First off, I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous 2004. I, for one, hope to have a better year than I did last year: I guess that’s really all we can hope for. Not dying and maybe trying to improve our lives a little bit from year to year. Not that I am really keen on the whole resolution thing, but still…

It’s been an eventful few weeks, what with earthquakes all over the place, Michael Jackson’s arrest, and Steve Irwin being investigated for mistaking his newborn son for crocodile bait. But instead, me being the narcissist that I am, I am going to talk about myself.

I learned a lot in 2003. I could focus on your typical Oprah-remembering-your-spirit crap, or I could talk about the things that I was rather surprised to learn about in 2003. You see, despite being fairly widely read, and despite being a moderately intelligent human being, there are a few things that I have naively taken for granted. You know, the silly, trivial things that you have never really questioned until you are surprised to learn how stupid you actually are. Here goes.

1. “Grease” has a lot of sexual references.

I had no idea.

I must’ve seen that movie about 40 times throughout my childhood: I knew the movie off by heart, I sang with it, dreamed I was Olivia Newton John singing “Hopelessly Devoted to You” whilst kneeling in the front yard (The neighbors thought I was a very strange kid).

Then I watched it not so long ago and heard words that I had never known about. All of a sudden Rizzo was talking about gang bangs and all other sorts of stuff that I had no idea about! I was horrified!

2. There is no such thing as an anti-gravity chamber.

Ok, I am sure the nerd-boys that love physics will snicker at me and say “what an idiot”, but I really thought that there was some such thing as an anti-gravity chmber where you could just go and float around. Apparently they don’t exist. Apparently there’s something called gravitational pull on earth and you can’t get around it.

3. Stealth bombers do not have special invisible paint.

My husband was quick to point out this one to me. I thought that the diamond-type design was there to make it look cool and futuristic, and the steathy-ness was made by special paint that was undetectable by radar. Okay, so maybe I deserve to be laughed out of the room for that one, but hey, unless you have sought out the information, how are you supposed to know? The only reason it came up was because of some documentary on the stealth bomber came on the Discovery Channel. Until then my husband thought he was married to someone with a brain. Boy, was he wrong.

4. Pencils are not made by drilling a hole down the middle.

I learned this from Play School of all places (a kids show, aimed at 3–5 year olds), where they went to a pencil factory. I always thought that pencils were made from really good quality sticks, and you just drilled a hole down the middle and put the leads in that way. Apparently that is *not* how it is done. Maybe if I had been allowed to watch more television as a kid I might know this!

So, there you have it. Four things that I have learned in 2003. Who knows, maybe in 2004 I’ll learn that my favourite childhood singer is a paedophile.

The thing about the New Year is not to make grand resolutions about changing your life. You can only do that if you are truly committed to it for the long term. But you can look back at the previous year and realise that at least you’re just that little bit less stupid than you used to be

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