So then…just as we exit the Stephen Hawking bio-pic, “The Theory of Everything,” I overhear this exchange between my teen kids:
Chloe: He only wrote one book? I thought he wrote TONS of books!
Tucker (facepalm): That’s Stephen King. This movie’s about Stephen HAWking.
Me (distancing myself from them, hoping no one thinks I’m related)
Much later, after the laughter subsides, I say to Chloe:
Me: Did you really think the movie was going to be about Stephen King, the horror writer?
Me: Didn’t you think it was strange when the Stephen in the movie got so sick?
Chloe: I thought maybe his illness is why his books are so dark!
Me: What about all the physics stuff?
Chloe: Yeah, that was confusing.
Me: Chloe! The movie said Stephen Hawking could only write 4 words a minute! Stephen King has written a GAZILLION BOOKS! Do you know how long that would take???
Chloe: (pause) Well, he seemed really determined.
I swear — for such a bright, clever, academically-gifted child, she’s an incredible knucklehead –
ALTHOUGH TO BE HONEST….
The apple does not fall far from the tree.
For many years – I’m talkin’ YEARS – I thought that the Warren Buffet guy who made all the brilliant investments was the same guy who sang “Margaritaville.”
Yep, I thought THIS guy –
Was the same as THIS guy!
NOW HEAR ME OUT.
First of all, Buffet’s not a common name. So first I heard about Jimmy Buffet, a singer-songwriter who sold millions of records and scored tons of cult fans who call themselves, “Parrotheads.”
Then I heard he opened chains of restaurants called “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” – AND hotels – AND casinos! Years ago I read an article that he wrote books, flew his own plane, owned minor league teams, created internet games, and opened a record label – making over $100 million a year from all these business ventures!
I heard that he invested his money so well, and was so super-rich, that he lived on an island – or bought an island – or some shit about an island.
So I’m thinking – cool, this guy’s a musician AND he happens to have a head for business. That’s pretty frikkin’ awesome.
So when I started seeing clever quotes about investing and finances attributed to some Buffet guy, I just figured — it’s the same guy.
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Those Buffet quotes are so succinct and clever, they sound like a songwriter DID write them!
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
Yo, dog, these could be song lyrics!
And you gotta admit – those balding old white dudes tend to look alike.
Jimmy Buffet Warren Buffet
So EVERY TIME I heard something about one of those Buffet guys, I assumed it was the same person.
Until the party.
Yep, the party where my error was exposed in excruciating detail for all the world to see.
Picture the scene: Crowded party, noisy – several of us are chatting by the dessert table.
1st Man: Warren Buffet said the best way to invest is (blah blah financial stuff).
2nd Man: And he said next year, the interest rate is going to (blah blah financial stuff).
(I don’t really understand all the financial references, but I want to participate in the conversation.)
Me: Yeah, that guy’s amazing. SUPER talented.
Both men look at me quizzically.
Me: You know – the singing.
Both men look confused.
Me (somewhat condescendingly): Hello – Margaritaville?
Both men are stunned.
Time stops. The air’s sucked out of the room.
All 5 of the men and women stare at me in utter disbelief.
1st Man: Do you mean…
2nd Man: …JIMMY Buffet?
Me: Yeah, Jimmy Buffet.
1st Man: But that’s not the same as WARREN Buffet.
Me: Who’s Warren Buffet?
Time stands still again. Everyone stares in horror.
My friend Megan quickly jumps in and says, “Ha! Oh Darcy! You and your sense of humor! You’re pretending Warren Buffet is Jimmy Buffet! Ha, ha, ha!”
I quickly join the cover-up and laugh weakly: “Oh, yeah, heh heh heh. Just jokin’ around with you guys.”
1st Man and 2nd Man do not look convinced.
I excuse myself to the bar, grab a glass of wine, and head into the bathroom with my Iphone.
“What the FUCK?” I mutter as I quickly Google those wily bastards, Jimmy and Warren. “Sonofabitch! They ARE two different guys!”
Here all this time, I thought the boozy, happy-go-lucky Margaritaville singer was giving financial advice to Presidents and Kings.
Don’t judge me.
It could happen.
(Saturday Night Live alum Al Franken of self-help guru “Stuart Smalley” fame is a U.S. SENATOR, for God’s sake!!)
So there you have it —
It’s no wonder my daughter watched an entire movie about world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, thinking it was a bio-pic on horror writer Stephen King ——- because her own mother thought the billionaire investment magnate Warren Buffet was also the singing Parrothead guy Jimmy Buffet.
The knuckleheaded apple does not fall far from the knuckleheaded tree!
So today, I ask you, what embarrassing misconception can YOU admit to?
It can be small, like my childhood assumption that people on TV could see me since I could see them, hence I always changed clothes BEHIND the couch.
It can be odd, like my childhood belief that everyone’s given a maximum number of words in a lifetime, so I was very quiet in my youth so I could save up my words for adulthood.
It can be embarrassing, like my voracious reading habit that made me attempt to use words I had no idea how to pronounce so I’d say things like, “Well, that’s the very ‘epi-TOME’ of greed!’ instead of the correct ‘i-ˈpi-tə-mē’ — thereby creating gales of laughter for those in the know.
So ‘fess up, friends!
What’s YOUR equivalent to my Buffet Blunder?
— Darcy Perdu
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(Let’s hear it! You must have SOMETHING to confess – a misconception, an assumption, a flat-out blunder! Share your hilarious humiliations!)