I was listening to the podcast of This American Life today on my lunch, and one of the topics was those under-examined beliefs we hold- such as the word "XING" not actually being a word that you would say "Zing", and how one girl thought that unicorns were real and wasn't disabused of this notion until one fateful cocktail party conversation concerning endangered species exposed her ignorance (can you imagine!). I of course brought it up at work and we talked about our own areas of non-expertise.
One such gem- as a kid, one of my co-workers thought that the hospital was called "Cedars-Cyanide", which he figured was either some medical term, or was just ok because cyanide was probably scientific somehow.
Another, mentioned by a wandering coworker, was as a child he kept wondering why people kept going to that town called gunpoint if they kept getting robbed there. I loved that one. It's so obvious, isn't it? I mean, why would anyone go there, right?
My own ignorance was related to the human body. My aunt had diabetes, and there was constant talk of her possibly needing a kidney transplant. I had no concept of any sort of inside to my body, and I knew from what everyone said you had two kidneys, so I figured, what do I have two of that doesn't have a name? So of course I figured that a kidney was a butt cheek. I also considered the problem of sitting with only one butt cheek and I came up with the idea that you would just need a fake butt cheek, maybe made out of foam, or pillows or something. Eventually, and I can't remember when but I'm sure I was embarrassed, knowing my family, I learned the truth.
It is nice to know I'm not the only one, sometimes.