. Maybe 5 or 6 years old. I asked my dad what those lights were for. He told me they were for the blind.

A few years ago maybe when I was about 23 or 24. I got on one of those escalators with lights with a friend of mine. I wanted to tell my friend this little fact that my dad told me years ago about the lights in the escalators. But as soon as I wanted to explain I realized my dad was trolling me the whole time. It took me just under 20 years to realize it.


My dad always likes to look nice and put together. One day before church (I was maybe 14), I asked him if he had a lint roller. He got it for me, and it was absolutely covered in lint. So I ripped off the top sheet. Dad's eyes widened in shock. "I always thought lint rollers were so expensive for how few times you could use them!" He never knew there were more sheets underneath.

Dad was in his mid fifties then. He hates when I tell that story.


The wiggly metal bracket on the end of a tape measure is like that on purpose. The amount it wiggles matches its thickness. So you can take inside measurements (and push it in) or outside measurements (and pull it out) and you'll get consistent measurements.


I bought a used pickup truck in the late 90's that had an electronic key fob like any car these days. It had a couple other buttons as well that when pressed did nothing. I asked about it at the dealership and they told me it was probably for a remote start that wasn't hooked up. After two years of driving that truck around in cold Chicago winters, I sold the truck to my brother when I bought my first new car. One day while talking to him he started the car up with the remote starter. I stared in complete shock as he explained that you have to hold the button down.


I lived in the US for a year (I am European) and I was really annoyed about our light switches. They didn't lead to any lamps. There were no lamps in the ceiling at all and I couldn't figure out why we had switches on the wall. I was also super annoyed that a few sockets (outlets?) worked sometimes, but not all the time. I never talked to our landlord because frankly, he scared me, and since I was moving back soon I just figured I'd live with it.

Fast forward 11 months when I visited a friend's house. I couldn't turn on her big floor lamp. "Just do like this," she said and flipped the light switch on the wall. It turns out, in America, light switches can lead to sockets in the wall.


That dryer sheets prevent static cling. I always assumed you put them in to make your clothes smell better. So when I moved out I just never bought any. Then one day I had to do laundry at my mom's house. In the middle of switching laundry I'm whining about the socks all stuck to the blanket and my mom says, "Well then put in a dryer sheet!" Oh. So that's what those are for.


When I was a kid, I had a large toy box with a lid. I had to use my head to prop up the lid when I grabbed things. There was a place to put a stick to prop it open.

I noticed there was a stick kept in the kitchen for me and my brother's spankings. By the time I realized the stick was originally meant for the toy box, I had outgrown the toy box.


It took me four years of owning a car to realise I could spray washer fluid onto the rear windshield.

I just assumed it only sprayed the front and I would just occasionally throw a bucket of water on the back if I needed to. Then one day I just noticed an odd symbol on a lever I hadn't seen before.

Held that down for about 10 seconds before a massive gush of liquid burst out the back and changed my life for the better.


After high school, I was working a temporary job in a business remodel. The wood floors had been put in and the contractor had a big roll of paper that he taped down to cover the floor to prevent scuffs and a scrapes while the work continued. One time I touched the roll of paper and noted that it was somewhat sturdier than normal paper and reminded me of craft paper that we used in elementary school. I remembered that as a child,, the teacher always called it (doink — moment of realization) construction paper.


Since as long as I can remember my mom has kept this creepy doll hung up on the wall in our garage, right next to the door to go in the house. The things a real eye sore, clothes are ugly and its just this raggedy thing. So recently, I asked my mom why she keeps this ugly demon doll hung up on the wall and she says, Really? It holds plastic bags. And walks up to it and pulls a plastic grocery bag out of its back. 19 years in that house and I always thought my mom just had weird taste in decoration.


When I was in first grade, our teacher had these really cool cookie jars. One was a dog that made barking sounds when you opened it, one was a cat that meowed, etc. We all loved those cookie jars.

I realized literally yesterday that they make sound so the adults know when someone's getting into the cookie jar... It's genius.


I dont like any type of seafood. I just learned last week that hush puppies arent essentially fish stick balls, but are fried corn meal. I think my parents preyed on the fact that I dont like seafood, and used that as an excuse to not share their hush puppies.


The fact pineapples do not grow on trees. They're just plants. I didn't know this until I was hanging out with my friend and we were swimming in her pool. I got out and pointed to, what looked like to me, a weird spiky-looking plant and she looked at me completely dumbfounded. She just looked at me and said in a disappointed voice, "That's a pineapple..." I felt like my whole life at this point was just a lie. For the longest time, I genuinely thought pineapples grew on trees.


You know the plastic hooks on vacuum cleaners that are used to wind the cord around. Well the top hook will spin 180 degrees to release the cord, so you don't have to spend time unwinding. Didn't realize this till my wife showed me well into my 30s.


When you first walk into a Home Depot, theres always a stack of orange buckets by the entrance. For the longest time I thought they were Home Depots equivalent of a shopping basket. Id haul that thing around just throwing screws and hardware into it, and then just put it next to the cash register when I was done. Theyd always ask if I wanted the bucket too, and I just thought it was a clever way of selling more buckets. Only about a month ago did I realize theyre just buckets, and everyone at HD just thought I was mentally imbalanced.


This happened on September 11th 2001, days before my tenth birthday. I remember watching the footage and seeing scenes of ground zero shortly after the dust settled. There was a sound echoing around the buildings I thought it was a broken PA system or something...

Nearly 16 years later I joined a volunteer fire department and heard a pass alarm go into full alert... Instantly reminded me of that footage. It was the same sound...

The sound in those videos was not a broken PA system. It was downed firefighters…


When I was a little kid (maybe 3 years old), I found a little plastic container of candy in my mom's purse, and I ate them all. My mom discovered this and started panicking and screaming. Apparently I'd eaten an entire month's worth of birth control pills.

She called Poison Control, and they told her I'd be fine, though my hair might grow slowly for a while. It's been 30 years, and I'm still bald, dammit!


I had no idea that salad spinners were to dry your salad. I thought they were to mix your salad dressing or something.

We got one as a wedding gift, so I loaded one up, dumped some dressing in, and spun a ton of the dressing off of the salad. This made me think the product was to apply dressing flavor to all of your salad bits, without dealing with all the calories that can come from overloading on dressing. So naturally I thought it was a total waste of time and money, and tossed it into a cabinet never to be used again.

A year goes by, and I see a post online about salad spinners and how they are such a game changer and so worth it, and I thought people were just messing around.

Nope. They're to dry your washed salad bits so you have nice, crisp, not-soggy salad. I had no idea, and the box sure didn't tell me that.


Pipe cleaners. When I was a kid they were used for crafts and stuff and I just figured that they were used to clean, like, kitchen pipes. In my kid brain that kind of made sense. As I grew up I just never thought about it again really.

Then one day in college I decide cigars are expensive and pipe tobacco seems much cheaper overall, plus the rustic feel of a man on his porch reading with a tobacco pipe always appealed to me for some reason. So I went out and bought a cheap tobacco pipe and while I was checking out the cashier asked me if I wanted pipe cleaners... the scales just dropped from my eyes. It took 20+ years to learn that pipe cleaners were used to clean, you know, pipes.


So I was a first-year medical student and was late to class and ran in sweating through my oxford shirt and khakis. The lecturer was some esteemed local cardiologist.


I took my stethoscope out and started looking at the little spring thing that connected the two earpieces together trying to figure out why that cheap little part was so important. After WAY longer than it should have, it occurred to me that he was talking about the doctor's brain and dropped my stethoscope like it was hot and hoped no one saw me examining the little spring thing.


I was driving with my wife to her brothers house and had to take a couple detours due to road closures. We drive by a "No Outlet" sign on a street that would turn in the direction of his house and my wife asks me why I didn't go down that street. I'm really confused and just stammer out something like because there is no way out. She is silent for a few moments and then says "Oh, so that's what those are for!" Apparently this whole time, she legitimately thought that the sign "No Outlets" was referring to electrical outlets on the street or something like that. This was baffling of course. This is a woman who got a 4.0 in her extremely competitive graduate school program, whom I consider highly intelligent, definitely more so than I. But she so greatly misunderstood the purpose of the "No Outlet" sign, like she'd never entered a cul-de-sac before.



Those of us who live in New York live this truth on a daily basis.

Sometimes, you just meet a person who isn't quite all there. It's hard to tell at first, but then you talk with them for a little while and it just becomes abundantly clear if they're two eggs short of an omelette.

The stories of how you find out are so interesting. But yet, they teach us to look for clues when we interact with others.

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