February 21, 2023 | Eul Basa

Painfully Oblivious Moments


Nobody can know everything. But some things should be more obvious than others. These people took to Reddit to share their most oblivious facepalm moments. Do you know why pancakes are called pancakes, or what the true purpose of a shower curtain is?


1. Rub-A-Dub

I just noticed that the bathroom I have been using for the past month had a bathtub. It's not hidden or anything, and it takes up a good portion of one side of the room. I just looked at it while brushing my teeth and said to myself “No way, there is a bathtub in here”. I'm sure I've glanced at it before, but never truly looked at it, and never associated the word "bathtub" with it.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

2. Super Soaker

When I moved into my apartment out of college, I forgot that shower curtains were even a thing. This led to my dumbest moment ever. I spent about a month cursing how wet the floor would get when I took a shower and then dutifully wiping it up with paper towels to prevent mold.

This happened every morning. But it gets worse. I went to a Bed Bath and Beyond and asked a cashier if they had anything to prevent water from getting on the floor for showers. She thought I was talking about bath mats and pointed me to the bath section, where I rediscovered shower curtains.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

3. Fancy Town

I got lost driving upstate New York by myself once at 1:00 am. I took a wrong turn trying to get to Route 17, and wound up in a little town that clearly wasn't where I wanted to be. It was a bit foggy and my phone was constantly rebooting and I didn't have a GPS.

Nothing was open. The streets were completely vacant. No signs of life at all. It was a bit creepy. It got creepier. As I was driving around trying to find a way back to the highway, I noticed that there were tuxedo shops everywhere. It seemed like every other shop was a tuxedo shop.

Why would a town need so many tuxedo shops? It got to the point where I was in a near-panic state. I started driving faster through this little town, counting tuxedo shops. I stopped counting at 15 and concluded I was the protagonist in a Twilight Zone episode.

Panic set in. I drove. Anywhere. Anywhere where there isn't a tuxedo shop. Turn around and just keep going. Don't stop. Finally I see the highway. I drive the wrong way up the ramp, cross over the median and get out of there.

Screw the traffic rules. I was going to be trapped in some odd little town seemingly in the middle of nowhere that consisted of tuxedo shops. I was picturing every person coming out wearing tuxedos, trying to get me to stay. Forever.

I finally escaped and got to my destination. I didn't tell a soul about it for about a year. And then I finally figured it out. One day my wife and I were driving the same route and I told her about the strange little town where all the shops were tuxedo shops...Nope, they weren't tuxedo shops at all. Turns out I was just in Tuxedo, New York.

Embarrassing momentPexels

4. Numbers Game

This is one I'm particularly ashamed of. So I got the Sudoku demo cartridge and game quite frequently, always struggling a bit with each game. Sudoku is a great game. I never needed to buy it because the demo version was giving me hundreds of hours of fun in itself! But here's the thing.

In reality, the demo was always just the one game over and over, but for years I would play it thinking I was getting a new game each time. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I just never noticed. And I struggled with each game as if I were playing it for the first time. I should probably have mentioned this to my doctor.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

5. Pop It

Until three weeks ago at the ripe old age of 28, I never knew that Pop Tarts go in the toaster. I thought Pop Tarts was just a clever name. My parents never did that for us; we just took them to school in all their silvery package glory.

So I was bored and reading the pantry one day. Surprise surprise, there were the toaster instructions. The worst part was when I told my fiancée, whose reaction as you could imagine was, "What in the world do you think pop stands for"? I then tried it in the toaster. It was a life-changing moment.

Walmart FactsShutterstock

6. Language Barrier

When I studied in Mexico, my Spanish skills were pretty rudimentary. The first month I was there I somehow confused "lo siento" with "yo serio". This became a big problem. So when I bumped into someone on the street, instead of saying "I'm sorry", I would look at them sincerely and say "I'm serious".

Once I figured this out it explained a lot of strange and offended looks.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

7. Good Night’s Sleep

For many years, I didn't get the double meaning from the Sleepy's mattress commercials: “Trust Sleepy's...for the rest of your life”! Then one day I was driving with my wife, and the commercial came on. I said, "Why would I want a Sleepy's mattress for the rest of my life? Aren't you supposed to replace them every 10 years or so"?

She patiently explained the double meaning, and also that I'm an idiot. Which is apparently true given the evidence.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

8. How Many Is Too Many

For years I thought the word "several" meant seven. For some reason I thought it went couple = two, few = three, several = seven. I thought this until the age of 15 when I was opening a microwave meal and asked, “Why do I have to pierce the film lid seven times? I'm sure it works equally well five, six, or eight times”. I wonder sometimes how I remember to breathe.

Creeped Out in Daylight FactsShutterstock

9. Check Your Surroundings

I used to work from 3:00-11:00. I would get out of work and go to Denny's and grab dinner because it was the only place open in Nashua, New Hampshire, where I lived at the time...is there another reason to go to Denny's???

Anyway, you should know that Nashua is a medium-sized city of 80+ thousand directly on the border, and is not rural New Hampshire. So, I get out of my car and start walking to the door, then I notice something strange. Everyone is looking DIRECTLY AT ME from the restaurant.

EVERYONE. Even the cooks. I check my zipper and it's not open. I look around and nothing. Odd. I keep walking to the door. They start pointing vigorously. I look at my zipper again, then around...NOTHING! Someone opens the door enough to stick their head out and yells, "For God's Sake Get IN HERE"!

I look around and point at myself to say "ME"? I speed up to the door and THEN, reflected in the glass, I see the HUGE bull moose ten feet behind me. Once safely inside I saw it had damaged three cars and was frothing at the mouth (not rabies, we found out later, just confused and angry).

The good news was none of the four other cars he damaged after I got there and before the police showed up and tranqued him were mine.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

10. Ice Ice Baby

I did not know how iced coffee worked. My wife got it all the time but I never had any or got it for her. Just a month, ago she asked me to get her some in a Turkey Hill (local gas station). Then I made my first mistake. I walked in and put some ice cubes into the cup and then proceeded to fill it with hot coffee.

I stared at the cup and was confused. I figured I was doing something wrong but could not figure out what. I ended up going out to the car and asked my wife to assist. It was a shameful Saturday morning and she brings it up often.

Drive Thru FactsNeedpix

11. Got Clocked

In one of my classes in high school, I always used to ask the guy sitting next to me for the time. He would always be able to give me the right time, without looking at his watch or phone, even though I couldn't see a clock anywhere in the room.

I'd ask him how he always knew the time, and he said that he could tell by the positions of the shadows around the room. After a year of believing this, I noticed there was a clock right there on the wall in front of me.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

12. Price Check

Ok, so once or twice a month we order takeout from a burger shop near our house. Every time I call up and make an order, at the end of the conversation, whoever I'm talking to usually says something along the lines of, "Ok that'll be 15 minutes and it's 42".

The number at the end changes every time, and I assumed they were telling me how much it was. I'd do the math on my way there and get confused because it was always wrong. One day, after about six months of this happening, and having ordered a fair bit of food, the young boy said, "Ok thanks, that's 116".

I thought, they can't be serious, we didn't order that much! It became all too clear soon after. I went down and it was about 50 bucks. I asked why they always quote the wrong price, and the lady said loudly, "Oh darling, that's not the price, that's your ticket number" prompting laughs from everyone in the store. D'oh! I think I'd rather pay the $116…

Psycho ExesPexels

13. Unplugged

When I first got my Playstation 3, I had no idea the controllers were wireless. I kept thinking, why did they make the cord so short? I was scrounging USB extenders from work so I didn't have to sit so close to the TV. Eventually I did something and the controller unplugged by accident, and to my surprise it continued to work. I felt like a giant idiot.

My Most Oblivious MomentFlickr, Michel Ngilen

14. Staying Afloat

I'm 31 and have never been a very strong swimmer. I can stay afloat, but getting from point A to point B is cumbersome. A few weeks ago I was in the pool and I realized that although I cup my hands slightly when I swim, flippers aren't like that at all...they're flat blades.

So I straightened out my hands and now they're actually useful. They cut through the water and behave much more like I would expect would be necessary to swim well.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

15. Walking Into Spiderwebs

I'm 26 years old, and probably one year ago I was told that cobwebs were made by spiders. I was shocked. I had no clue! I felt like the dumbest person alive. My initial idea was so, so stupid. I just assumed it was how a certain type of dust formed...now it makes sense, of course.

When you look at it and see it, it's just spider's webs with dust on it. What an idiot.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

16. Stick It Out

I'm a pianist who has been playing for 18 years. I teach private lessons, and a few weeks ago I was teaching my eight year old student to play "Chopsticks" for fun, and she observed, "Oh, it's called 'Chopsticks' because you play with two fingers like they're chopsticks". I was completely dumbfounded. My head fell off.

BonoShutterstock

17. Senior Special

One day when I was in high school, my friend and I were trying to find a place to have lunch. We didn't want to go far from campus since we had class soon. We passed by a restaurant that we hadn’t tried before, and my friend then said, "Hey lets try this place! Plus it's 20% off for seniors"! To which I replied, "Those are for people over 60".

People messed upPexels

18. Time To Towel Off

Q: "What gets wetter the more it dries"? A: "A towel". I didn't really get this riddle for years. In my mind, one uses a towel to dry themselves; a towel doesn't dry you. So, for a long time, I was imagining that the riddle was that a towel that is left to dry doesn't really dry.

You leave it to dry, but the high humidity in the bathroom after you take a hot shower prevents the towel from drying and in fact, it will absorb ambient moisture in the air as it condenses.

I blame poor ambiguous wording for my confusion, but it wouldn't be much of a riddle if it were worded "What gets wetter the more it is used to dry something else".

Not What It Looks Like FactsShutterstock

19. Hands On

I had a teacher who had only two fingers and a thumb on one of his hands in high school, and I didn't notice until I heard some of the other kids talking about it about a month into the semester, despite the fact that the teacher constantly gesticulated with that hand. But that's just the beginning. 

In college, I worked part-time at a coffee shop and had the same thing happen AGAIN. One of my co-workers only had three fingers and a thumb. I never noticed. About a year after I had stopped working there, one of my friends who had also worked there mentioned it in conversation.

I thought he was pulling my leg so I called two other ex-coworkers to verify. Apparently I’m either clueless or I just don't look at people's hands. Or both.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

20. Pump The Brakes

I noticed a few months ago that when you pull on the brakes on a bicycle, it just pulls the metal part inside the wire tighter and that makes the brakes clamp down and stop the tires. I had never noticed how they work. I simply assumed they sent some sort of signal through the “wire” which turned on the brakes. I am 23.

My Most Oblivious MomentUnsplash

21. Size Matters

My grandfather had a small right hand due to a birth defect, as the umbilical cord got wrapped around it in the womb. He used to always tell me, "I have this hand (his left hand) to fit into big jars and this hand (his right, smaller hand) to fit into little jars".

I was probably 18 years old, and he had been gone for years, when I realized he could fit his smaller hand into big jars, too.

Shocking Family SecretsPexels

22. I’m Blue

Our blood never actually turns blue. Textbooks and diagrams just commonly use blue to denote deoxygenated blood so you can tell the difference. But the way this came out was humiliating. Imagine being 33 and trying to explain the concept of why we have a heart to your four-year-old, then having your wife say, "Wait, stop. Did you just tell our kid humans have blue blood? Have you ever gotten a cut in your life”?

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

23. Horsing Around

I just realized that the reason there's always hay matted in horse poop is because horses eat the hay and don't digest it, NOT that there's someone covering it up with hay. I always wondered whose job it was to sprinkle the hay on horse poop when I went for walks on trails. I can't believe it took me so long to piece it together.

What the heck party momentsShutterstock

24. I’m Lovin’ It

When I was about 15, my grandmother and I were driving down the street and we passed a McDonalds. All of a sudden she whips around and says to me, "OH MY GOD, THE MCDONALD'S ARCHES ARE AN M! FOR MCDONALDS"! It seriously blew her mind. She'd been seeing those arches since she was a kid and never once realized that they were an M.

Drive-thru workersUnsplash

25. Weighty Subject

For months, I sat backwards every time I used this one machine at Planet Fitness. The one where you put the pin in the weight stack and then pull down on the handle overhead, like pull-ups for wimps. Well, I just had a big realization. I just discovered I've been doing it backwards all this time.

I had even thought before "Why would they have this so that you have to look at the wall while using it?" I am not a smart man, apparently.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

26. Not So Funny

I thought John Edwards was supposed to be a "psychic comedian". I'd watched the show once or twice and thought, "this dude isn't funny at all". And here's the worst thing. I was working in a TV station that ran the show, so I played ads for it 10-20 times a day. After a solid year of stupid, I told someone and they clued me in. Psychic MEDIUM makes a lot more sense.

Dumb People FactsShutterstock

27. Time Flies

About a week ago, I was texting my girlfriend about a concert we are planning on going to. When I told her the date she said she was looking up the flyer. A little over an hour later, she sends, "Hey is it a two day event"?

I looked at it and said no. She then said, “Yes it is, it has the dates October 24-25”. So I told her to send me the picture of the flyer. It listed the time the event was running as October 24 at 9:00 pm until October 25 at 3:00 am. I then had to explain to her how at midnight the date changes.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

28. Peace and Love

In school they would say that when you meant there was no conflict, you meant to spell it as p-e-a-c-e. But then they would say, "To spell piece as in a 'piece of pie' you spell it p-i-e-c-e". I just realized they use the example, "piece of pie" because the word "pie" is already in the word "piece", thus helping you to not get the letters i and e switched around. I just realized this at age 30.

Crazy True StoriesShutterstock

29. Fueled Up

For years, when I had to fill up my car with gas, I would try to look in the mirrors and remember which side the tank was on, depending on what car I was driving. Naturally, I got it wrong about 40% of the time. And I always thought, "why don't they just put it somewhere?? Take the guessing out of it"!

So, after eight years of driving this way...I was told that they do. There is a clearly marked arrow in the fuel gauge that says which side the little door is on. In every car. Cannot believe it.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

30. Summer Loving

For me, it was the movie 500 Days of Summer. I thought that the title had to do with some deeper meaning about him being in a state of perpetual summer or at least 500 days, summer being the best time of year, etc. The explanation is so simple.

Only after having watched it for the third time did I realize it actually had to do with Zooey Deschanel and the 500 days he was hung up on her. Oh man did I feel dumb.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

31. Got Wheels

When I was a kid, I never knew the handicap symbol was a stick figure in a wheelchair. I have no idea how I didn't see it. Years later I looked at it and had a "NO WAY, IT'S A GUY IN A WHEELCHAIR IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW" moment.

In my defense, you don't have to be in a wheelchair to be handicapped. I feel like the symbol is a misleading generalization that throws stupid children off.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

32. Flapjack Phonics

One day, I was cooking breakfast food with my brother and other roommate at around midnight. My brother was busy making eggs while our roommate cooked pancakes on our stove.

At one point my brother stopped what he was doing and stared at the pancakes cooking and said, "Wait...pancakes. Pan...cakes"! He was left stunned for the next few minutes as his world came crashing down with the realization that the reason pancakes were named pancakes was because they were cakes cooked in a pan.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

33. I Can’t See Clearly Now

Just last morning, I went to put on my glasses and thought "Man, these feel really weird for some reason. Probably because I've been wearing my contacts for a while so I'm just not used to them". I had no idea what was really going on. It took me two hours to realize I was already wearing my contacts when I put on my glasses, since I didn't take them out before I went to sleep.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

34. Get Some Action

My husband’s favorite pizza place in his hometown is called Pizza The Action. I mentioned the play on words once in passing, and he was stunned. He just thought it was called "The Action" with "Pizza" at the beginning for no real reason.

It never once occurred to him to hear "Piece o' the Action". They still make the best donner meat and tandoori chicken pizza.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

35. Potty Panic

I was at a cousin's house somewhere on Long Island. In the bathroom there was a small round switch above the light switch. I figured it was the exhaust switch, but it turns out it wasn't. It was so much worse. Instead it was a silent panic button that is to be pressed in case of emergencies.

Five patrol cars showed up and surrounded the house. By the time I got out of the bathroom after taking a dump, everyone in the house was waiting for me outside the door. So awful. The family I was staying with were upset that I hit that button. But I was like, “Well none of you gave me a heads up what it did”.

The Kids of Helicopter ParentsPexels

36. Rock-Em Sock-Em

As a younger lad, I was putting on socks. I put on one sock and then became absolutely befuddled as to where my other sock had gone. I searched and searched and couldn't find it.

So I finally gave up and decided to put on a different pair of socks. After grabbing a different pair I began to take off my sock, and to my astonishment, there was another sock underneath. I had unknowingly put two socks on one foot without realizing.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

37. Pain In The Foot

I started noticing a sharp pain in my right foot when I stepped too hard on my heel. It persisted for days and seemed to be getting worse over time. I thought that somehow I had broken my heel and had a shard of bone stabbing me whenever I stepped.

I was working on a survey at the time and could not avoid hiking for long periods during the day. Eventually the pain hobbled me and I was limping to avoid putting any weight on my right foot.

I began getting frustrated that my foot wasn't healing and the sharp, stabbing pain wouldn't go away. After about a week I pulled a massive thorn out of the sole of my shoe.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

38. Swept Away

I went about two months silently and internally grappling with the idea that a broom was called a "sweep" as I couldn't remember the word "broom". I kept going back and forth in my head every few days.."It's called a sweep...right? Yeah, it's called a sweep".

I didn't Google or ask anyone, I just kept struggling with it every once in a while. I came home one day and my buddy asked me to pass the broom. My mental facepalm turned into a real one..."What an idiot you are..."

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

39. Sometimes Maybe

For the longest time I would write the word “mabye” in texts or emails, even though the spell-checker would tell me that I was spelling it wrong. I never right-clicked the word to check for the correct spelling because I was absolutely convinced that “mabye” was how it was spelled.

I remember feeling absolutely stupid when I finally figured out that it is actually spelled “maybe”.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

40. Dirty Laundry

This just happened today. I was wearing trouser socks with my pants yesterday and, in a hurry to get into my PJs after being out all day, I just pulled off my jeans, boots, and socks in one swoop.

I decided to wear the same jeans today, but one of my socks must have gotten stuck in the pant leg without me knowing. So I was dragging around a dirty sock most of the day, until one of the guys I work with pointed out I have something sticking out of my pant leg.

I quickly pulled it out hoping it wasn't a pair of panties or something like that because that would have been worse.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

41. Unscripted

In acting class we were given a monologue assignment. These two guys asked the instructor if they could do theirs together. "No, it's a monologue because there's one person talking. More than that and it's a dialogue". I knew the difference between a monologue and a dialogue, but I never thought about why they were called that.

Cringe mpmentsShutterstock

42. Shoo Fly

The huge fans just inside the front doors of big stores (such as Walmart) aren't there to make people nice and toasty on a cold day, or nice and cool on a hot day. Their true purpose blew my mind. They are actually there to keep insects out of the store.

My husband is a culinary arts major and just took a sanitation class where he learned this. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen a fly in Walmart…

Secret Possessions ExposedShutterstock

43. In The Clouds

I never really thought about this until last week when I flew down to see my family for Christmas, but I always kind of figured that some clouds were darker than others since they contain more water (water=blue=darker).

It was not until my plane flew over all of the dark clouds that I realized that they're all the same color, but the more water they carry, the less light they let through. It kind of blew my mind in an embarrassing kind of way.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

44. In The Dark

This one makes me feel really really stupid but...I thought since the purpose of a curtain was to keep light out of your house, the purpose of a shower curtain was to keep light out while you're showering. I guess growing up, I thought showers were supposed to be taken in the dark.

How was I supposed to know? Fast forward to when I was 19. I was showering at a friend's house when I looked up and noticed he had a light inside of his shower, directly above the shower head.

I finish bathing, walk out to a room full of friends, and say, "What's the point of having a shower curtain if you have a light above you anyway"? Cue my friends explaining to a 19-year-old man what the purpose of a shower curtain is.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

45. Geography Lesson

In eighth grade, my mom was driving me home from school when we came upon a stoplight. The car in front of us had an Alaska license plate. I proved what an idiot I was instantly. I immediately asked, “How did that get here”? My mom stared at me for a bit before replying with, “They drove here…”?

Until that moment, I had no idea Alaska was hooked to Canada. I always thought it was an island because the only maps used in school had Hawaii and Alaska in a box at the bottom left. I blame the school system.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

46. Summer Of Sound

I learned embarrassingly late in the game (probably mid-teens) that the long, whining sound I hear during the day every summer is made by an insect called the cicada. I don't know how common these are in other countries/climates. I...really just never gave it much thought. I thought it was just a sound that "summer" made.

My Most Oblivious MomentPexels

47. Sitting On The Throne

When I was being toilet trained I had figured out that the little child-sized toilet seat was step one of toilet training, and step two, of course, was sitting on the bigger adult-sized toilet seat. Boy was I proud of myself when in no time I was at step three, sitting on the bare porcelain all by myself! It wasn't till about 16 that I realized I had been doing it wrong.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

48. Parent Panic

Once, when my daughter was young, I was carrying her around a pet store admiring the caged beasts, when I suddenly panicked. Where is my daughter? I started checking the adjacent aisles, feverishly searching for her.

She was just here a second ago! Did somebody snatch her? My mind was racing. By now my wife had noticed my strange behavior and asked what was wrong. I said "Where is our daughter”?! Her answer made me blush.

She just stared at me with a concerned look. It took a second for my mind to right itself. I slowly turned my head to the bundle in my arm. My mind was blown. I was so used to carrying this little person that my brain just forgot that I was holding her. That was the most bizarre thing that I have ever experienced.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

49. Unlucky Lunch

I was getting a sandwich made at Subway and I noticed the girl sandwich maker kept staring at me. She couldn't take her eyes off me. She was kind of cute, so I thought man, I'm gonna come back and ask her out someday. The real reason was incredibly embarrassing. I get into my car and in the rearview mirror I see that a HUGE white booger is hanging from one nostril. I didn't go back to that Subway for months.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

50. TP Terror

One time before class I decided I would quickly go to the bathroom, and back then I liked to make a nest with toilet paper before I sat down for a deuce. Anyways, I finished up and went to class. I was a bit late, but no big deal...although everyone saw me walk in late.

After class, I caught up with one of my friends, and he kindly pointed out that I had a strand of toilet paper from my nest caught in my pants, which was hanging out behind me like a big white tail of shame.

My Most Oblivious MomentShutterstock

Sources: Reddit, ,


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