When I was in elementary school, Yost Elementary--a darkish older building beside a raised highway so that I feared that every passing semi was in danger of storming through the guard rail and landing right on the jungle gym--I learned the planets. There were nine. It was concrete. It was certain. It was written in the text book that Mr. Boll swore by as he waved it around with his boney arms in front of the black board.
Now, it's no longer true. It's no longer concrete and certain, and it is about to be removed from the text book (Mr. Boll is most likely long retired).
I am unsettled by this new knowledge. The ground I stand on is trembling from below, and I am inclined to stand braced in the door frame for support. What other "truths" have I been taught that are not so true?
Here are a few I have already uncovered:
1. Black people don't show their age.
2. Children who drink coffee will stunt their growth
3. Pavement turns white when it gets cold in winter
4. Christians who misbehave will live in shacks when they get to heaven
5. If you swallow watermelon seeds, a watermelon will grow in your stomach
6. Eating sugar straight from the little paper package will give you worms
7. Playing cards is from the devil
8. Rock music is from the devil
9. Dancing is from the devil
10. Movies are from the devil
11. Music without words "don't mean nothin' "
12. Men just naturally know how to build things
It seems that nothing is written in concrete, except that God loves me. But I have learned so much more than that in 40-plus years. Now that Pluto has been voted out of my understanding of the solar system, I have to believe that other "facts" may be removed from what I know to be true, and my foundation with have that much less support. Very unsettling indeed.