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A Titanic Gap In Your Knowledge

| Working | January 8, 2015

(I’ve been obsessed with the Titanic since I was eleven years old, and I have a massive amount of knowledge on the passengers, especially the children. I’m attending a guided tour of Halifax for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, and we are visiting the cemetery where most of the bodies recovered from the wreck site were buried.)

Tour Guide: “As you will see, most of the people buried here are adults. You may wonder why. Well, that’s because most of the children on board survived!”

Me: “Actually, that’s not true. Only half of the children on board survived, and first class men had a higher survival rate than third class children. The reason why most of the recovered bodies were adults is because children are smaller and harder to spot in the ocean.”

Tour Guide: *a bit annoyed* “All right, then.”

(We move on to the grave of Alma Pålsson, one of my favourite passengers. The tour guide starts telling her story.)

Tour Guide: “Alma was traveling on the Titanic with her four children to meet her husband, Nils. Nils worked as a coal miner in New York.”

Me: “Sorry, but I think you’re confusing him with someone else. Nils worked as a tram driver in Chicago.”

Tour Guide: *more annoyed* “Whatever! So, Alma was traveling with her four children and while on board, she became friends with a fellow Swedish passenger. During the sinking, the friend helped her family get ready and find their way to the boat deck. He was just lowering the two youngest children into a lifeboat when a wave swept them off the ship, and the whole family died.”

Audience: “Aww, that’s so sad!”

Me: “Um, sorry to interrupt you again. Although that makes a good story, it’s not true. The friend was—”

Tour Guide: “Ugh! Why don’t you just finish the story then?!”

(I did. I still wonder how that tour guide got hired, and why she expected to be taken seriously by Titanic experts with such limited knowledge!)

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