Cautious People Share The Things They Will Never, Ever Mess With

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There are some things in this world that are just not meant to be meddled with. Ask any adrenaline junkie or your bravest friend: they might go skydiving, bungee jumping or swimming with sharks in the Caribbean, but even they have their own lists of things that they try to avoid at all costs. People from around the world shared the things they will never, ever mess with. From regular household items to wild animals, the following stories will make you more cautious about the things you interact with. Read on for some insightful tales of life-changing experiences and lessons learned.

#1 Deathly Sparks

Electricity. It doesn’t play. I’m a paramedic. We had a DOA once of a guy that got electrocuted trying to steal cables from an electrical panel. This wasn’t a residential one either, but an industrial building. All we were able to find on the scene was a hand and foot. It was a grisly scene for sure, and until that moment I didn’t think things like that actually happened in real life.

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#2 “Run For Your Life”

High voltage guy here. I don’t mess with steam. I’ve worked up to 345,000—you definitely need to be on the ball but it can be done safely. I would never willingly work around steam systems. We had one plant with 48″ steam pipes under God knows how many hundreds of pounds and the extent of the safety training was: “Always know where your exits are and if you hear the water hammer, run for your life.”

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#3 The SNES Incident

I almost lost my life as a kid due to a faulty surge protector. I was connecting my Super Nintendo and when I touched the housing, I was instantly frozen from the shock. I could not let go and every muscle in my body spasmed. My grandpa was there thankfully and he ran and kicked the plug, disconnecting it from the wall. I ended up passing out from the lack of controlled breathing. When I woke up, every muscle in my body hurt. It felt like I was punched on every square inch of my body simultaneously.

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#4 Scary Beaches

Snails in tropical waters. If you see them while snorkeling, do not touch them. I had a dream last night where my dad touched a cone snail and I did not wake up happy. Hopefully, this can help some people realize how much we should respect the creatures we observe. In fact, the best policy is to generally keep your hands to yourself in the ocean. Many critters have poison, spines, teeth, pincers, something that will do you harm.

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#5 Secret Identity

The casually-dressed old men at corporate parties or events. There’s a reason they don’t need to don the suit and tie. I heard a story that one of the tech-heads at Microsoft would attend conventions with the title “Chief Janitor” on his badge. The purpose is so that people worth talking to already recognized his name and what he really does, and he avoids suckups that only care about a fancy title like “Technical Director.”

#6 Household Danger

Garage door springs. Seriously. Unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll get severely hurt. The springs store mechanical energy when they’re tightened. If a spring breaks, the tightly wound coils quickly convert that energy and unwind in a violent and unpredictable manner. If you’re nearby, the springs could hit you in the face, eyes, arms, or chest. If one gets rusty and snaps while you are in its range, it will seriously destroy you. I knew one dude who told me that a garage door spring snapped in his house and it SHOOK THE WHOLE HOUSE. Don’t mess with them.

#7 High Voltage

Old power supplies. In high school, we had a PC building class. During this class, there was an old CRT monitor the school was throwing away. One student thought it would be fun to stab a screwdriver through the plastic down into the monitor. The teacher just stared at him and told him to never do that again. He then explained to us about capacitors and the negative effects voltage can have on the human body.

#8 Health Is Wealth

My health.  I foolishly picked the “take pills” cure over the “eat right and workout” cure for high cholesterol and blood pressure many years ago. Big mistake. Would not do it again. I’m trying to tell my kids: the older you get, the harder it is to straighten out some messes. I go to the gym every morning now that I am retired. I lost a little weight and the blood pressure is slowly dropping. I FEEL so much better.

#9 Unlucky Operator

Lathes. The industrial ones used for metal, not the woodshop lathes a lot of hobbyists use. Those are still pretty dangerous, but not in the same way as a standard engine lathe. I’ll run them but I’m not going to be anywhere near them. At a university, I heard a couple of scary stories surrounding lathes. The guy who ran the machine shop had a chuck key for the big lathe that someone had once left in when they started the machine. The lathe had space for maybe a quarter of rotation before the shaft for the chuck key hit the body of the lathe and bent the 2″ steel chuck key shaft about 20 degrees. The chuck key handle also whacked the stomach of the operator, who had to be hospitalized for internal organ damage.

#10 Buzzkill

Hornets. However, if you DO have to mess with them, there are a few redneck methods of getting ’em gone that are REALLY effective.

My dad’s got a cabin way out in the woods, and one day we found a big Hornets’ nest just under a window, buzzing with sinister intent. Since the nest was about 15 feet in the air, the usual can of Raid wasn’t going to cut it. My dad’s solution was to slam three drinks before pulling out his wet-dry vac, and duct-taping it to a spare piece of 10-foot metal piping (the cabin was in the middle of renovations to get running water, so construction material was all over the place). Then, he took the piece of pipe, positioned it using sawhorses so that the opening was just below the entrance of the hive, and turned on the vacuum.

The combined noise and vibration of the vacuum was enough to cause the entire hive to disgorge its angry occupants, who would buzz around for about half a second before getting THWUPPED down the tube and battered around in the belly of the vacuum cleaner.

Now, unfortunately, this isn’t enough to eliminate them, which we learned after pulling the top of the vacuum cleaner and seeing a heaving, surging mass of chitin and malice attempting a mad dash for the sunlight. So, what do you do with a plastic barrel full of hornets? Well, if you’re a 50-year-old redneck with a thirst for vengeance, you pull out your trusty duct tape and MacGyver your F-150’s exhaust port to the end of the vacuum cleaner, and then roll enough coal to smoke every last one into a stupor. Then, you take the entire wet-dry vac and dump it into a nearby bonfire.

So yeah, hornets may be bad, but sometimes the absolute jankiest way to get rid of them ends up being exactly the one you needed.

#11 Not The Berensteins

Grizzly bears, but something to note: The majority of fatal black bear attacks occurs from male black bears acting predatory. This idea that mama bears are the most dangerous is false. They usually just want you to leave them alone and will often bluff charge you. We get plenty of black bears at my house. The males get aggressive around mating season, but you can typically shoo them away. Not saying you should though because that’s a quick way to get mauled.

#12 An Unexpected Danger

Moving water. A one-meter cube of water weighs a tonne—literally—and it doesn’t care whether you’re in its way. I’m not even talking about tsunami-levels, either. As little as six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you off your feet, and twelve inches can move a car. Something like the Strid at Bolton Abbey will mess you up in ways you hadn’t even considered. I’m not saying having fun in the water is a bad thing or something you shouldn’t do, but it’s definitely something that deserves being mindful about.

#13 Office Ninjas

Administrative assistants—they can either improve or deteriorate your work life in the most ninja-like way. You do NOT want one cross with you. I work at a factory and our secretary has the most access to the place of anyone in the plant, including the plant manager who makes probably 20 times what she makes, if not way more. She has the keys for every cabinet, drawer, door, posting board, company vehicle, you name it. A few of us have some important keys, but she has all of them.

#14 Worst Bug Ever?

Moths. Never mess with moths. If there is a light on in a room while it’s dark outside, they will find a way in. They are virtually indestructible too. Electrocution doesn’t work, they’re pretty hard to crush and they can breathe underwater. I had a massive one the size of my big toe in my flat once, and I tried all three methods, in that order. It climbed right back out of the U bend of my toilet. I was terrified.

#15 Never Ignore Your Car Warnings

Low oil pressure warnings on automobile engines. If you get a warning, pull over and turn the engine off immediately. Get yourself out of that situation and call a tow truck—that vehicle is done until it can be repaired. There’s no point in risking a multi-thousand dollar repair for impatience… Or go ahead if you want… I guess it’s fine for you to give me an opportunity to buy your $15K car for $1K.

#16 Be Defensive

Crazy aggressive drivers—just back off, that is not a fight to “win” because people get hurt. Just let the jerk go and fall back if you have some idiot in a car next to you or in front of you. I see people try to “put them in their place” by being aggressive back, and I have witnessed accidents because of this. Your life is not worth risking over road rage.

#17 Touchy Subjects

Discussions on religion and politics with people I don’t know very well. Actually, even with people that you do know very well. My dad just learned the term ‘snowflake’ now and he uses it all the time. I just shut up so he doesn’t yell at me and call me a snowflake too. You don’t need that negative energy in your life… Better keep your opinions to yourself or share them with people who can embrace different perspectives.

#18 Grandma’s Sacred Texts

Grandma’s recipes should be viewed as sacred texts. If you were trusted with them, you have a duty to protect their integrity. That recipe has been perfected not only by your grandma over a 40-year lifetime of feeding however many kids but by her mom and her grandma before her. If you’re lucky, you spend time with grandma and learn how to make it, along with all the processes and tricks that didn’t get written down.

Why did my grandma roll out the dough nice and flat, just to roll it back up? Why did she pinch the edges? Because not doing it ruins the bread, that’s why. Do you want a brick instead of a loaf? Do it grandma’s way. Grandma’s casserole doesn’t call for sriracha, so don’t go adding it in there. Do you think grandma couldn’t have made it spicier if she wanted to? That casserole is the way it is on purpose. You can add what you want once it hits your plate, but don’t mess with the chemistry of it while it’s cooking.

#19 Glitterbomb

Glitter. I worked for a company where every tech had their own service van. One of the guys was being a jerk about something so the other guys put a tube of glitter in his A/C vents and turned the fan on high. When he started his van, he got a faceful of glitter.

This was during the middle of summer so the guy was a little bit sweaty when he started up the van. The glitter got stuck to his face real good. He spent like 20 minutes washing his face but he still couldn’t get it all. He eventually had to give up and start his day.

The last call of the day was with this little old lady in her eighties. He gets to her house, performs the service she requested and approaches her to get paid. As she’s handing him a check, she stops and says: “Young man, do you realize that you have glitter on your face?” He said that he turned beet red.

The guy went to like five jobs that day and not once did anyone mention any glitter. Not that it would have done any good… Once that stuff is on you, it takes a pressure washer to get it off.

#20 Bad Workplace Relations

A mean, rude, or otherwise unprofessional coworker. Chances are they are digging their own grave and you get caught up with them will make you look bad. Ignore them, even entertain their crazy, and people will see you better for it. I’ve experienced it for a long time but sadly they never got fired and I still work with them. However, I still made the right choice but just letting it go because it’s not worth it to risk your own job, your own livelihood for this.

#21 Wild Animals

Wild animals or big animals in general. In my country, there have been incidents where people got attacked by cows. They were hiking in the mountain pastures and some trails led through the fenced areas where the cows are. There are signs that show how to behave explicitly with dogs and when the cows have calves. Yet, recently there was a picture in the newspaper of a family with two leashed dogs! And a baby in a stroller standing right in the middle of the cows. Basically, everything you shouldn’t do. Luckily nothing happened that time. If you go hiking or camping somewhere, inform yourself about possible dangerous animals and how to behave. Obviously, don’t ignore instructions.

#22 Lethal Leaks

Gas lines. I did gas surveying for a while, looking for leaks at people’s homes. It involved me walking up to each house in the neighborhood with a fancy gas detector. People would get so annoyed if I told them that they had a major leak. I’m thinking, “Dude, I just stopped you from exploding and taking half the block with you.” FYI—if you smell gas, call 911 or the fire department and exit the house, leave the door open and do not turn any lights on or off as you leave.

#23 A Slow And Painful Demise

Rabies. Once symptoms start (and it can lay hidden for YEARS), it has a 100% mortality rate. The death is horrifyingly painful—one girl survived with permanent damage after a brutal experimental treatment. DON’T APPROACH WILD ANIMALS. If they scratch you or bite you, GO GET VACCINATED. Ideally, bring them the body of the animal—the only way to tell if someone or something has rabies is to cut open the skull and check the brain.

#24 Beware Of Chemistry Lab

Hydrofluoric acid is definitely something that you don’t mess with unless you really need to do fluorine chemistry. It’s not as strong of an acid as the other mineral acids, but it’s highly toxic. It absorbs through the skin and sequesters calcium and magnesium from the body. The fluoride salts of calcium and magnesium are pretty much insoluble in blood, causing precipitates that can accumulate in the heart, causing cardiac arrest.

#25 Gentle Beasts Are Still Beasts

Horses. If you don’t know how to be around them, don’t mess with them. I’ve been around them off and on for most of my life. I’ve seen women who have had over two decades of experience get into serious and life-threatening accidents with horses. One was bucked right off, and the other was trampled. She ended up with a few cracked ribs and a concussion. I have been stomped on and nearly ruptured my spleen. I ended up needing surgery some years later because there was an internal injury that resulted in an infection that fused my gi tract to my inner abdominal wall.

They are beautiful, warm souls. I love working with them. But you better believe I keep aware of where the head and hooves are at all times. And where they are in relation to other horses. If something scares this large prey animal, or a mare stirs up some shit between geldings, things can get bad in an instant. Any fool that decides to do a “hold my beer” and jump on an unsuspecting horse from behind is asking for a kick to the head, and that’s not something you always walk away from.

#26 Don’t Drink And Drive

Driving tipsy. I have an uncle who’s quadriplegic because of it, a childhood friend who no longer has a brother because a tipsy driver hit his family when they were on the highway, and I know about a dozen other people who were going to high school at the same time as me and never lived to graduation because either they or someone else got behind the wheel after drinking.

#27 Pay Your Taxes, People

Easy: The IRS. You know… I grew up listening to Wu-Tang. They told me they were nothing to mess with. The IRS arrested Method Man for not paying back taxes. I think that’s a pretty big indication of who you should really not mess with. I mean, they even got Al Capone on tax evasion. The FBI couldn’t pin any of the mob crimes on him, but taxes… IRS can dig up some stuff.

#28 Wave Pools Are No Joke

I lifeguarded in high school and the wave pools were the absolute worst. Hordes of people shrieking, no requirements about being able to even swim, rapidly changing water levels…. Oi. We used to alternate one-hour shifts on it because the stress would throw off your judgment. It was probably one of the toughest part-time jobs I ever had.

#29 Skunks Aren’t So Bad

Skunks. Nobody wants to run one over, nobody stops to admire the skunks. Skunks are fear. For the most part, if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. I let my dog out one night and she immediately went crazy, barking and growling at this skunk at the bottom of the porch steps. I was trying to get her to get back inside. I still have no idea why, but the skunk never did spray. It just kind of moseyed along while my dog was going bananas five inches away from its face.

#30 Wives And Balkans

Another man’s wife. Also, it’s a good policy not to mess with people from the Balkans. They tend to come in droves when they are messed with. My friend is from the Balkans and he says this is true. Apparently, they have a saying that if you mess with someone, they will “call people on you.” But I guess that goes everywhere else in the world too because everyone seeks their friends for backup, am I right?

#31 Gypsy

Don’t pick a fight with a gypsy. One of my neighbors had a fight with some gypsy dude. After the usual threats, both of them went to call for back-up. My neighbor called a few of his mates, you know, the usual stuff. Well, here come two vans, chock full of gypsies. Men, women, children, all screaming in Romani. With chains and crowbars. My neighbor then wisely decided that he had better things to do with his time. He wasn’t even ashamed.

#32

The AARP. Senior citizens vote, write, and many of them have money. If they get behind something, politicians will listen. Once you turn 50, AARP will NOT leave you alone. The US Postal service is able to keep running just from the revenue earned from AARP as they hound you mercilessly first to become a member, and then to buy all of the 10,001 other products that they endorse. I even moved and sent them a deceased letter, but they found me.

#33 Caseless Psychopaths

People who don’t use a phone case. They are CLEARLY psychopaths. My boyfriend doesn’t like phone cases as they make phones too bulky and they ruin the way they look. He’s had the same phone for nearly two years, and there’s barely a couple of scratches on it. How I have no idea. Still, even if it’s relatively scratch-free, it makes me anxious to see him whip out his phone.

#34 Cat Signals

A cat wagging its tail. If it’s lightly flicking its tail at the very end it usually means the cat is happy— but when the whole tail starts to swish, get out of there! My best friend has two cats. One of them, Clyde, wags his tail like a dog when he’s happy, though not as fast. It’s so weird to see him wagging his tail as he demands head nuzzles and scratches because I’d never seen a cat do that before. He’s usually buttering us up to give him treats, so maybe he’s wagging his tail as a warning if we don’t feed him.

#35 Waiting Is True To Life

Foodservice workers. If you have to ask why you’ve never seen the movie Waiting. Never mess with the people who handle your food. My cousin used to be a real jerk while talking to the waiters or people working at fast food right until I showed her this movie. Almost all of that movie was pretty spot on for a sit-down chain restaurant.

#36 Not Just A Prank

Someone else’s food or medicine. You could LITERALLY END SOMEONE. It’s not just a prank, bro.  I’m visiting another country and I have very severe food allergies. The level of understanding here is frustratingly low and just the other day, after covering all my bases with the vendor I was buying food from, I had a reaction. Now the range of food I’m comfortable eating here has gotten much lower and people seem inconvenienced when I ask them.

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#37 Toxic People

Cheaters and toxic people. Remember kids, if someone is willing to gossip and insult behind someone’s back with you, they’re more than willingly able to do the same behind your back. I know this because my mother is this person. Avoid those people if you can, but if you can’t, just be prepared to handle awkward or confrontational situations.

#38 Australia Is Wild (Literally)

Mother Nature. Voodoo. Ouija boards. Australia. Everything there is trying to kill you. In fact, in the country, there are five golden rules: 1) Don’t screw with hoop snakes, they can roll as fast as a car. 2) Look before you stand under a tree, or else you may get attacked by a drop bear. 3) When an emu is around, keep your stuff near you because emus will steal and run off with anything they can. 4) Don’t approach kangaroos, even the female ones, they will beat you to a pulp (found out the hard way when I was 10). 5) See a spider in your house? Get rid of it at once or else you know what will happen.

#39 Unusual Fear

Wolverines. I got some in my area. If I see one even 500 yards away I’m running. Those things don’t care if you’re minding your own business—if they see you (even far off in the distance) they will sprint over just because they feel like eating you. Yeah, I’d take a pack of wolves any day over one of those evil devils.

#40 Aggressive Birds

Swans. Don’t feed them, don’t touch them, hell, don’t even LOOK at them wrong. They grow up to 1.7 meters long with a 2.4-meter wingspan. That’s a lot of bird. A guy I know made the mistake of feeding one of those white demons. When he ran out of food, it came at him and beat the heck out of him. I kid you not, the swan would not stop chasing and attacking the guy, no matter what the guy did.  He had to go to the hospital for some cuts and he still has scars from the incident. It took three people and a broom to shoo the bird away.

#41 Beneath The Undertow

Undertow. I messed with the undertow once, without meaning to. I was lucky I didn’t go through the bars of the wave machine at the pool that made it. It happened one summer day at the pool. It was full of kids. I decided to close eyes, hold breath and bob under the surface like, uh, say, a helium balloon on a ceiling. Pleasant floating sensation.

The undertow from the waves coming out of the machine pulled me towards the machine, while everyone else was staying in place or being pushed back. The first I knew, my head hitting the bars of the machine that they installed to stop people swimming into the machine. The gap between those bars was, I think, actually wide enough for a person to squeeze through sideways, which is pretty scary to think about. There were so many people in the pool I don’t think anyone noticed me heading that way. Luckily, I made it out alive.

#42 Bed Island

People that place their bed in the middle of their room in such a way that the edges don’t touch the walls. Like a bed island. That is very strange behavior and I would be suspicious of such people when talking to them.

#43 Scary Stuff

Hydrogen Fluoride. One of the things I remember from my second-year chemistry lectures most clearly is a lecturer telling us: “I’ve worked with a lot of dangerous stuff over the years, but remember this. DO NOT work with Hydrogen Fluoride. Hydrogen Fluoride is the most reactive chemical that exists. It will eat through most containers. If you make a mistake while handling it, it will eat through your clothing. It will eat through your skin. It will start reacting with your bones. Do not work with HF.”

#44 The Quiet Kid

When I was 12 or 13 I learned to never mess with the quiet kid. I was bored in class so I started throwing paper balls at the kid in front of me. He was visibly annoyed but I kept throwing. Then, at one point, this kid just stood up and punched me really hard in the jaw. And that’s why I don’t mess with quiet people anymore.

#45 Enough Said

My DNS settings.

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