Who keeps the metric system down?

I’d like to think that I was a rather curious and inquisitive child. I buried myself in books about dinosaurs and dog breeds, quickly rifling off factoids about everything from the Pachycephalosaurus to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Of course, I had a lot of questions and sometimes the people I asked didn’t know the answer (or just wanted to get rid of me). These harmless lies were debunked later on in my life, but I still remember the anguish I felt when each deceit was eventually revealed.

1. Scallop Is a Tubular Fish

These days, part of my professional career consists of working as a food blogger and restaurant reviewer. While I’m certainly not up to speed on every ingredient in every cuisine, I try to be reasonably knowledgeable and well-rounded. This wasn’t always the case.

The first time I ate a scallop, I knew it was some kind of seafood. Since it wasn’t served with the shell, I had no real sense of context, so I asked what it was. They told me it was fish. That’s partly true, since it’s a shellfish, but then I asked how they managed to get these perfectly circular discs of meat with no bone in them. I was told it was cut that way.

And so, for several years of childhood, I was under the impression that a scallop was eel-shaped and chefs simply cut them up like cucumber slices. Despite the misleading information I was given, scallops are still one of my favorite things to eat from the sea.

2. Druids Are Stonecutters

Before the rise of the Internet, I came to learn a lot about the world through watching The Simpsons. Kang and Kodos illustrated the inherent weakness of a two-party political system. Krusty showed me that clowns laughing on the outside can be seriously hurting on the inside. And the Stonecutters showed us than an elite few can control society at large.

These were not harmless lies. They were illuminating truths.

But when I asked my older brother what druids were, his response was a little misleading: “So, you know the Stonecutters, right? Druids are kind of like that.”

… except aside from the cloaked robes and clandestine meetings, the two groups really have very little in common. I don’t think any of the Stonecutters had magical powers. Well, maybe this guy. We do! We do!

3. Exercise One, Exercise All

Until I hit puberty and got my growth spurt, I was admittedly a somewhat chubby child. Unsurprisingly, this also led to some body image issues, so I wanted to set out (ultimately unsuccessfully) to do something about it. I didn’t know the first thing about fitness aside from the random sports we played in elementary school.

So, I asked my mom. If I lift weights, doing bicep curls for example, will that help with my spare tire? She answered in the affirmative. Again, while not entirely untrue, you really can’t expect that exercising just one part of your body is going to lead to dramatically positive results in another part of your body. I know that now. Not that I’m really doing anything about it.

There are all kinds of things I want to teach my daughter. I want to expose her to the wonders of the dinosaurs and the delights of delicious shellfish. But I won’t tell her that the people who control the British Crown and keep the metric system down are actually magicians from an ancient Celtic religion. They’re clearly Welsh.