I was surprised to discover that Brits pronounce "buoy" like "boy." Here in the states I've always heard/said "boo-ee." That explains the song that contains the line:
"Just then a voice cried out, 'Ahoy!'
And there was me mother just sitting on a buoy
That's meaning a buoy for the ships that sail
And not a boy that's a juvenile male."
This reminded me of the time in fifth grade when we were learning about homophones, and the teacher would throw one out and call on a student to supply the matching word. Lucky me, I got stuck with "buoy," which the teacher pronounced like "boy." Obviously he was looking for the word "boy," as in a male child, but I had absolutely no idea what he meant. This was in the Midwest. The teacher was somewhat older so perhaps it was a generational thing, or he was from another part of the country originally. When he finally explained it, the whole class of 11-year-olds just looked at him blankly. We were also pretty landlocked with no large lakes nearby, so we only had a tenuous grasp of what a "buoy" (boo-ee) was anyway...
AND--I told my dad about the gas tank arrow last night, and he had no idea! And it was there on his car. He knows everything about cars, and I don't even drive. eHell, you made my dream come true of telling him something about a car that he didn't know.
In college (late '90's) they put little cards on the tables in the dorm dining halls explaining what the "proper" politically correct terms for different ethnicities, etc. were, as a helpful thing. I think at that time, Hispanic was out and Latino was in, for example. Most of them I knew or at least had heard of, but I was absolutely shocked to learn that "little person" was the correct term to use. It seemed so patronizing to me. But, not being one myself or knowing any, I'm sure I wasn't attuned to the negative connotations of words like midget or dwarf. I guess overall the terms weren't retrospectively obvious, though, since enough students had trouble with them that the college printed up an informative sign...