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If you've been following along with my writing, you'll know that I talk about my childhood and my family a lot. One of the things that comes up repeatedly is that my family encouraged some "strange" beliefs in me as a kid because they thought it was kind of funny. They totally let me believe that the moon followed me around individually because it loved me so much.


For years I never questioned that I was the "moon Princess." I never treated it like it gained me any special powers or anything, just like it was my job to be the one to talk to the moon and make sure it was in a good mood and knew it was loved. I treated it kind of like having a celestial puppy.

That moment when I suddenly realized there was no actual way this was a fact blew my mind - not only at how long my family could let an inside joke run, but at how much it proved I was gullible. I never questioned my parents, why would I? They could just ... lie to me like that? What? Mind. Blown.

One Reddit user asked:

What was your biggest mindblowing moment as a child?

And honestly I feel a little bit better. I guess we all needed to learn. Here are some of the answers I found most comforting.

Child Actors Exist!?

I thought that when there was a flashback in a movie with a younger version of the characters, they filmed it when they were actually that age, then just waited until they grew up to film the rest. I was not a smart child.

- kevo0088

The Hedges

Giphy

For me sarcasm. I always thought people were 100% honest all the time, and never believed people were lying to me, or had any notion of people being sarcastic.

I remember when I was retrieving a soccer ball in my neighbour's garden when I was roughly 7/8 years old, I had to walk back through a dense hedge. While I was walking on some of the branches of the hedge, he said "that's just perfect, try to break even more of them."

At this moment I just started breaking all of them genuinely thinking that's what he wanted.

... fair enough, maybe I wasn't the smartest kid on the block...

- Mr-Bushido-

"Where Do The Heads Go?" 

That dead bodies are buried whole, and not just the body apart from the head. I just always assumed that the word "body" only meant your lower body and did not include the head.

I ended up making my aunt laugh at a funeral when she told me: "This is where they bury the bodies of deceased people", to which I responded with: "Ok, but where do the heads go?" She still tells this story every time she sees me...

- IcarusArt

Mom

Learning my mom had a name other than mom, and that all moms weren't just automatically given the legal name mom when they became a mother.

- Bingotron5000

Sacrificing For Your Art

I couldn't understand why people wanted to be actors. I thought that once you died on screen, they killed you in real life. And then I saw the same guy in a second movie after he died in a previous one, and it all clicked.

- stengebt

"When Will I Start To Change Color?" 

I have a half brother who is 8 years older than me and black. I am white. I always assumed that i was going to become black as i got older. I remember asking him around age 9 "when will i start to change color?" and him telling me its not how it works. Mind was blown and i was very disappointed.

- -The_White_Rabbit-

Ignorance

My grandmother claimed the computer mouse was electrocuting her and she didn't want to use it. I was perplexed, because obviously it was not and if she tried more she could tell. She refused. She never learned to even turn off our computer.

I think it was the first time I saw real ignorance from an adult I respected, and it lowered them in my eyes. A little bit of youthful innocence died then.

- yokayla

The Wonders Of Space

Giphy

Learning that our sun is just another star.

- MysteryNinjaCat


For me, it was when I found out that we live on a planet. It made me feel really small and kind of creeped out. Like maybe we're the aliens.

- plural_of_nemesis


Same! I had already known that "Earth" was a planet, but I didn't know we lived on it, I thought we were just on the ground and Earth was one of the planets in the sky.

- hypo-osmotic


Nobody Has The Answers

My mom broke down a bit during the divorce when I was ~13. She told me "I don't know what we're going to do, we might have to move, I don't know how to make any of this work, but I'll always keep you safe." That's when it really hit me that all of us are just doing the best we can, nobody has all the answers, and a whole lot of this life is just figuring it out and doing the best you can as you go. In the course of that year that followed, lots of the pieces about who I wanted to be, what kind of person I wanted to be, and what kind of difference I wanted to make started to fall in line.

- firefly212

Lessons From Pompeii

Learning that children could die. I was 4.

We were in a hotel and we were watching a documentary about Pompeii, and it showed a clip of mothers with their children running from the pyroclastic flow with a narration describing the agony with which these thousands of people died.

I asked if the kids died too.

My mom told me that they did.

I thought only old people and soldiers could die. It just didn't connect that people could die as children. I think it was because I still believed in God back then, and thought that he wouldn't let that happen. It didn't make sense to me.

- Dickcheese_McDoogles


Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Now that college has become a standard requirement for so many jobs and careers, there is a massive push by high schools to get their graduating students accepted and enrolled at an undergraduate college.

On the whole, that's undoubtedly a great thing. A more educated workforce will be prepared to solve the most complex issues facing human beings in the next several decades.

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Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The person on the other end of a 911 call has a truly remarkable job.

For those who don't play that professional role, we hope to never encounter the 911 call interaction. But if we do find ourselves making that call, the moment is an anomaly in our lives.

The chaos, the panic, the racing heart, and the desperation are all emotions we, ideally, don't experience on a regular basis.

But for the operator on the other end, our call is one in a long line of calls they've received all day, and all the workdays before that one.

It's difficult to imagine being embedded in those uniquely urgent, emergency moments all the time.

Some Redditors who are on the other end of that call shared their experiences on the job.

WhimsicalxxButcher asked, "911 dispatchers what has been your most creepy/unnerving call?"

For a few, the most unnerving moments were the calm callers.

There was something just so eerie about how level-headed the faceless human being on the other end could be through such a desperate, tragic moment.

Almost Clinical 

"I had a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher and he always said the worst call he ever had was a ~20 year old kid who committed suicide by mixing a bunch of chemicals together in his car to produce hydrogen sulfide gas."

"He said that the most unnerving part was hearing him calmly listing off the chemicals, the type of gas produced, and the effects of hydrogen sulfide on the body (namely the almost instant death it causes at high concentrations)."

"He ended the call by providing the address of the parking lot he was in and saying that nobody should approach the vehicle without hazmat equipment."

"Apparently after that there was a whooshing sound as he dumped the last chemical into the mix, and then the line went dead silent aside for a quiet fizzing noise."

"I know that call screwed him up because he almost never talks about stuff that happens to him on the job. He quit a few months later to go into construction management, and frankly I can't blame him."

-- iunoyou

Planned Out 

"A woman called me, saying she was going to kill herself. She was gassing herself. Gave me her name & address then said she was just going to lie down and 'go to sleep.' And stopped responding to me."

"I kept the line open, trying to get her to speak to me, and eventually heard officers forcing their way in to find her body. I guess she just wanted someone to find her body."

-- mozgw4

Before It Set In 

"When I got a call from a 6 year old who got home from school and laid down to take a nap with his dad. His dad never woke up."

"The kid was so calm when calling it broke my heart."

"I ended up leaving dispatch shortly after. I was good at compartmentalizing the job for the year I was doing it, but it would've broken me in the long run."

-- tasha7712

Other 911 operators were unfortunate enough to receive a call from the very last person they wanted to hear from: a loved one.

These dispatchers' unique position gave them the unexpected access to a family member or friend at their most dire moments.

No More of That 

"My family member is a long time first responder, and 'retired' into doing dispatch. He heard the address (someone else was taking the call) and realized it was his daughter's house."

"He rushed over there just in time to see them wheeling her body out. Overdose."

"Five months later, he was called to his ex-wife's place because his grandson (son of the daughter who recently passed) had his door locked, lights on, but wasn't responding to his grandma."

"He broke the door down and found him deceased in bed. Overdose."

"He's very stoic after years of all sorts of traumatic situations but my heart hurts whenever I think of what all of this must have felt like. Like sand through your fingers."

-- bitchyhouseplant

Knowing the Address

"Not me, but my grandma. I was sitting in the dispatch office, (very small one only 2 dispatchers including my grandma) but she put out a dispatch that there was a gun shot from my best friends address."

"My heart sank to my stomach and broke later that day. He committed suicide."

-- OntaiSenpuu

When it Happened 

"My uncle passing away. Worked as a small town dispatcher for a year or so. Had a bunch of messed up stuff happen on shift, but this call came in in the still hours of the night. Small town, so not many calls after midnight."

"I answered and recognized the name and address on caller id. Aunt was in a frenzy so didn't recognize my voice. I remained calm and got ems and fire rolling to them, but by my aunt's own words he was already blue."

"I went thru debriefing and mandated therapy for a couple other things that happened, but never really talked to anyone about this. I just try not to think about it."

"That was the call I figured out I needed to find a different job."

-- dangitjon

Finally, some simply had a front row seat to sudden tragedy.

These operators were flies on the wall when disaster struck. They never asked to witness what they witnessed, but sometimes that came with the territory.

A Holiday Tragedy 

"My mom is a 911 dispatcher. Early on she said one Christmas Eve while working she got a call from an elderly lady who's husband had just collapsed(and died) from a heart attack and in the background Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music was playing on blast."

"The lady was screaming and crying and begging for her husband to wake up but my mom could hear his gurgling in his last breathes. She doesn't listen to or watch Alvin and the chipmunks since."

-- Blueflowerbluehair

What is it About Christmas?

"Christmas night. 911 call with crying child on the other end. A neighbor had run her car over her mom during a domestic."

"The mom crawled to the porch bleeding and the child saw the car coming back. I had her hide quietly in a closet with the cordless phone."

"The 10 year old child was crying and screamed that she hated Christmas. She was afraid of the police when they got there."

"I kept her on the phone until she felt safe enough to give the phone to an officer. I almost fainted after that call was over. Had nightmares for a while."

-- 2FunBoofer

Close to Home 

"Not a dispatcher but I handle radio communications for the Coast Guard. One night I was on the radio and got a call from an 11 year old kid whose boat had started to sink. He was out with his dad and 6 year old brother."

"They had been hit by another boat and his father got knocked unconscious. I remember the entire conversation up until the radio had gone underwater."

"They ended up finding his dad floating on his back alive but the two boys didn't make it. That one really fu**ed with me because my two littlest brothers were around the same age as the youngest."

-- HIRSH2243

A Horrible Clock 

"Another one that stays with me was the man who called in. It was the anniversary of his adult son having hanged himself. He'd now come home to find his wife had done the same."

"That date is always going to be a black day for him."

-- mozgw4


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Again, we hope you never have to use the 911 call in your life. Nobody wants to be involved in a sudden emergency or a tragic incident.

But hopefully, if you do, an operator like one of these thoughtful, sensitive Redditors is on the other end.

Image by Nguyen Dinh Lich from Pixabay

When I was moving on from middle school to high school my parents had me tested for the "gifted" program. By some miracle I passed and was accepted. And then I turned it down. Everyone was irritated. "This will pave the way for any college you want! You'll learn so much!" his path will set you up for life!" Every adult tried valiantly to sell me this merchandise but in my gut I just wasn't buying it. So I "settled" a level below, merely advanced classes. And upon reflection... it was the best choice I ever made.

Redditor u/dauntlessdaisy was wondering how far some in life got by asking... For those of you who were considered "gifted" in school, what are you doing with your life now?
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Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

There's a million things that can happen to you while out on on the road.

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