We all make mistakes, it's part of being human. You feel embarrassed afterward, but you learn from it and move on. Well, you usually learn from it. For some people, like the ones in the following stories, it takes making the same mistake twice to really drive it home. Sometimes it even takes them four or five times.
"So, I deserve this. A few months back I decided to help my partner clean up his house since it was such a mess. I decided to tackle the stove while he vacuumed the other room. Being the pseudo-hippie I am, I wanted to clean it with vinegar and baking soda because it works 'just as well no harsh chemicals blah blah environment.' I dug into his kitchen and found a big old bottle of white vinegar, but after scouring his cupboards I turned up zero baking soda. Alright, I'll just clean with vinegar, that also works fairly well, just put a little elbow grease into it, it'll be fine. I poured the vinegar into a bowl and started scrubbing away. After a few minutes, he popped up from the basement and says, 'Here, use this instead,' and handed me a canister of Comet. Being stubborn, I protested and left it on the stove untouched. After about 10 minutes of getting nowhere, I finally broke and grabbed the cannister.
So I dumped the comet into the vinegar and scrubbed away, and by God that stuff worked amazingly well. I was so giddy I felt light-headed. Also a little dizzy. My eyes kind of stung. Whatever. As I'm scrubbing he comes in and sniffs the air and asks, 'What's that smell?'
I go, 'What smell? Look how clean the stove is getting!'
He grabs the cannister, looks at the bottle of vinegar, and says, 'Open the windows, grab the dogs and get outside.' I stared at him and he points to the Comet cannister, particularly at the big bright 'NOW WITH BLEACH' sticker on the logo. It turns out, it's not just bleach and ammonia that makes chlorine gas, but bleach and any weak acid; like, say, white vinegar. I still have a picture of him wearing his pink respirator as he went in and cleaned up after me.
My day job is at a coffee shop, where we have a bucket of cleaning supplies for the bathrooms. Somewhere along the money-saving line, we ended up with two generic spray bottles, both marked WINDEX in black sharpie. Except one of them is bleach water.
I go into the small, poorly ventilated store bathroom with my bucket of cleaning supplies and reach for two paper towels while simultaneously grabbing the clear plastic squirt bottle and spraying the mirror. I notice as I am pulling the towels away from the dispenser that the Windex came out runny and strange. I still have the bottle in my hand and as I am placing it back in the bucket I realize this is not Windex at all, but the sneaky bleach. No matter, I swap the bleach for the real Windex and spray the mirrors. This whole process took me maybe 30 seconds. So as I am placing the Windex back with one hand and mixing the Windex (read: ammonia) and bleach water with the other, a familiar feeling seeps into my brain, which is instantly mingled with dread, then self-depreciation because this is the second time less than 6 months that I have accidentally almost murdered myself by poison gas. Except, this time I almost took out a coffee shop with me."
"I swear I have called emergency services for legitimate reasons more than anyone I know. I witnessed a Marine MP who I worked with mortally injure himself in the bathroom at work and was the first and only person to respond until I called for help. We kept him alive until the medevac helicopter showed up but he died on the way to the hospital, unfortunately.
I also watched a dirt bike with two guys not wearing protective gear smash into a tree at about 40 MPH in a national park. No idea where they came from but it happened about 50 yards ahead of me, they just came tearing through the intersection I was approaching. The driver's entire right half looked like black pudding, ended up having to keep him sitting down because he was in shock and kept wanting to walk home. The passenger was dazed but unhurt because his buddy's body acted like a cushion and he was just pushed back onto the ground when they hit the tree. He was in shock too and the first thing he asked for was a ride and, 'Did you call the cops?' I said, 'I called whoever shows up.' Which is awesome because it was a federal park and park police DO NOT MESS AROUND. He kept repeating that they, 'had to go now,' until I shut him up and showed him the condition his buddy was in.
Found a girl overdosed in the McDonalds parking lot near my house. She was wearing business attire and I suspected someone messed with her drink. She drove there somehow, found her because her car was sitting nearby with the door open. She lived.
Watched a man roll his F150 like a toy in an ice storm because he was passing me going too fast and lost control when he aggravatedly changed lanes in front of me and hit the slush on the white dotted lines. I guess I was going to slow for him. Turns out I got to pull him out of his overturned vehicle and resist the urge to call him an idiot. I have a few other pictures of it but I can't seem to find them at the moment. This one of them that I took of this incident after my buddy and I pulled the driver from the back driver-side window.
I found an over 85-year-old lady wandering down a bypass with no idea what she was doing. Nobody else stopped for help until I did, then we had a crowd.
I saw another accident where a jerk sped up really fast when I pulled out. I had a really open opportunity to pull out and had he have been doing even 10 over the speed limit he STILL wouldn't have caught up with me. Instead, he decided to redline because I had the audacity to 'pull out on him'. He did a sudden violent lane change and rear-ended a car that was stopped to make a left turn. screw that guy, he suddenly got really 'I don't know what happened!' After the accident. Nobody was hurt thankfully.
Now I work in law enforcement (forensic investigator), so I think I'm just a magnet for this stuff. I don't know."
"When I was a freshman in high school I had a ton going for me - good grades, lots of friends, I was even the class president. My parents were bored and decided that the obvious solution was to go get their legal growing card and start farming. Pretty soon we had a full legal narcotics farm in my backyard. I never touched the stuff, but after a while, the smell soaked into my backpack. It got to the point that in the middle of classes people would look at me very seriously and whisper, 'Hey, are you... on something?'
I'd laugh at them and say, 'No of course not!'
Well, eventually people asked me enough that the teachers caught wind of it. I was in the middle of my biology class with a balding, old, angsty teacher with a long, droning, voice. Three cops burst into the room, cuff me, and tell me that I need to go with them. I had absolutely no idea what I was in trouble for. The class was really freaked out but I laughed and waved to them on my way out. I was put in a room with my superintendent, the principal, and practically a full police force. I thought it was pretty hilarious until they started yelling at me that distributing illegal substances was going to get me a hard time. I told them that they could test me and search any of my belongings AND OH DID THEY. My lockers, my backpack, my clothes, my desks they even made me strip down to check my body. They found no evidence other than the smell so they had to let me go. For the next week I was suspended while they waited for my illegal substances test to get back. They even impeached me from my class presidency. When I came back to school everyone was terrified of me. Apparently, they didn't let anyone know why I was taken by the police so rumors ran crazy (I didn't have a phone to text anyone.) People thought I brought a weapon to school, and some even thought I tried to murder a kid. I tried to let people know what happened, but even then they were still afraid of me. It didn't help that once a week a police officer came to my class to surprise search me. This continued for months. It was time for the winter play and I had a starring role! I was so excited to show my parents how hard I practiced. Ten minutes into the play the cops show up and sit in the audience. I got nervous seeing them after they spent so long ruining my freshman year and I guess they could see it on my face. They decided since I looked so suspicious that it was the perfect time to search me. They called to the director to halt the play while they checked me and my belongings. I was so upset I yelled out across the whole auditorium, 'Oh no! You're really doing this right now?' I was so angry. Half the auditorium roared with laughter while the other half was scared I was about to mow them all down. I switched schools after that. My new backpack was kept in the bathroom to keep it from soaking up smells."
"I am about 8 or 9 with my family at Disneyland having an incredible time. I get to meet my idol Buzz Lightyear, eat a disturbing amount of cotton candy, and generally do what 8-year-olds do at Disneyland. We finally decide to go on the Small World ride because what could possibly be more innocent? Everything is going fine until the ride stops. For four hours. Now, you might be thinking, it's okay he can spend time with his family and sit there or something. What you didn't realize is the song and the animatronics don't stop. They keep playing the exact same song on loop for four hours. We finally get off the ride and go home because having that song drilled into my head is enough for the day. A few years later I go to Disney again with my mom. We go to the Small World ride again and joke about getting stuck. This time it was only two hours. Years and years later I go to Disneyland with my girlfriend at the time and she really really wants to go. I tell her that I've been stuck on it multiple times but she reassures me it'll be fine and I'm being a baby. Three hours later I'm a full grown man nearly crying with my girlfriend consoling me stuck on the same ride. Never again."
"For some reason, my cousin seems to have a disposition for falling off cliffs without getting seriously injured. When he was 8, he rolled down a 100-foot slope and barely avoided being dumped into a huge raging river. He got away with two stitches and scratches.
When he was 13 fell down a cliff at Glacier National Park, only sprained his wrist (cliff was about 200 feet).
At 17, this past year, we went camping and I even told him, 'Stay away from the cliff!' Guess who fell down the cliffside at 2 in the morning? My cousin. Only needed 7 stitches in his hand.
Every freaking time."
"I was working a horrible minimum wage job back in the day for which I had to get up pretty early. One morning I go outside to get into my stupid car, but I didn't see it in the spot I parked it. I looked all over the parking lot, but nothing. I eventually reported it stolen to the police. A few weeks later, after I had bummed rides from pretty much everyone I knew, I get a call from the police. They found my car! I guess the police found it with no wheels on blocks downtown somewhere, and let a tow truck take it to a tow yard. The tow company charged me some insane price because it stayed over the weekend. Anyways, whoever took my car stole everything inside the car, speakers, and radio face. Even the cup holder with my change inside! I had to basically bankrupt myself buying 4 new wheels, putting them all on myself, and replacing the speakers. I also lost my guitar and sporting equipment that was in the trunk when it was stolen. I had to go through a maze of Toyota representatives to reorder my cupholder.
Fast forward a few months. I had parked my car at my friend's house to spend the night. The next morning I couldn't find it where I had parked it.
Turns out that it was stolen again! The police found it again a few weeks later with everything stolen inside that I had replaced! I said, 'Screw it,' and drove that thing without speakers or ANYTHING else of value inside. I didn't even lock my door anymore because there was literally nothing left to steal.
A few months after the second stealing of my car I went to jump in my car to go to work, but I noticed that something was 'off'. It turns out that someone went into my car with the purpose of stealing it again! They must have got into my car and noticed that there was literally nothing of value and got back out. Not before they re-stole my cup holder that had my change! I had just used the quarters for laundry, so there was literally just nickels and pennies in there! They didn't want to bother going through and just taking the coins, so they just ripped out the whole cupholder! I had to balance my coffee on my lap from then on.
Oh ya, and the second time it was stolen (when I had zero money) the thief ripped out my ignition, so my key wouldn't fit anymore. I was so poor that I couldn't replace it. So I had to start my car with a freaking flat-head screwdriver for about 4 months! I even had to pick up a girl for a date and utter these words, 'One sec, I gotta get the screwdriver.' It was a low point in my life."
"The first dog I ever had liked to chase animals. I always hated taking her on walks because if she saw so much as a squirrel in a tree it was off to the races. She'd chase the poor things for blocks if I let her.
Well, one morning I was out walking her like usual (This was early summer). In my area, early summertime is prime time for geese to flock into the neighborhood in droves. Now, you have to understand that geese are some mean dudes - you think honey badger don't care? Try geese. Anyway, we're walking down the cul de sac when my dog spots a huge flock of the feathered jerks. Immediately she begins her pre-hunt ritual - her head is down, her tail is wagging furiously, she has the 'I'm gonna mess you up' growl starting up in the back of her throat. I look up to see what she's growling at and my life flashes before my eyes.
Before I have time to finish thinking, 'Oh no,' she goes tearing off after this flock, which scatters. The dog and geese go flying out behind the neighboring house, where I lose sight of them. For a few split seconds, I heard my dog's happy yips and barks. Then those yips and barks turn to whimpers. The next thing I see is my dog, tail between her legs, running for dear life back around the side of the house with 20 or 30 very angry geese behind her. I don't think either of us have ever run so fast in our lives.
She never chased animals again."
"I sent an email to a couple of the professors at my university, the main purpose of which was an attached file. I forgot to attach the file, so I sent another e-mail saying, 'Whoops! sorry, everyone. Forgot to attach the file! Please find it attached here.' Forgot to attach it again. This alone still makes me cringe, but as if this wasn't enough, a few months ago I started working with one of these professors as an assistant to a major conference he's organizing for next year. It was up to me to send out the 'Call for Papers' email to the 300+ people on our mailing list. Guess what happened, again. Greatly enjoyed the sea of e-mails I immediately received the mystery file that was never attached. My life is a never-ending nightmare of incompetence."
"Work says, 'We know that you have aspirations to own your own business, so we're going to give you more responsibilities at work. What's that? More money? Well, no, we don't really have the resources for that. But as soon as (event) happens we can discuss moving you up to management.' This happened at my last job and I didn't stand for it. It's happening right now at my current job and I don't have a fallback job or any prospects. So, I'm now in charge of a bunch of stuff the managers decided wasn't their job and not getting a single cent for it. Worse, I'm losing high tip shifts because all this 'management' work moves me to daytime instead of evening shifts. Yay service industry."
"I work in an aged care facility which also houses quite a few residents with dementia. When I first started I was not expecting the sights I would encounter. My first day was a gradual introduction to the processes of this facility. When I say gradual, I actually mean I was mopping feces filled rooms for six hours. Of course, the alternative was trying to reason with someone who had just smeared it on the walls.
Then I came back the next day, it became obvious that this was a regular occurrence. 'not again' was honestly muttered more than once.
Even though I've been here two years, I keep finding myself saying, 'Not again.' EVERY MORNING."
"I'm a fairly heavy sleeper, so for a long time I've had a loud alarm clock placed across the room so that when it goes off I'm fully awake due to the time it takes to get up, walk across the floor and turn the thing off.
Recently, however, my body decided it wasn't going to let me get in the way of sleep that easily, so now whenever its been going off I'll unconsciously get up, walk across my bedroom, tear the clock out from its socket and then drag it back into bed with me. I've woken up snuggling my alarm clock enough that I now have to place multiple alarms around the room in order to make sure I don't just spoon my household appliances."
"This was way back in like 2005. I'm a graphic designer and was out of work at the time, so in a moment of desperation, I put up an eBay listing for photo re-touching and manipulation services. eBay was still pretty big back then. I was counting on touching up vintage photos of granny or removing red-eye/blemishes/whatever from various pics. What I got was... not that.
This guy buys my service on Amazon and I'm stoked because that's $30, which means I get to buy cat food or tampons or bread or whatever item I was desperate for that week. He sends me a photo of a woman he says is his wife. It's some kind of military or cadet portrait. Her hair is tied up in a bun. She's pretty attractive... and then he sends me a picture of actress Alyson Hannigan, bare-chested, and tells me to put his wife's head onto it.
This picture of Alyson Hannigan was obviously a manip. It was actually also being sold on eBay, I believe as an 'art print'. It was pretty well done. Virtually seamless.
It kind of made no sense, because he obviously wanted the manip for the Alyson Hannigan element, but he was asking me to cover up the only thing about the manip that was actually Alyson Hannigan?
Anyway, I felt really weird about it, because who knows if this woman is actually his wife or is okay with this and it just struck me as creepy and messed up. But it's $30 - cat food, tampon, bread party, etc - so I buckled down and did my best, which honestly wasn't much. The picture of the wife wasn't a good match for the adult photo. The lighting was off, the pose and angle were off, the hair was off. I did what I could. I actually spent more time on it than I should have.
So I send it off and he thanks me and compliments my skills and pays the $30.
A few weeks later, someone buys my eBay service again, and what do you know, the same guy! I'm really hoping it's something legit this time, but nope. Same picture of his wife, new adult photo manip of Alyson Hannigan! screw my life and so on and so forth. It's another $30. Gotta do it. I try to wrap this one up quick and it doesn't look good, but he pays the money and that's that.
A little while later, this guy buys ANOTHER one of these. And yeah, $30 is $30 (seriously considering raising my price at that point), but it's creepy, gross and not really indicative of my totally mad artistic skills. It's also bumming me out. If you're amazed that there is apparently an endless pool of adult Alyson Hannigan manips on eBay, then you haven't spent enough time on eBay circa 2005.
Shortly after this, I stopped making listings on eBay, both because I was sick of 'shopping the same perfectly fine woman onto various adult manips of Alyson freaking Hannigan and because it was just a horrible business model that wasn't getting me anywhere."
(Points edited for clarity)