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20 people share the purposes of everyday objects that took them way too long to figure out.


We're all a little slow to the chase sometimes, but that doesn't stop us from feeling humbled and a bit embarrassed when we finally connect what cup stoppers are in our thirties, or we realize we've been misinterpreting how toasters work our whole adult life.

Those lightbulb moments where you finally gasp and say "oh right, that's what this is for" can be a bit exciting, as they give you the ability to live your daily life a speck easier, but it's still funny to realize how long you've been living in the dark.

In a popular Ask Reddit thread, people shared their "Ohh, so that’s what it was for” moments, and they will make you feel better about your own delayed lightbulb moments.

1. From lifesmell:

Those little green swords at Starbucks. I had no clue what they were used for until I was complaining one day that my coffee gets all over the lid when I walk. My friend grabbed one and stuck it in the top of the lid and asked why I didn't use a stopper. a stopper omg my life has just changed...

2. From nukethem:

Not me but my dad.

He always likes to look nice and put together. One day before church (I was maybe 14), I asked him if he had a lint roller. He got it for me, and it was absolutely covered in lint. So I ripped off the top sheet. Dad's eyes widened in shock. "I always thought lint rollers were so expensive for how few times you could use them!" He never knew there were more sheets underneath.

Dad was in his mid fifties then. He hates when I tell that story.

3. From HarbingerDe:

When I realized that the division sign '÷' is an empty fraction.

4. From Pterosaur:

That the approximately correct amount of loose leaf tea for one cup is...a teaspoonful.

5. From Nebakanezzer:

Not sure if this is a feature on all smoke detectors, but finally after five years of owning my house and getting used to grabbing a chair and knocking the batteries out of it, I just hit the test button on the front when it went off while cooking. "Hush mode activated." It turns it off for fifteen minutes and automatically turns itself back on. It felt like unlocking a secret character in mortal kombat.

6. From FigurantNoMore:

For years I have had this electrical outlet on my back porch that is really intermittent, damn thing works about half the time, then stops working for a couple of weeks. Frustrating. About six years after I bought the house, I also figured out what that one switch in the living room does...

7. From ask_me_about_cats:

When I was a little kid (maybe 3 years old), I found a little plastic container of candy in my mom's purse, and I ate them all. My mom discovered this and started panicking and screaming. Apparently, I'd eaten an entire month's worth of birth control pills.

She called Poison Control, and they told her I'd be fine, though my hair might grow slowly for a while. It's been 30 years, and I'm still bald, dammit!

8. From detmeng:

You know the plastic hooks on vacuum cleaners that are used to wind the cord around. Well, the top hook will spin 180 degrees to release the cord, so you don't have to spend time unwinding. Didn't realize this till my wife showed me well into my 30s.

9. From MrAndypong:

It took me four years of owning a car to realize I could spray washer fluid onto the rear windshield.

I just assumed it only sprayed the front and I would just occasionally throw a bucket of water on the back if I needed to. Then one day I just noticed an odd symbol on a lever I hadn't seen before.

Held that mother down for about 10 seconds before a massive gush of liquid burst out the back and changed my life for the better.

10. From Michiatric:

Clapperboards in movies. They're used as a visual reference to sync the audio and the video together in editing.

11. From Azkabandi:

Have you guys seen those escalators with the green lights shining through the steps? When I was very young. Maybe 5 or 6 years old. I asked my dad what those lights were for. He told me they were for the blind.

A few years ago maybe when I was about 23 or 24. I got on one of those escalators with lights again with a friend of mine. I wanted to tell my friend this little fact that my dad told me years ago about the lights in the escalators. But as soon as I wanted to explain I realized my dad was trolling me the whole time. It took me just under 20 years to realize it.

12. From AmIEnough_4TheWorld:

I was a housekeeper for someone years back when I was in college (side job, extra money).

I would see short straws in the random places at the house where I worked. I usually just picked them up and threw it in the trash can. It took me two years to realize the person I worked for had drug addiction and he used the straws to snort the drugs...

Now look back, I am glad I wear gloves for cleaning other people’s houses...

13. From NotVerySmarts:

I worked with a guy on a construction site, and it took him 7 months to realize that the porta pottys had urinals in them. He thought that bowl in there was for a sink that they put in the nicer ones.

EDIT: I've had a hundred people respond to me saying that they have used the urinal as a sink, or didn't know what it was for. Here is a picture of what a urinal in a porta potty looks like. God help you if you've put your hands in there.

14. From Axle_Goalie:

Just today at the gym: I forgot my shower sandals, and I was like, "oh sweet, they have disposable slippers, just in case such an event." Put them on, walked through the change room, used them. They worked well...I just realized they were showercaps...

15. From skelebone:

After high school, I was working a temp job in a business remodel. The wood floors had been put in and the contractor had a big roll of paper that he taped down to cover the floor to prevent scuffs and a scrapes while the work continued. One time I touched the roll of paper and noted that it was somewhat sturdier than normal paper and reminded me of craft paper that we used in elementary school. I remembered that as a child,, the teacher always called it (doink -- moment of realization) construction paper.

16. From circuitarteries:

The bagel button on toasters only toast one side of bread, buns, bagels etc.

17. From socksthekitten:

When I was a kid, I had a large toybox with a lid. I had to use my head to prop up the lid when I grabbed things. There was a place to put a stick to prop it open.

I noticed there was a stick kept in the kitchen for me & my brother's spankings. By the time I realized the stick was originally meant for the toybox, I had outgrown the toybox.

18. From tbnrg:

The wiggly metal bracket on the end of a tape measure is like that on purpose. The amount it wiggles matches its thickness. So you can take inside measurements (and push it in) or outside measurements (and pull it out) and you'll get consistent measurements.

19. From Yes1tsMe:

I lived in the US for a year (I am European) and I was really annoyed about our light switches. They didn't lead to any lamps. There were no lamps in the ceiling at all and I couldn't figure out why we had switches on the wall. I was also super annoyed that a few sockets (outlets?) worked sometimes, but not all the time. I never talked to our landlord because frankly, he scared me, and since I was moving back soon I just figured I'd live with it.

Fast forward 11 months when I visited a friend's house. I couldn't turn on her big floor lamp. "Just do like this" she said and flipped the light switch on the wall. It turns out, in America, light switches can lead to sockets in the wall.

20. From penelaine:

For years I thought those weird storage pod thingies some cars and vans have on top of the roof were mini canoes. As in I kinda thought that until I was like 24 but I was too nervous to ask anyone.

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