Did you know the word “gullible” has been taken out of the Oxford English Dictionary?
Yep, I know, it’s a prank that’s been around for decades – but the first time I heard it, I fell for it hook, line and sinker – and there are still people who innocently exclaim: “Has it?” when asked this question today.
For the record, “gullible” is still very much in the dictionary. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
As those of you who read this column regularly have probably gathered by now, I am pretty much a perfect person with no faults whatsoever and being a woman, I am also always right.
I do however have to admit that I may just be a teensy bit gullible and naive. Or trusting as I prefer to call it.
There are some credulous people in this world who have blind faith in everything they’re told.
This makes them easy prey and others take great delight in playing tricks on them or telling them some elaborate tale with a completely straight face knowing they’ll be easily duped.
You know you’ve been taken for a gullible mug when you say “Really?” after someone tells you something only to have them cackle with laughter in response.
I have certain friends who have perfected their poker face when it comes to spinning me a yarn and while I may fall for their tall tales a few times, I soon learn to recognise the jokers in the packs and treat everything they tell me with scepticism and disbelief.
Which kind of backfires on them when they actually are telling the truth.
But I did have a good laugh the other day upon reading the tale of the gullible girlfriend who surpassed any gag I’ve ever fallen for after taking the bait when her boyfriend told her Blackpool Tower was melting.
In her defence, she was presented with a very cleverly doctored photograph of a rapidly thawing tower tilting dangerously in the heat.
The photoshopped picture was originally featured on tongue-in-cheek website Cleveleys News and playful Ryan McCran sent it to his girlfriend and shared her horrified reaction on Twitter.
His panicked girlfriend reacted with “Now way!” and “How did it melt?” before being aghast and discussing her “near death experience” as she’d recently been up the tower.
Thankfully, I’ve never been quite so gullible, but it got me thinking about all the things we mistakenly believe before foolishly realising we’ve been taken for a ride or just completely got the wrong end of the stick.
Many of our gullible and naive beliefs stem back to childhood with our parents being the main culprits.
When I was younger, I remember my dad telling me if I swallowed an apple pip, a tree would grow inside me.
After accidentally swallowing a few pips when being a bit too zealous with my apple eating, I spent the next few weeks anxiously looking in the mirror to see if I could see any leaves sprouting from my mouth.
After hearing people talk about “food going down the wrong way”, I was convinced there were all different tubes inside us – one for food, one for drink, one for breathing and so on and was terrified I’d send something down the wrong chute.
One of my sisters used to think weathermen were responsible for the weather rather than simply predicting it. One particular rainy day, she angrily shook her fist at Michael Fish saying: “It’s all his fault. He said it would rain!”
Money was a bit of a fascination in my younger years. I could never understand why my mum never took up the offer of “free money” from kind cashiers in supermarkets who offered her cashback.
Nor could I fathom why she didn’t have one of those plastic cards which magically churned out cash from hole-in-the-wall machines.
Luckily, I’m not the only one who believed bizarre things as a youngster. One friend sheepishly confessed to thinking chocolate milk came from brown cows while another told me she believed her elder brother who told her meringue nests were made by the Meringue Bird, a colourful and exotic purple feathered creature.
Just before I go, did you know that if you say the word “gullible” really slowly, it sounds like oranges?