Saturday, October 15, 2005


Every day without conscious awareness, we all harvest ideas from people around us that we stash in our heads. And then, if we are reasonably discriminate thinkers, eventually we turn to a set of encyclopedias or other resources to find out if the information we have stashed is true or false.

Now I have some pretty uncommon notions in my head, that I have gleaned over the years and with so many notions to sift through, there are quite a few that I have neglected to check the authenticity of. It’s pretty evident to me that if I had existed prior to navigation of the globe, by now I would have written several posts warning you with all seriousness not to step off the edge.

But that notion was cleared up some time ago. I know the earth is round and none of you are in danger of tumbling off the edge. But in thinking about this, other examples of notions that I have not verified come to mind. I was once told that hummingbirds are too small to buffet winds and weather to migrate to their winter resort so they travel by secretly stowing away under the wings of bigger birds. That is a notion that I have some skepticism about but I have never verified if it is truth or fiction. Other notions I have never verified; the notion that heaven is up; the notion that God is in those heavens; that Jesus actually came to earth in a space ship and when he was crucified, he went into a deep coma. By cooling his body in a dark cave, he recovered and the next day he was gone from his tomb because he was spirited away for further medical treatment on his home planet. That the wheel-within-a-wheel mentioned in the Bible was actually a space ship. I have the notion that Henry the VIIth died a horrible death from leg ulcers caused by syphilis. These are notions, many of which I harbor with a great deal of skepticism. But my purpose in telling you this is to provide enough examples for you to know what I mean.

But the other thing about the notions I have in my head is how they affect my perception of what is right and what is absurd. Particularly from a visual perspective. When I see a man in a well-tailored suit, I assume he is a successful business-man. The woman in the mini skirt with the fishnet stockings is probably a hooker. The man driving the mauve Cadillac is probably a pimp. The old man with a tattoo is probably an old soldier. The young person with a tattoo is probably a street-hardened individual, a biker, or someone who once belonged to a gang. You see, no matter how much I may wish to think I am not guilty of stereotyping, I am. Even if the limit of my stereotyping is if a doctor has greasy hair or a wrinkled smock, he is not a good doctor.

Some of the above notions are pretty indelicate, but there are more. Notions that people don’t even talk about. Notions that I hesitate to share with you. But today I have decided to break my code of silence.

One notion I have, stemmed from a conversation with a Professor of Women’s Studies. She told me that tongue piercing is not just decorative, it has purpose. One purpose is to enhance oral sex stimulation in lesbian relationships and the other purpose is to signal to others in a crowd that one is lesbian. To me that notion suddenly made tongue ornaments as absurd as young men hooking condoms to their fly-zippers and walking around that way.

So with ever-increasing abhorrence on my part to tongue piercing and the ever-increasing acceptance of tongue piercing by the general public, yesterday I just had to start looking for the truth in this matter. In doing so, I discovered that the Professor was right in part – about the oral sexual stimulation thing – but I found nothing to support the rest of her theory.

But I did find something even more far-fetched. Something that really makes me cringe. Particularly since no one idolized Queen Victoria and her husband’s moral righteousness more than my Mother. The information I found was about Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, and his body-piercing escapades. Something that today is still referred to as the "Prince Albert piercing".

I discovered that in Victorian times, men of high fashion wore skin-tight trousers and in order to prevent their private parts from creating an unsightly bulge a craze developed that is as wild and woolly as any I have ever heard. Prince Albert favored tight pants so he had a hook called a "dressing ring" attached to his penis so that it could be modestly hooked (after all the Victorian era was all about modesty) to one side of his trousers rather than immodestly forming a lump in the crotch area.


Egads. Isn’t that appalling? After that kind of trivia, guess what I’m going to do with the rest of my crazy notions. I’m certainly not going to do any more research. I’m just going to independently decide when to hold them and when to fold them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my brief look on the Internet, I found one source which stated that Henry VII died of tuberculosis in 1509. You probably need to confirm that with other sources before you can ditch your "notion" that he died of syphilis.

I suspect that we all have some of those notions, naughty and not. I think my mother called them a "child's garden of misinformation." Frankly, I could have gone a long time without knowing that Prince Albert was pierced, or WHY he was pierced.


12:18 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Hi Buffy,

Perhaps, it is evident from this blog that I've dedicated "too much time" already to the study of Kings and Queens. Obviously your mother recognized the infectious nature of misinformation enough to even give it a name. Much wisdom on her part.

9:40 AM  
Blogger plumleigh said...

Yikes! You do have some notions... :)
When I was reading this post, it made me realize that I have, on occasion, strung unverified notions together and presented them as fact. Not intentionally... but there's a slight nervousness in my stomach after the fact, and then the thought leaps to my mind "What if that first bit wasn't really true- I should have checked!"

7:05 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

I admit it plumleigh, yes -- I do have some notions. I think all of us do but maybe we're just to busy to contemplate them. Some days I must have too much free time.

1:46 AM  

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