Discoveries Right Before You [NOT 24/6/22]

Everything Old Becomes New Again

Walter Rothschild riding Galapagos Tortoise
Don't be like 1903 guy and do this to a Galapagos Tortoise! Photo credit: Wikipedia


Surprises Are Still Out There

Earlier this month it was reported that a living specimen of a Galapagos Tortoise subspecies was found alive, despite being thought extinct for a century.

The Galapagos have been studied by scientists for a long time. Darwin’s 1835 jaunt from The Beagle is only one tiny example. And yet a tortoise capable of a top speed of maybe 0.5 MPH can hide in plain sight.

We think we know the world. But there is so much to be discovered practically right there in front of us. So Deadsplinteristas, let’s take a second to admit our humility and talk about important things we only found late in the game.

For example — there’s a little access port on my house’s top floor which lets you peek under the rafters. Years after we moved in, I finally opened the door. And there on the other side was a paper wasp nest (thankfully abandoned) the size of a basketball. I dread to think what might have happened if I had opened that door while it was inhabited.

I was maybe 14 before I figured out that when my dad went for a walk while we were visiting relatives he was going to sit in a dark bar to break up the tedium and get away from the drama. I had to be a certain age before I understood the rationale.

What Did You Find Out?

Hey, that’s not an old lady!
(Arthur Rothstein, photographer, Oct. 1939. Farm Security Administration/ Library of Congress)

So share a story of the book you found on your parent’s bookshelf that changed your understanding of them. Or the stash of records that made you realize your company’s financial shape was a lot different from the public story. The secret relationship of two roommates that only clicked into focus much later. Or maybe tin box of silver dollars you found buried just below the surface in your backyard.

What’s something you dug up or peeled away that led to a completely new way of seeing things?



  1. Ok…so this is good timing for American’ts at least…when I had just turned 16 my gf at the time stopped getting her period. Her mom planned a trip to Ottawa to see family around the same time. Family I never even knew about. We went. We saw the changing of the guards at parliament. The fireworks. Her acid trip cousins introduced me to Steely Dan…I thought they were losers (they were). The next morning she and her mom and her elder cousin said they needed to step out for a bit to go shopping (knowing I hated shopping) and left me at her uncle’s house by myself for a considerable amount of time. When they returned, my gf’s cousin and I listened to records. Then, when my gf and I went to bed, she said that she got her period and the problem was something something? I remember “blotting” being a word. I never thought anything of it. It never occurred to me that she could have been pregnant (we went for a pregnancy test a while earlier and she said it was negative).

    Fast forward 10 or so years, it came back to me and I had an “Oh MY God” moment. My gf’s mom, to avoid telling her father, set up an appointment under the guise of “visiting family” three hours away in Ottawa so she could have an abortion.

    I have never confirmed this but I am also slightly less of an idiot than you all might think so it is likely that that is what happened.

    At first, I kind of felt like I wished I had known at the time. I could have been there to support her and whatever decision she made…even if it meant I’d be a 16 year old father. Maybe that I even deserved to know. In further hindsight I realised that she did the right thing. For her. She also did the right thing by not informing me. Because it was her decision to make…and none of my fucking business whatsoever.

    It is no man’s business what women (or girls) do with their own bodies. And I feel that if all men acknowledged that women would be more comfortable in their own skin…just as much so as privileged men who don’t, in any way, deserve to be more comfortable in their own.

  2. So share a story of the book you found on your parent’s bookshelf that changed your understanding of them.


    Absolutely not lol. Remember that old version of the Joy of Sex?

    • Assuming you had a mother a mother and a father, it could have been worse, it could have been the Joy of Gay Sex. WHICH, when I was in college I went home with a guy (who was all of like 25 but he wasn’t a college student and had his own apartment) and I saw that on his bookshelf and wondered what sort of gymnastic tricks he would be trying out, but as it turned out it was nothing out of the ordinary. I never looked at that book so I don’t know exactly what’s in it. Maybe it’s got a lot of self-affirmation stuff or something.

  3. When I was a kid, I was looking through old family photos and found one of my mom smoking pot with tweezers. I didn’t confront her at the time because I was scared that I found a bad secret. Years later, our basement flooded and all the photos were destroyed. To this day, she denies ever smoking anything.

  4. A friend said in passing a few years ago that the disproportionate amount of black men and women in prison for bullshit stupid things is the modern version of the 3/5s compromise since they don’t have voting rights in prison.

  5. When I visited South Korea I was 10 years old I was introduced to so many cousins. Most of the “1st” cousins…40+ in all.  My grandfather was still alive, but he was around 85. It seemed so odd to have so many 1st cousins.

    Odd considering my grandfather had 9 kids who only had at most 3 kids each…

    When I was in my early 20s, I realized my dead gramps, uh, got around.

    Fast forward some 15 years later after much family drama and blood. My dad and I were sort of on speaking terms and patching up a relationship that had gone through a lot of bad blood.  I asked my dad and it was when I learned about his various families and that my dad had nearly a dozen half brothers and sisters.

    I learned later that Gramps had a gambling problem which explained why my dad never gambled.

    My dad also told me how big of an asshole my now Trumper uncle is. It explained why we never visited them again after 1985 (my dad, like me, can hold a grudge.)

    It was then I started to realize that I was too much like my dad.

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