Wednesday, November 18, 2009

transparency

gatea
Someone once told me that glass, though it seems solid, is actually a very slow flowing liquid. If you examine the stained glass panels in medieval cathedrals, you'll find that they're slightly thicker on the bottom, supposedly showing how, over the centuries, the glass imperceptibly dripped from top to bottom.

However, while it turns out that the nature of glass is an improbably controversial (and, at least to me, all but impenetrable) topic, if it is a liquid, you certainly can't prove it by looking at old windows.

In fact, using the technologies of the time, medieval glass makers were simply unable to produce sheets of glass of a uniform thickness. And so they installed the glass thicker side downward because it balanced better that way.

And the moral of which is that, while, as Yogi Berra said, you can see a lot just by looking, sometimes what's most misleading is what's right in front of your eyes. It's like the marksman who amazed visitors by showing them a series of bullet holes in the side of his barn, each shot exactly in center of a bull's eye. When asked how he did it, he said, It's easy. You just fire a shot at the barn. And then you paint a target around it.


Have you ever been absolutely sure about something, but, you later learned, were totally, completely, entirely wrong?

23 comments:

areyoukiddingme said...

Yes. More than once. Wish I could remember the circumstances...

slouchy said...

It hasn't happened yet, but I absolutely believe that it can, and will.

Anonymous said...

Yes yes yes! I thought my sister having a baby would bring us closer but we are now not speaking at all.

-e

Ali said...

oh yes, a few time :-)

my husband really likes to point it out (more than once) when it happens!

angie said...

Yes, I believed that I was too healthy and strong to have a stillborn baby.

leanne said...

Yes. Sometimes bad things happened to me or my family that I thought only happened to other people. Sometimes I was a pessimist and was surprised when things turned out okay.

Kristin said...

Oh yes, I've had that happen and it was heartbreaking.

Wishing 4 One said...

Sadly yes. And i could not believe it.

Aurelia said...

Well, I used to think that I was fertile. I thought that I could get pregnant, easy as pie.

I also used to think that I was stupid. Really really lazy and stupid.

Wrong on both counts. Funny how life goes.

Magpie said...

Never!

Or maybe. But I can't remember.

charmedgirl said...

absolutely. the only thing i really know now is i don't know shit about shit.

Maggie said...

That, dear niobe, is the story of my life.

Amelie said...

The glass story is great, I never knew the second part, and my brother loves such stories.
I'm also sure that this has happened to me, but cannot remember the details.

Which Box said...

Daggone, I believed that glass story! I in fact was nodding right along thinknig how smart Niobe is to know this about glass and them bam. I took fluids. Glass flows, doesn't it? Now I will have to do some research (ie, google).

So, obviously, yes. Probably quite often.

Anonymous said...

I was absolutely, positively sure that the universe would come to a stand-still if my husband left me. WRONG.

I also thought I was happy in that marriage. SO WRONG.

I swore up and down I would never move back to the East Cost - oh, very wrong.

I thought I needed to use birth control to prevent pregnancy. In fact, I thought that for 30+ years. HAhaha - Oh God - wrong again!!

Aunt Becky said...

Frequently.

Anonymous said...

yep

painted maypole said...

are you implying that I'm wrong? or that I have been wrong?

jill said...

I'm sure I have but I can't think of the situations (though the glass story might be one!). I do have two vaguely related stories though:

A few years ago we were helping friends house-hunt and we went to look at this incredibly old, falling apart, 10,000 sq ft building. It used to be a house, it had servant's quarters and back, narrow servant's stairs, 4 floors, tons of water damage, missing pieces of floor, etc. It was amazing, even in its unlivable state. And, the (original) windows were all much thicker at the bottom than at the top. The tops were almost paper thin and many had broken on top.

Love the marksman story - it made me think of a family story about me. I was 3 or 4 and playing with a rubik's cube in the back seat of our car. When my mom turned around to find the cube completely solved, she was stunned and started to question me until she realized I had been peeling all the colored stickers off and replacing them in the correct spots :)

jill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
niobe said...

Jill: I absolutely adore that rubik's cube story!

Meg said...

i did that with my rubik's cube, too! though it didn't fool anyone. ;)

Sarah said...

i always thought the glass thing was true so there's one.

as a kid i was so afraid of being wrong that i would rather be mute and look like an idiot than answer a question even if i was pretty sure i had the right answer. of course that doesn't protect you from being wrong, just from anyone else knowing. being willing to be wrong is something i kind of embrace now.

i guess the most upsetting is finding out you were totally wrong about someone you gave your trust or your heart.