Monday, 22 September 2008

Shame Week Bonus :: What’s the Stupidest Thing You’ve Ever Done?

A few years ago, I had a television in my sleeping quarters. I don't recommend it. I watched a lot of films at night. And missed a lot of days. Anyhow, one day, prompted by the sudden smell of burning tuna omelette coming from the kitchen, I bolted from my bedroom in a blind and stupid panic, and in my careless passage from one room to the other, my foot got entangled in the cable. Rather than bring the TV crashing down from the bedside table on which it sat however, the cable merely snapped where it met the plug – a clean break, leaving the naked plug sitting in the socket, a tiny stump of broken wire and plastic jutting from its anus.

Returning from my culinary disaster with screwdriver in hand, I set about reconnecting the plug to the cable. Generally, when it comes to wiring plugs, I’m a bit of a klutz and I invariably make some kind of elementary mistake, connecting the earth to the neutral or the neutral to the live, or not quite managing to make everything connect, and generally I have to rewire it. Especially when there are three wires as opposed to just two. Three, frankly, is two too many. So this time I thought I’d check I’d done it right before screwing the whole thing back together again.

So, without reattaching the plastic cover, I pushed the plug into the wall with the palm of my left hand.

What a strange, surprising sensation!

I wasn’t exactly thrown across the room, but the instinctive recoil when the electricity zunked into my hand was considerable enough for me to move a couple of feet.

I tingled.

I guess I could have died.

But I didn’t. And shall I tell you why?

Quite simply, because God hasn’t finished with me yet.

Nah, just kidding. It’s dumb luck. I could easily have died. People have died for a lot less.

I am an idiot.


So. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done? Leave your most moronic moments in the comments and sit back in shame as the internet shakes its head and despairs.


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Miss Snuffleupagus said...

Bete, that's downright silly, but I can get it. The impulse or flash-moment can do it. I had a mishap with electricity. Mine was more stupid I think. I was in one of those house work moods, the OCD type of mood that grabs me only when the house has gone to hell and I realize I have to do something or I'll be swimming with the dust bunnies. I was cleaning the bathroom, the house was so crap, that I had to wipe the light switches on the wall, they were as grimy as a council flat/apartment block stairwell, and I was using a wet cloth, thinking 'ah scream - cos you can't even scream when electricity is shooting through you).' I passed the cloth over the light switch. I learned one thing. I don't care what romance or sex writers say about orgasms. Electric current hits a person faster than an orgasm. Less pleasurable. I don't even remember if it was pleasurable. It's difficult to register what it is at that instant. You don't even have time for one of those 'life passing before your eyes,' new age bs near death experience moments. And pulling your hand away feels weird. It's like your hand is coated with super glue.

Clare Sudders said...

Something very similar.

I had a small portable tape player that suddenly stopped working. I tried changing the fuse and rewiting the plug with no success. I had recently discovered that speaker wire can get snapped in the middle, and malfunctioning speakers could be fixed by cutting out the broken bit of wire and resplicing.

So I sat down on my bed, and using the scissors from my wonderful handy Swiss Army knife, I cut through the power cable, pleased with my general resourcefulness.

Except that it was still plugged in.

There was a bang and a flash, and it burnt a hole clean through (the metal blade of) my scissors, but I didn't feel a thing. I think I might have been saved by rubber underlay, under the carpet. Great stuff.

I also once idly put a power cable in my mouth and sucked on it. It was one of those little transformery power DC power supplies, for a Gameboy I think. I put the little metal end in my mouth. The other end was plugged in. I got a little tingling sensation on my tongue. I wasn't thinking about what I was doing at all, I just tend to put things in my mouth. I guess I never quite moved on from that stage of babyhood. Anyway, no harm done, but I guess it could have been much worse. Maybe I have nine lives, or maybe electricity just isn't that dangerous after all.

suburbanhen said...

I do stupid things all the time.

I've been electrocuted more times than I can recall, I've washed my passport with a £600 visa in it the day before I was supposed to fly abroad, I've hurled the vacuum cleaner down the stairs, I've pulled a chest of drawers down on top of a tin of enamal paint, covering the carpet, I've had hair dye explode all over the bathroom (requiring a full strip back and repaint (which I haven't finished)), and that's just the stuff from the past year and a bit...

LyleD4D said...

I went stream-jumping one September evening many years ago - failing to take into account things like heavy dew, and grass.

So I slipped on landing, hard enough to pull my achilles tendon out of my ankle bones (along with a small sliver of bone) and had to walk 3 miles home before we could get to call a doctor.

Took six months to heal, and formed a fairly long-term memorial to my own stupidity.

LyleD4D said...

On another note, I had one friend who had "friends" sneaking through the hedge of his garden while his parents were away.

So he put a bare-ended cable in the hole they'd formed, and connected the other end to the outdoor mains socket.

The first friend who came through the fence actually flew through it, having made contact with the cable, and had two impressive burns for his troubles.

Truly stupid...

There's also the tale of his mother, getting tired of the paperboy riding his bike over their front garden, and tying a length of piano wire across the gap used by paperboy.

It's occurring to me that I know some very dangerous people...

Amy said...

When I was 7, I had a lamp in my bedroom with no lightbulb in it. I wasn't sure whether or not it was turned on, so I stuck my finger in the bulb socket.

It was turned on.

And it hurt rather a lot.

Andy said...

When I was 13, I decided it would be fun to ride by bike with my arms crossed - my right hand on the left handlebar and vice versa.

I got about 100 yards when I tried to overtake a parked van, swerved into it rather than away from it and broke my arm.

P.S. Bete - I'm still alive after the Houston hurricane, and my house is OK. Thansk for your thoughts.

Maynard said...

As little as 1/10th of an amp can kill you were it to pass through your heart. Your plug could have been rated up to 13 amps, but you have to take into consideration your body's natural resistance (measured in ohms) and that the current only would have passed through 2 or 3cm of your hand to complete the circuit.

Had you touched live with one hand and neutral with the other, it might have been a different story.

...I did the same thing myself once.

Our Glamorous Heroine said...

Well, I foolishly assumed that just because I linked to my blog on my Facebook it didn't mean that anyone actually read it. I was proved wrong at a family gathering on Sunday when it became quite apparent that several of them (some I didn't even remember "friending") had read the story about me chucking up over my boyfriend's nether regions. Silly me.

Sal said...

actually, that's the reason (non-fatality) that we all now have Alternating Current in our homes, despite DC being far more sensible from an engineering perspective AND an economic perspective. there were big arguments about it, back in the day.


if it'd been DC you'd have been stuck to the plug till your hand frizzled.

Anonymous said...

When I was considerably younger and much more stupid than I am now, I couldn't get my old motorbike to start.

I thought it might be out of petrol, but I couldn't be sure. So I opened the petrol cap and peered inside. But it was very dark and I couldn't see inside the tank clearly. I needed a torch, but I didn't have one.

So I had the cunning plan of striking a match and holding it over the exposed tank...

There was a huge flame (obviously) which gave me quite a fright (also obviously). But my bike survived. And so did I.

Yes, I was spectacularly thick.

But well done me for "bringing this psychologically traumatic experience to the surface", eh?

La Bête said...

Jesus, that’s scary, Snuffie. Just wiping a light switch? One to watch out for. Thank you.

Hey, Clare. A hole through the scissors sounds scary too. And surely that’s enough to prove to you that yes, electricity really is quite dangerous. Don’t put any more live wires in your mouth. It’s silly.

Hen, washing your passport and £600 is a doozy. Now that’s what I call money laundering. Was it ruined?

Lyle, I reckon the stream-jumping is more like bad luck. Not really stupid. Not especially anyway. Neither do I consider your friend and his mother particularly stupid. Just EVIL.

Ouch, Amy. Stupid, yes, but forgiven because you were only 7. That’s called a learning experience I think.

Yep, Andy, kinda dumb, but again, that’s what being 13 is all about. No shame in that. (Well done on avoiding the hurricane!)

It’s quite a shock, isn’t it, Maynard? Thanks for the science by the way. I didn’t understand a word of it.

Excellent, OGH. I take some small personal pleasure in that.

Well well well, Sal. I did not know that. Thank God for AC then.

Anonymous - we have a winner. That I fear, will take some beating. Absolutely fantastic. Well done on surviving.

Sharon said...

I manage a gourmet kitchen store that sells, among other things, knives. I have repeated this stupid error several times.

"Be careful, these blades are very, very sharp." (Slice finger.)

Clare Sudders said...

I know someone who used petrol to clear his ear wax, cos he knew petrol was a solvent. Sadly it not only dissolved the wax, it dissolved his ear drum too...

But the best one was a friend who put a hand on his lawnmower engine to see if it was hot. It was. And he still has the proof, because he has "DANGER - HOT" burnt in mirror-writing into his hand...

Clare Sudders said...

And I know someone else who sawed his own little finger off. But then he picked it up, washed it off and sewed it back on with needle and thread before going to casualty where they told him he had very likely saved the finger, if not quite as neatly as they would have done.

Not sure if that counts as stupid or clever!

Can you tell I'm supposed to be working? All right, all right, I'm going now.

Anonymous said...

After drinking (a lot of) gin, I allowed my room-mates to lower me by the ankles out of a 3rd storey window to knock on our neighbours' window to invite them to our little party. It was a long way down. I didn't fall, but my neighbours thought it was really really stupid. (You shoulda seen their faces though, as they looed out the window!)


Anonymous said...

Uh, I mean LOWERED, not looed...

Selena said...

This isn't the stupidest thing-there are so many stupid things- I can't really quantify one as being the STUPIDEST...but here's a stupid thing.

I got too drunk in Tijuana and fell for no reason. Seriously- I was just standing and then- BAM! I was down on the floor laughing. I didn't move, I wasn't dancing in place. I was stationary and then I was on the floor.

Damn Heels! I thought that I has just tweaked my ankle a little bit from the fall. It didn't hurt too much-so I got up and I continued to drink and dance and drink and dance and drink...

Then the club closed and we were deciding what to do. We wanted to save money on the cab fare and my ankle didn't hurt at all anymore.
Which could only mean one thing- we were going to walk 1/2 mile to get several orders of the most delicious TJ tacos (4 four a dollar.) YUM!

After we were sated and content on delicious chips, salsa and tacos; It was time to go home. So, once again, we decided to save money on the cab fare and chose to foot it another mile and a half to the border and spent 30 mins standing in line.

Lastly, once across the border. I walked from my friends house to my house and promptly fell asleep ( about another 1/2 mile).

In the morning I innocently rolled over onto my left side. My ankle barely touched the sheet, but it was at this whisper of contact, that I experienced mind numbing pain. It flared up from my ankle all the way up into my teeth.

It hurt so much that I was afraid to look at it. I was afraid to know what was wrong with my foot. Luckily, my boyfriend (at the time) having been woken up by my cries of pain, was worried enough to find some bravery and he looked at it for me.

My left ankle was all sorts of wonderous shades of black, blue, greenish-yellow, indigo- and swollen to the size of my calf. I didn't look like I even had an ankle anymore.

I went to the emergency room- apparently when I fell at the club it wasn't just an ankle tweak; something tore. Oops! my bad- I guess all the fake fruit drinks with cheap alcohol made me not notice.

I left the ER iced, doped and braced and was not able to use my foot properly for about 3 weeks. With a bill that was definitely more expensive that the Cab Fare to the border. This was 5 years ago and it still hurts when I sit indian stlye(sometimes.)

So walking about 2 1/2 miles on an ankle with a torn tendon is not a smart decesion- its rather kind of stupid- Drinking enough so that a torn tendon doesn't hurt is also pretty stupid-I should have just paid for the cab fare home.

On the upside- this injury allowed me to be pushed around my city's version of an October Fest in a wheelchair. It was a glorious day- beer in one hand and brat in the other and a mobile seat for the whole shebang.

I hate to say it- and I would never wish being put in a wheel chair on me or anyone- but, people are sooooo much nicer to you when you are in a wheel chair. Really, they are! They let me go to the front of the line, moved out of my way in the crowd and when their feet got run over accidentally by my chair- they said I'm sorry-before I could even get the words out of my mouth. It was an eye opener.

Selena said...

"But well done me for "bringing this psychologically traumatic experience to the surface", eh? "



In the comments from last weeks shame- I believe it was from the stealing section-you had said something about found notes in used books- and a website should be started...

Well there already is one it's called:


Check it out.

Aiko said...

I can't think of anything interesting that I've done, but I do stupid things daily. I had a friend at school though who was always doing silly things. I'll never forget the morning he came into school with the burn of an iron on his cheek. It was the top half and as well an the triangular outline, there were dots too. He wasn't sure if the iron was warm enough so thought he'd put it to his cheek to check.... special one.

La Bête said...

Sharon, you mean you’ve cut yourself? That’s not stupid though surely. Just a little careless.

Clare, I really can’t imagine sewing my finger back on. That would really really hurt.

Maria, that is mental! You could have fallen on your head and died! (And you don’t mean ‘lowered’. You mean ‘looked’.)

Wow, Selena. You must have been drunker than a mule, girl. Thanks for the site recommendation. I’ll check it out now.

Yep, Aiko, that is pretty special.

Andrea said...

I've been electrocuted too on a hiking trip that went wrong. The stupidest thing about that though was that instead of going to hospital to get a tetabus jab, I decided to take a photo of myself with the lovely bloody scar it left me. The stupidest thing I've ever done though was to aggrevate a scary, drunken Scottish beggar (all I did was look at him) I was lucky all he did was threaten to chop me up.


Sharon said...

Once is a little careless. Doing it over and over when I know better is stupid. Luckily, I have a large supply of pirate band-aids.

Selena said...

I'm pretty sure that if I set my mind to it I could, in fact, out drink a mule. However, I'm glad that I haven't set my mind to it in an incredibly long time.

Come to think of it- it was more than 5 years ago, because I was under 21- hence the being in Mexico to be able to drink legally thing.

I hope you enjoy Found.

I have a particular soft spot for a found note from a child denouncing vegetables and pleading for sweets for himself and his cousin.

Anonymous said...

Keeey-RIST on a cracker! my last humiliation wasn't enough?

i've done tons of stupid things - although i'm not quite as dangerous as suburbanhen, mind you.

stupidest that first comes to mind? running through hot coals on a camping trip barefoot on a dare from my sister when i was 5 years old. i remember my 7 year old sister defending herself to my parents by saying "i didn't think she was that stupid!"

only 2nd degree burns... still...

Anastasia said...

LOL...bad to laugh, I know, but disasters like that resurrect the macabre-nervous laugh within me. It's like that involuntary shiver.

I've done many stupid things. Everything I've done in all my relationships I classify stupid, but the one that took the cake occurred just after I discovered Internet dating (circa 2000), and I -like many- became infatuated with an online Sheik (who turned out to have a talent chatting with as many as 10 females simultaneously). Anyway, he was supposed to telephone me on Valentine's Day, for that 'long phone call,' and I took a sickie from work. I took my mobile with me everywhere, including the supermarket, to return home a little disheartened, for the telephone to ring. I forgot that I had it on the extension cord, it was on the other side of the house, so I ran for it and slammed my little toe on the corner of the sofa. I heard it crack as I hobbled down the hall (infatuation eliminates pain for a fraction of a second), only to pick up the handset to hear my girlfriend's voice on the other end, fall into the pit of disenchantment. The bastard didn't call. I had to visit the doctor the next morning (i thought a nap would make it all better) because I couldn't walk. Caught a cab to the surgery, hobbled to the X-ray centre nearby, and a broken toe was confirmed. So even if I had a hot night in, I wouldn't be able to do the naughty deed with a broken toe. It made me appreciate my toes. I took them for granted before.

suburbanhen said...

Yes, the visa was ruined and I couldn't leave the country until I'd married LB, otherwise I wouldn't have been allowed back in.

Panda said...

I think that testing the heat of the iron out on your cheek is quite sane.

Compared, that is, to actually trying to iron your jeans while you are still wearing them ("Oh, I can't be arsed to take my jeans off. I'll just run over them quickly with the AAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH").

La Bête said...

Andrea, yikes! That sounds like some hiking trip. (Never look a Scotsman in the eye, beggar or not.)

Sharon, yes, I believe that’s called self-harm.

Selena, you’re so young! I had you pegged as a little older than that, because of your undeniable maturity.

Daisy, you’re forgiven anything at 5. And if you’d been an adult, you could have passed it off as a spiritual thing. Awww, poor thing though. Your parents must’ve been devastated.

Anastasia, as you so rightly say, LOL. Who was this Sheik fellow? He sounds utterly captivating.

Oh, Hen. You are a one. That’s not why you got married though, is it?

Panda, trust me, testing the heat of an iron out on your cheek is not ‘quite sane’. Wetting the end of your finger and briefly touching the base is quite sane. Everything else is proper mental.

Selena said...

Umm, I had you properly fooled then St...Bete

I'm the proud holder of eight and twenty, very childish, sometimes downright peevish years on this planet.

You are very kind to think that I am an older and more mature lady. I do truly aspire to be one... someday.

Then again, I also aspire to winning the lottery and walking around in woodland garb with an ash bow.

Whichever one happens first is the one I'm going to roll with.

Let's just say I have my priorities straight; my sites are set on the one that involves the bow.