There are things I don’t know (I realize that’s a lot to spring on you right out of the gate and without any warning, but please save your shocked gasps and incredulous whispers for the comments section, thank you). Within that group are things I know I don’t know, like how string theory works and if it requires some kind of special quantum string or if any old string will do; and things I don’t know I don’t know … for instance, the amount of time one remains in “stealth mode” after taking one of the invisibility pills recently developed by a shadowy government agency. In order to know I don’t know that, I’d have to know if such a pill exists, and I don’t. So I can’t know what I don’t know because I’d have to know to know.
When I know I don’t know something, I can do some research and information gathering and in doing so, re-categorize the thing in question to the long list of things I know I know. Or, if the thing in question is one of which I purposely and happily remain ignorant, I can continue down that road. The bottom line being that the majority of the time, it’s my choice to gain knowledge or maintain ignorance.
It’s the things I don’t know I don’t know that are tricky. When it’s something I know I don’t know and have no interest in knowing, all I have to do is avoid situations that could result in the acquisition of unwanted information. But how does one steer clear of something they’re unaware of? I have no idea where to stay away from to avoid finding out about something I don’t know exists.
The exception, of course, is the internet. Truly the Jekyll and Hyde of modern innovation, the internet is an amazing tool for communicating, socializing, organizing, educating, creating and a bunch of other words that end in ing. But it’s also a sociopathic predator, biding its time and waiting for the perfect opportunity to throw open the curtain on websites featuring the most twisted stories, gruesome images and bat-shit crazy rants that you didn’t even know you were happy not to know until a minor misspelling of a URL opened a portal to a world you can now never unsee.
Of course, some say no one ever ends up in the 9th Circle of Internet Hell accidentally. Believing instead that claims of such webernet wild rides are manufactured in an effort to hide the sick shit we look at when we’re alone. And I think that’s more true today than it was in the mid-90s when we all fired up our 14.4 modems (28.8 if you were fancy) and ran out to play in traffic on the information super highway … which isn’t as dangerous as it sounds considering that while a vehicle’s capability for speed on real highways is measured in horse power, the acceleration potential on dial-up modems is represented using sloth power.
We didn’t know what we were doing or where we were going and consequently found ourselves in unintended place. When my parents first got online, my mother wanted to know if I could fix her PC to prevent those accidents because, as she put it, “I don’t know what I typed or clicked on, but I wound up on some Pakistani pussy website.” An understandable dilemma for her, but a happy accident for me because it provided the opportunity to tell the story of that time my mom said “Pakistani pussy.”
But not all surprise website landings contain the number and type of factors necessary to generate such a perfect mom-ism. Most simply result in the the user recoiling from the screen, eyes averted and arms extended, clawing at the keyboard, desperate to hit anything that will close, or at least minimize, the page.
I wanted to send someone a cleverly-captioned picture of the feminine hygiene products that are now available in multi-colored wrapping. I couldn’t remember their name or brand, so I went to Google Images and entered the most likely search term: gay tampons. At this point, some readers are undoubtedly thinking, “There are tampons just for lesbians?? I didn’t know I didn’t know that.”
Of course, there are no such tampons. The feminine hygiene aisle at your favorite drug store remains a melting pot of sexual orientations where all women are welcome. I used the search term “gay tampons” because similar to Rule 34 is the lesser-known and unnumbered rule which states, “If it exists, there’s a rainbow covered gay version of it.”
Don’t believe it? I just Googled five random things — gay books, gay socks, gay bike, gay underwear and gay popsicle, and among the results were these:
A screen shot of some the images found during the tampon search is below. While the particular picture I was looking for is included in the results, the first image in the second row is something I didn’t know I didn’t know about, but now know I was happy not knowing.
Seeking answers, I selected the nip-pic and chose to view the page on which it resides. That’s when I learned the truth. The terrible, terrible truth.
Rather than rainbow hued infant accessories dreamed up by an enterprising homosexual riding the wave of gay marriages and its anticipated, subsequent baby boom, I learned that the items pictured are actually called menstrual cups.
Panicky pounding on my keyboard was avoided when it became clear that, unlike the infamous Two Girls, One Cup (which I’ve never seen and never want to ) the “cup” part here doesn’t refer to a drinking cup. But panicky pounding was required when I searched for “how are menstrual cups used” and Google felt it necessary to show me pictures of “used menstrual cups.” Because sometimes Google is a total dick.
Naturally, I no longer felt safe looking into menstrual cups, their history or their usage. But since I’d clicked the original image from the tampon results page, I still had access to less nightmare inducing pictures. So based only on the images available, these seem to be the most important things one should know about them: