As everyone’s parents taught them, the internet is a barren, godless wasteland where you can’t look up the recipe for a nice coconut cream pie without some very careful wording (never skip the “coconut”). Coming across a true moment of innocence online is as charming as it is disconcerting.
Several recent Reddit posts asked people for the most startling displays of innocence that they had ever seen.
The responses ranged from cute to cringeworthy, from understandable to incomprehensible, from small to seismic. We collected the best stories for your reading pleasure!
1. “I was in third grade when we were having a lesson about addiction (the Catholic school version that doesn’t discuss drugs, alcohol, etc). So at some point, the teacher asked what people in our lives are addicted to, I remember proudly raising my hand because I got the concept. I proudly said, “My mom is addicted to Coke.” My mother, who drinks at least 3 cans of Coca-Cola a day, got a call from a very concerned teacher that afternoon and I got a lesson in what drugs are from my parents that night. My mom still laughs about it to this day. (tilltonightdouspart)”
2. “Was living in a not-so-nice area of the city with three roommates. Well, we here heading home one day when we passed a bunch of guys walking down the street with baseball bats. My one roommate says, “How are they going to play baseball with no gloves or balls?” Had to explain to him the area we live in and that someone is about to have a really bad day.” (Ulfbrand)
3. “My friend was cuddling with this guy and watching a movie. She recounted the story to us later and told us, “It was weird. It felt like his heart was beating in his pants!” This was freshman year of college. I wish I was kidding. (slothwhispererr)”
4. “When I was about five I was working in the garden with my mom. About 20 min in, I was walking over to my mom and I tripped over the gardening tool and shouted at the top of my lungs, “Get out of my way, you dumb hoe.” My mother turned around and started yelling until she looked down and saw the hoe. The next ten minutes were teaching time…” (JoshB657)
5. “I used to babysit my neighbor’s daughter, and one time when she was three, she asked me to “give her a f**k”. WHAT?! “Give me a fuck,” she said. I told her that wasn’t a nice thing to say, and she lets out a huge sigh and replies with, “Give me a f**k, PLEASE!!!” She wanted a fork.” (ekando)
6. “When my younger brother was around 11, we were playing a round of Wii bowling with my family. My brother had hit three or four strikes in a row, and after hitting the fifth he turns around and yells, “I’ve found the g spot!” I’ve never seen my mom turn red as quick as that, and my dad did a picture perfect spit-take. One hushed conversation later, and we still give my brother a hard time whenever we play Wii bowling.” (RazedSoul)
7. “I was at a military summer camp and staying in a squad bay with around 20 other girls. As teenage girls are wont to do, we began playing Never Have I Ever, and one girl said, “Never have I ever given head.” Many fingers went down (we didn’t have alcohol to play with), but one girl looked disgusted and didn’t put her finger down. So the girl I was sharing a bunk with asks her if she’s ever given head.
The girl looks at us with the most offended expression and says, “No, I don’t do drugs.” That was the end of that discussion. She put in earplugs and went straight to bed. I can honestly say that I’ve never been so speechless in my life.” (Hugh_Jas97)
8. “I fully believed in Santa until I was eighteen and my parents finally broke it to me. Nobody bothered to tell me. Mom and dad thought that I’d figure it out on my own, but I didn’t. According to my parents, the tooth fairy stopped coming to our house because one of our cats attacked her, though by then I had already lost all of my baby teeth.” (Crazylittleloon)
9. “There’s this Dolly Parton movie from the early 90s where she becomes a popular radio talk show host. In one scene someone challenges her credentials and asks where she got her degree from. She says “I went to Screw You” (because get it? Screw U). Anyway, I saw this movie when it came out but I was 8 and assumed “screw you” simply meant “none of your business.” Shortly after seeing this movie I was talking with my parents and my sister walked in and asked what we were talking about. I answered “We were talking about screw you” and it did not go over well with my parents.” (srstone71)
10. “I was visiting relatives out of town. The easiest route back home was to travel some back country roads instead of the highway. As I was leaving I told my aunt that I thought I would stop at a farm stand and pick up some fresh corn. My 25-year-old cousin piped in, “Corn? Don’t be stupid. Corn comes from the supermarket.”
I waited for her to laugh. She didn’t. She was serious. As I was leaving I heard my aunt explaining how supermarkets work.” (sbarto)
11. “So, one day, my sister told me (a lesbian) about the lesbian joke her potty-mouthed boss had told: “What do you call a girl who doesn’t eat meat? A lesbian!” I thought it was a funny play on the fact that a lot of lesbians are vegetarians, and I told it to several different people. It took me until a year later, in the middle of telling it to several of my co-workers, to realize that that was not, in fact, the meat they were referring to. I’m an idiot.” (Avocado_Toast)
12. “My nephew was around 4 when he got a dog. Unfortunately, it passed away in a year or so. In my native language (Kannada), dying is worded “satt (dead) hogodu (to go)”. My translation is terrible, but “hogodu” means to go. So you’ll plan for something like “mall hogodu” means let’s go to the mall.
When he was told “satt hoitu”, he thought it will come back after a few hours or day. A few weeks after the dog’s death he is talking to me and says “leo (name of the dog) satt hogi (went) yesht divasa (so many days) aitu, vapas (return) bandilla (not come)” (Translation) Leo has gone to death for so many days, he has not come back till now. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that death is final and Leo wasn’t coming back.” (ashoasfohasf)
13. “We were in the car and I turned on the radio and before I could change the channel, the guy in the song said something about clapping using no hands. My 4 year old said, “Well you could clap with your arms or with your legs but since he said no hands he probably means no feet too so I guess just your arms or legs”. It was cute.” (fufabunny)
14. “I bought a car off Craigslist that was a little bit of a lemon, and was telling my mom that I felt like I got screwed over by the guy who sold it to me.
A couple months later, I was in the grocery store with my son and apparently, there was a guy who looked similar to the guy from Craigslist, so my son asked me at full four-year-old volume,
“Hey, Mom! Is that the guy that screwed you?!”‘ (Merry_Pippins)
15. “Every time someone in the family dies, my grandma lights a couple of candles in front of a photo of that person on a table next to the dining area. One day she did the same with a painting of Jesus, as she didn’t have the picture of the person who had died that day. My little cousin came into the dining room and asked, “Oh, no! Is God dead?” He sounded very anguished. (aballofunicorns)
16. “I went to university in a podunk town that is about 3 hours from any major city. On a field trip, a former home-schooled kid was looking very confused as we were passing some signs of civilization. All of a sudden, he said: “They have McDonald’s outside of Podunk Town?” No one really knew what to say except…uh yeah! I can’t imagine how sheltered his life must have been growing up…..” (MindfulRifle)
17. “For me, it was when I was ten and someone in school said something about “adult videos.” I asked my parents, who then said it was something that made adults happy. I thought they were trying to condescend to me, so I later went on my dad’s computer and googled it because I thought I was adult enough and wanted to be happier. I was not ready…” (Dr_LordBastion)
18. “I used to live in Houston which has terrible city planning. We lived in a nice apartment next to a really cheap one that always seemed to have a cop car in the parking lot with the lights going. There was a massive fence between us. One day, my husband and I are playing cards and we heard a loud bang. I got all excited, “Hey! Fireworks.” No, honey. No.” (deleted)
19. “My wife and I took our then 3-year-old son to his first rugby game. He was wide-eyed and loving it, but a bit nervous about all the noise the crowd (around 13,000) was making. There followed the following conversation:
Son: Why are all the people shouting?
Me: They’re shouting to support the players and because they’re excited.
Me: You can shout too if you like.
The image of the little man bellowing MAMA at the top of his lungs to a packed rugby stadium will stay with me.” (Georgeisthecoolest)
20. “I guess this is more of a case of me sheltering someone else, but here goes. When I got engaged, my very Catholic mother whispered to me “Has he tried to kiss you yet?” I’m a semi-famous dominatrix, and have been since three years before she asked that question.” (misskinky)
21. “When I was in 6th grade, two of my classmates were using a school laptop in the library. I was on a desktop computer on the other side of the library and I couldn’t see what they were watching, but they were giggling and pointing at their screen. My buddy (let’s call him Vegemite) walks by behind them, and immediately I see him jump back with his hands up like he had no part in what they were doing. Then Vegemite walks over to me:
Me: What’s going on over there?
Vegemite: They’re watching porn
My vocabulary was awfully limited so naturally…
Me: They’re watching corn?
Right after I said that the two kids got caught by the teacher. She yelled at them, told them to grab their backpacks and go to the principal’s office.
Me: Dude, Vegemite, they were only watching corn. Wtf?
Then the bell rang for recess, Vegemite went back to his homeroom and I went back to mine. I told everyone during recess about the injustice that I saw: kids getting busted for watching corn.
Recess ends and there’s a bunch of chitter chatter in class. Until some kid yells “Stop lying! They wouldn’t get in trouble for watching corn!!”
My homeroom teacher stands up. The class becomes dead silent. Then she asks what everyone’s talking about. All heads turn towards me, and I told her the convo Vegemite and I had.
She couldn’t stop laughing and I didn’t understand why.” (adn762)
22. “I work in a hospital, and one day, this 17-year-old girl is there for vomiting. Pregnancy test comes back positive, she says that’s impossible. Doctor asks her if she is sexually active, and her boyfriend in the room (who I thought was a brother or something) pipes up and says they are. THE GIRL HAD NO IDEA WHAT LED TO PREGNANCY…” (tusig1243)
23. “I was ushering my class outside for field day, and everybody is joking and having a good time, when suddenly I hear, “You dildo!” I pull the culprit aside and ask them if they knew what they were saying. They said they didn’t know what the word meant, and I believed them – a lot of kids that age parrot what they hear without understanding the meaning. So, not wanting to ruin the kids’ day, I talked to them about not using words we’re unsure about and had him sit out of the first two activities. No biggie, problem solved.
We’re having fun with the class when the principal walks up. The principal had been talking with the kid and asked me why the kid was sitting out. I explained the situation, but the principal still didn’t understand what the problem was. The principal thought it was referring to an armadillo.” (Nemesys2005)
24. “A couple of years ago with my old roommate, her bedroom and the girl next door’s bedroom shared a wall. For an entire year, she kept complaining about how she was rearranging her furniture all the time while playing loud music and also suspected that her fiancé beat her.
One night she asks me to put my ear to the wall and listen… No, she wasn’t screaming because he was beating her. The bed did creak pretty loudly, but there was no way you could not know why the headboard was banging on the wall.
It’s adorable how oblivious she was.” (R9014)