Making mistakes is a normal part of the human experience. However, sometimes a mistake is so brutal that you can't just brush it off and move on. Let these horrific experiences serve as a warning. You can mess up—just try not to mess up THIS bad.
1. A Good Samaritan
I was once handling the drive-thru station at my bank. I had a sizeable amount of cash (~$3,000) set aside in an envelope for my boss to deposit in the vault, since the cash drawer was full. During the daily routine, a customer requested a cash withdrawal. Here's where I goofed up BAD on auto-pilot mode.
Instead of his requested couple hundred, I mistakenly sent back his delivery tube with the $3,000 envelope. What's worse is that I realized it only after about ten transactions had passed. I quickly alerted my manager with the simple, understated line, "I really messed up".
I couldn't even recollect which account the transaction came from, so identifying the customer was out of the question. The customer could have simply pocketed the excess cash, with us none the wiser. But fortunately, he was a decent guy who promptly returned to the branch.
He asked for the manager, stating: "I think there's been an error. I got more cash than I was supposed to, but it's not debited from my account. I don't want the teller to lose their job over this!" Everything was put right in less than an hour, and I've been eternally grateful for that customer's honesty ever since.
2. Traps In Aisle 4
Back in my 20s, when I was employed at Home Depot, I strolled past an aisle jam-packed with stacks of doors. Right after I passed, pandemonium broke loose. All of the doors tumbled down, along with the stacks. No one can say for sure how it all happened, but I have a feeling I was the one who arranged the stacks there a few days earlier.
The damages racked up into the thousands. Fortunately, no one was injured; but I can't help but reminisce about all the mess-ups I inadvertently left behind in that place.
3. Nick Of Time
So here's the story: During my first ever hands-on experience in surgery while I was still in med school, I had a bit of, let's call it, an "oops moment" with a surgical instrument known as a trocar.
To set the context, in a specific kind of surgery called laparoscopic surgery, usually three small cuts are made into the patient. These cuts are then used to insert tools like a camera, AKA laparoscope, which makes the surgery possible. In this process, the first cut is made wider with the use of a trocar, to easily get the other tools in.
So, what happened was, I misjudged how much force was needed to insert the trocar, leading me to make a mistake—a tiny scratch on the patient's liver. I was instantly drenched in sweat and my goggles started to fog up, as I feared I'd seriously hurt the patient. The good news, though?
The injury was really minor and it didn't affect any major blood vessels. The head surgeon was there to fix it in a jiffy and stopped a bit of bleeding by using a technique called cauterization. A few weeks flew by and that same patient returned for her gallbladder surgery. And she was doing just great.
4. Canine Chaos
Just an hour after adopting my dog, I nearly lost her. Bringing her home and preparing for our inaugural walk wasn't nerve-wracking at all; I already had other dogs previously. We even had a couple of collars ready to go. I fitted her with the best one and off we went.
Everything was smooth sailing until we found ourselves on a poorly lit road beside heavy traffic. She became restless with the moving cars, and I couldn't allow her to chase them. In the blink of an eye, she shimmied out of her collar and darted into the street after the cars.
I felt completely powerless, seeing her in the dimmest portion of the road, with vehicles hurtling towards her at 60 mph. My heart dropped as I acknowledged they had little chance of spotting her. With only 30 seconds at most to save her, I chased after her. But she bolted, thinking it was all part of the game.
Feeling sick with dread, I thought I was about to witness my dog's demise. So I did the only thing I could—I ran in the opposite direction. She saw me sprinting and instinctively followed until we were safely on the sidewalk. Once there, I just held onto her, catching my breath, enveloped in relief.
She's doing alright now; we use a harness for our walks. But that fear—it was the most awful sensation I've ever experienced. I still think about it to this day.
5. Into The Abyss
I've been scuba diving for 22 years and have over 3,000 dives under my belt. I've seen only two major diving accidents in all that time, one of which happened to myself and two of my buddies. We were diving off the Komodo Islands in a strong current, trying to drift along with it.
We were using nitrox, a type of gas with a higher oxygen level than the regular air. I was using a mixture that was 36% oxygen while my buddies' mixtures were very close to mine. This matters because at certain depths, oxygen can actually be harmful to us.
Normally, at a depth of around 90+ meters, it could lead to oxygen toxicity. But with a higher level of oxygen, the safe depth gets significantly reduced. Our dive involved an unfortunate series of events. We had another diver with us who decided to go rogue, leading our guide on a wild goose chase.
The current was so strong that we had to hook ourselves onto the reef and effectively climb horizontally across it. And that's when the real trouble started. While we were climbing, one of my buddy's clips broke and he started drifting away. We quickly detached from the reef to follow him and found another group from our boat.
That's when I noticed my buddy staring at the ground, trying to get a picture. What was really happening was that he was suffering from nitrogen narcosis—a conditon that can lead to disorientation and other issues underwater. As I held onto him, the ocean floor suddenly began to drop away. Our group started sinking.
We were being pulled down by a powerfull current, and I realized we were in deep trouble. We were at a depth of 130 feet and sinking fast, so I grabbed my buddies and swam us up to the surface. After surfacing, I found that we were alone. I blew my whistle and heard a response, so I towed my friends and swam towards it.
We were reunited with the group, but the current had carried us over a mile away from our initial location and we were still drifting. Knowing we needed rescue, we waved our marker buoys and planned for a possible nighttime stay in the ocean, but, thankfully, a boat saw our distress signals.
We spent the next day watching out for decompression illness symptoms. We were physically ok in the end, but understandably a few suffered from PTSD after that near-fatal experience.
6. Gates Of Hades
After a high school football match, some of my pals dropped by for a backyard bonfire at my place. But we had trouble lighting the wood. Someone then suggested using gasoline. It was a TERRIBLE idea. As I splashed some onto the faint embers, flames darted up the stream towards the gas can.
Almost instantly, fear gripped me as I held what now seemed like a potential handheld bomb that could detonate any moment. My next solution was equally brilliant—I decided to fling the gas can into our nearby swimming pool. Little did I know that gasoline can float on water.
The moment the can hit the water, it looked like something out of an apocalypse movie with burning water scattered all over. My buddies were simply shocked by the spectacle. Eventually, everyone left, leaving me alone to face my mom's impending wrath.
7. Totally Stalling
One morning, I woke up and started writing to my friend. We decided to take on the game A Way Out and ended up playing the whole thing in one go. We did pause for lunch, during which I indulged in some strangely-scented blue cheese sandwiches. I didn't dwell on it much because the cheese tasted good.
As the game progressed, I finished off the entire chunk of cheese. Boy, was that a mistake. An hour after we completed the game, my co-worker came by to take me to work. We were stationed at an impromptu cleaning base near a construction site that was presently desolate, all workers having departed earlier.
While cleaning the restrooms, I thought, "Might as well take a break now!" So, I made myself comfortable in one of the stalls, mop bucket in tow. It seemed to be going okay. However, as I was zipping up my pants, my stomach started grumbling.
I reacted instinctively, pulling my pants down again, thinking I wasn't done. It was at this point that things took a turn for the worse. What made it worse was the fact that my co-worker was on the other side of the base, too far to hear me. Then, I started feeling a heady mix of dizziness and dehydration. But the worst part was yet to come.
Not long after, I felt a burp coming up, but instead, I gagged. Panic set in. Somehow, I managed to hold onto the bucket I'd been using, just in time to throw up. It was a never-ending ordeal, for five harrowing minutes. All I could do was sit there wondering why I thought sandwiches were a good idea.
Eventually, my concerned co-worker made her way over to my side of the base. She found me in a pitiful state, huddled over a bucket. Without missing a beat, she dialed my mother's number (we were actually working for my mom's cleaning service). My waterworks had started and all I wanted was for it to end.
My mom's voice on the other end asked, "How are you feeling?" "Shouldn't have had that blue cheese...", was all I managed to mutter before turning back to the bucket. My co-worker bolted to fetch a water bottle and charcoal pills, which I downed hastily. Shortly after, everything ceased. My head, though, was still spinning.
I was incapable of holding myself upright so I leaned against the stall. When my mom arrived, I was feeble and dehydrated but grateful to be alive. I attempted to get up, but muscle fatigue had set in, and I collapsed back onto the toilet, nearly fainting.
In my incapacitated state, my mom had to pull up my pants for me. They basically dragged me to the car and drove me home. By the time we got there, I just managed to freshen up before collapsing into bed.
8. In A "Flash"
Back in high school, I had these pair of jeans that had a peculiar defect—the zipper unzipped on its own every time I placed my hands in my pockets. Though odd, being a bit relaxed about the dire need to replace it, I kept on wearing them. In fact, I remember wearing those jeans in one class, with a teacher I found pretty cool and was comfortable with.
For some inexplicable reason, I came up with the quirky idea of demonstrating the bizarre trick of my rogue jeans to her. So, while she was seated, I went up to her and, positioning myself about half a foot in front of her, I mischievously said, "Watch this".
I only intended to show how my hands in my pockets provoked the zipper. To my shock and mortification, my boxers played peek-a-boo, and well... everything took a freefall in view. Till this day, I can't comprehend why that flashed across my mind as a good idea.
Gratefully, she brushed it off saying she didn't see anything, but alas, the event pinned me with an awful memory I still carry around.
9. The Slow Trickle
Back in middle school, I was part of the track club. I would always try to avoid using school restrooms, merely because it was inconvenient. One day at track practice, I desperately needed to use the bathroom just as I was lining up to run. To my horror, I couldn't hold it.
I started relieving myself inside my shorts even before I could start running. I tried to cover it up by pretending I was simply stretching low towards the ground, but it didn't help a whole lot. My shorts were completely drenched. To this day, I'm surprised no one ever found out what happened.
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10. Systems Down
Here's a story from about 15 years ago. In the middle of moving data, one of our file servers went belly-up. As if that wasn't bad enough, two drives failed simultaneously. To top it all off, I only had backups of changes made over the past week.
Luckily, only around 20% of our personal files sat on that server... but the unlucky part was this: Half of the execs' files were there. So you can imagine the political storm that ensued.
I rushed to my boss immediately with an estimate to repair the disk cluster. We shipped out the disks that same day and I salvaged what I could. I remember going home that evening, telling my wife that I'd likely be fired once everything was sorted.
\After all, this mishap cost the company $15K and over a day's downtime—all for about 13% of our data. A week after the fix, I was summoned to the CEO's office.
He wanted to hear it all straight from me. I explained that I was responsible for the server and therefore the chaos. But I also highlighted how our tight budget and restricted data-moving slot didn't exactly set me up for success.
Despite all my efforts, the dual failure happened. I wasn't fired. I didn't get much in terms of budget increases either. However, six months after the incident, I did receive a decent pay rise. It still took quite a while for me to regain the execs' trust, though.
11. Trippin' Out
During my wilder teenage years, I naively doubled my dose of psychedelics because they weren't taking effect quickly enough. My friend and I were hanging out in a park, she was carrying plenty of extra doses. We didn’t realize that the park closed at 10 PM, right when the effects of the substances started to hit us hard.
Just then, a few patrol cars rolled in to ensure that everyone had left the park. Meanwhile, we were inside our car getting high. They parked behind us, turning their lights on, and I immediately started freaking out. I broke out in a heavy sweat, down to my toes.
My friend, despite also being guilty, kept her cool and managed to convince the officers that I was simply having a panic attack and needed some space. Remarkably, they listened to her and let us leave. I immediately phoned a friend to come pick me up and drive me back home.
Unfortunately, I realized upon arrival that I'd locked myself out, and my mom was out of town. Sleeping at my friend's house wasn't an option, so I was chauffeured to another friend's house a few towns over. I turned up on her doorstep at 1 AM, only to be met by her disapproving Catholic parents. What a night, it was.
12. Epic Face Plant
When I was a kid, I decided to ride my bike around the lake's perimeter. I thought it would be a great idea to pedal over our wooden dock without any hitches. However, in less than a minute, I tumbled into the shallow waters near the shore, the bike chain getting tangled with the wooden planks.
I landed awkwardly on my face against some rocks, experiencing a pain that made my spine arch beyond imaginable limits—and it was at that moment, I realized I had made a terrible mistake.
Following the fall, half my face was scraped up raw, my glasses impaled my skin near my eye sockets in two spots. Covered in blood, I casually approached my mom and greeted her with a cheery "Hi!" Let's just say, she was anything but overjoyed.
13. Keeping The Faith
I moved from Buffalo to Seattle with just $1,000, thinking I had a job waiting for me. Unfortunately, they had just interviewed me for information, and I was left scrambling to find work, living in a hostel. A temp agency found me a job, but it only lasted three weeks before the call center let me go.
When I got the phone call in my room, I knew I wouldn't be staying. I realized that I was on the verge of becoming homeless. I spent roughly the last $300 I had on a bus ticket back to Buffalo, taking only what I could carry. To me, it felt safer to be homeless in a familiar place instead of a city where I didn't know anyone.
I ran out of money mid-journey in Wisconsin, lost my wallet in Chicago and arrived in Buffalo to a heavy snowfall, making it hard to lug my stuff around. Fast forward two and a half years and I'm working in Seattle again. I'm in secure housing, have reliable transport, two decent jobs, and a heap of new friends.
Thankfully, I managed to bounce back with help from my parents after the chaos of 2019. Nearly a year since my return, I can honestly say I've never been happier. Even life's biggest setbacks aren't the end of the world, although, when I looked out the bus window back in November 2019, it certainly felt like mine had come crashing down.
14. Just An Off Day
When I was 17, I worked at a fast-food place. One super busy day, after working a long shift, I was wiped out. The manager wanted me to stay late and take over the night shift. I tried to tell him I was too knackered, but he kept pushing until I gave in. Big mistake! I let all the oil out of the deep fryer and forgot to switch it off.
The thing burst into flames that nearly reached the roof. I quickly put the fire out with an extinguisher, but then I was left with a lot of white foam to clean. I threw a bucket of water into the fryer to clean it up. What I didn't realize was there was still a bucket of scalding oil underneath the fryer.
Suddenly, super hot oil erupted like a volcano at my feet, immediately filling the kitchen with smoke. White foam was all over the place, with a layer of sizzling oil covering the entire kitchen floor. My manager came in, completely shocked, and found me there in tears.
He just told me to go home, but I felt horrible about the mess I had made and had to clean it up. I spent all night tidying until sunrise. It's incredible that I wasn't burned or even fired from my job.
15. Lost Gems
I used to work in a warehouse that stored and rented out all kinds of jewelry showcases for trade shows. We had a trailer filled with six-foot counter cases, which were about 70% glass. Except for the last row, the cases were kept on dollies for easy unloading when we reached the dock. These cases never actually left the warehouse; we just loaded them into a trailer to make more space.
One day, we were maneuvering the truck into the warehouse to clean the cases for an upcoming show. It was my job to open the trailer doors before the truck backed up to the dock. In a moment of thoughtlessness, I opened the doors and then decided to run behind the truck as it was reversing.
The driver saw me and immediately hit the brakes. In that moment, I felt like I was witnessing my entire life in a flash before my eyes. Due to the sudden stop, all the cases on the dollies went flying out of the trailer and crashed onto the concrete floor. Around 22 cases ended up shattered on the ground.
Thankfully, the warehouse manager maintained his composure and simply told me how fortunate I was to not get hurt by these falling cases. That event turned out to be my biggest mistake with the company.
16. A Blonde Moment
When I was interviewing for a job at Whataburger, the interviewer asked me, "Do you think you could handle this job?" In a strange moment, my response echoed Elle Woods from Legally Blonde when she retorted, "What? Like it's hard?" after her ex was stunned that she got accepted to law school.
The second those words left my mouth, I realized how it must've sounded: arrogant. I could almost hear the disapproving thoughts of the interviewer, a guy in his thirties, as he looked at the 16-year-old me, no doubt thinking something about the overconfidence of youth.
He thanked me for coming in, and our meeting ended there and then. As you can guess, I didn't get the job. Boy, the silly things you do when you're a teenager.
17. Wyoming Drift
I'm a Wyoming resident. A while back, I starting dabbling in rally racing and owned a four-wheel-drive sporty compact car. A neighboring town has an disused football field complete with a dirt track—exactly as one might picture it. After leaving a bar one night, I decided to pull off a few drifts around the corners of the track. All went well and I left unscathed 15 minutes later.
But, on my way home, I decided to return for another lap or two. Everything was going smoothly until I overstepped the car's limits. On one turn, I lost control and crashed into a snack bar, leaving a substantial dent. After the accident, my ride wouldn’t start because the impact had dislodged the front axle from the transmission.
It was really late, so I had no option other than to let the local authorities know: "Hey, I goofed up". The officers weren’t pleased initially, but they mellowed out after a while since I was cooperative. I felt awful. I still feel remorse even now.
18. Urgent Matters
I found myself in a hospital for a kidney check-up. Suddenly, I felt an urgent need to use the restroom. I hurried off to find one, quickly popping into the first one I saw to relieve myself. Little did I know I had stumbled into the wrong place—I had unwittingly used the ladies' restroom.
Before I knew it, a queue formed outside the single toilet, all waiting for me to finish. What really startled me was the first woman in the line, a feisty 90-year-old. As I emerged, I was met with the surprised faces of three women in the queue. Collectively, they seemed to be asking: "Why on earth is he in here?"
In that moment of embarrassment, I found myself blankly staring at the side wall and hobbling out of the restroom. I've never felt so humiliated in my life.
19. Time Out, Ref
When I was about 14, I was coaching a four-year-old kids' soccer team, even though I also still played soccer myself. During one game, while the kids were taking a water break, I stayed on the field to juggle the ball. This always thrilled them, which is why I kept doing it.
When the water break was over, I booted the ball, knowing the kids would excitedly chase it before returning it to continue the game. This was a regular part of our routine, so the kids knew to steer clear when I was about to kick because I could really give the ball some welly.
During this particular game, we were against the clock, so I didn't want to kick the ball too far. However, one kid didn’t move out the way as usual. Unseen in my peripheral vision, he dashed in front of me just as I was kicking. I accidentally walloped the boy.
It was such an awful feeling. Thankfully, he was alright; giggling and back on his feet straight away. Still, I couldn't forget the thought of what might have happened if I'd kicked the ball harder that time. I never did that again and quit coaching after that season. The parents were absolutely lovely about it though, reassuring me it wasn't my fault.
20. In Tow, In Toe
When I was around seven years old, I was chasing my brother around our house. As I pulled the front door open forcefully, my big toe got stuck in it. Instantly, agonizing pain enveloped my foot. The skin between my toes ripped and I was in extreme pain.
My brother said I fell silent, and his face blanched when he saw all the blood on our porch. But my big brother was a true hero. He quickly lifted me off the ground and placed me on some steps, covering my wound with a towel. Then he frantically rushed to get our parents.
Thanks to an emergency trip, I got my foot stitched up in time. If he hadn't taken immediate action, I might have had to say goodbye to my toe.
21. Geez, Take A Hint
A couple of years ago, I found myself drawn to goth, emo, and punk style ladies, and I had this work friend who was in that crowd. As time went on, we started to bond, and she was always keen to hang out. For her birthday one year, she even told me, "We'll have drinks, so feel free to crash here if you need to".
Dumb as I was, I totally missed her signals. Looking back at our conversations, I don't know how I didn't pick up on her flirtations. We would stay up until the early hours of the morning chatting, but I was still totally in the dark. She's with someone else now, but I pledged to myself I won't miss such signs anymore.
22. Little Fires Everywhere
One summer I stayed over at my grandparents' cabin nestled in the Colorado mountains. As a rather reckless 10-year-old, I found myself playing alone with fireworks. In a not-so-smart move, I chose to light up one of those spinning, bouncing pyrotechnics and nonchalantly tossed it off a hill onto the gravel road below.
It instantly sprung to life, zipping violently across the road, down another hill and scattering sparks as it careened off. Frenzied, I ran after it only to make a chilling discovery—mini fires sparked off everywhere the firework had bounced. Each one was roughly the height of my knee. Thankfully, I managed to gather my wits just in time to squelch each one.
Even now, I often find myself wondering about the catastrophe that could've unfolded had I not chased it down that hill.
23. Forced Adulthood
One evening at 17, I decided to visit my boyfriend. My mom had warned me that I'd face eviction if I ever visited his place—she wasn't too fond of him since he had disrespected his mother during their only encounter. Defying her warnings, I fought with her and stormed out towards his house. Upon my return, I was met with a major shock.
She had a small laundry basket packed for me by the entrance. "Keep those shoes on," she directed, "Did you think I was just bluffing? Hop in the car now". With that, she tossed the basket into the trunk, snatched my house keys, and drove me to a local women's shelter. After dropping me off, she warned that she would alert the authorities if I dared return to her property.
For almost a year, I didn't hear from her. The only reason she finally reached out was to ask if I had fallen victim to substance use "like those shelter folks" and if I had found a job yet. At 23 now, I've become a cautionary tale for my younger brother in her eyes. She thinks that I'm a dreadful outcome of laziness, lacking work values, and not attending college.
In reality, I'm what transpires when a mother abandons her child prematurely, compelling them to struggle towards adulthood, navigating welfare, bouncing between shelters, and renting rooms to survive.
24. Hydro Hazard
As an HVAC technician, about 13 years ago, I was fixing an expansion valve in a second-floor apartment's closet. This task required using a torch, which I started using without noticing the sprinklers located just two feet above where I was working. Then, BAM!
Massive amounts of water gushed out, breaking through the closet wall and flooding not just the whole apartment, but the one below it as well. Unfortunately, I couldn't manage to turn off the water. However, luckily the Fire Department were quick on the scene and they managed to shut off the water from the main source.
It was a terrible day. Surprisingly though, I didn't lose my job...
25. Super Well Done
One evening, following an extended gaming session, I chose to heat up some chicken nuggets in the microwave. I took them out from the freezer and glanced over the instructions: "30 minutes at high heat" and so on. I tossed them in the microwave, set it for 30 minutes, and returned to my movie in the living room.
After about five minutes, a terrible smell filled the air. I instantly knew something was wrong. Swiftly, I sprinted to the kitchen, only to find smoke spewing from every nook and cranny of the microwave.
I flung open the microwave door, wafted away the smoke, opened the back door for further ventilation, and used a dish cloth to grab the searing hot plate of chicken nuggets. The nuggets had turned into solid black pieces that resembled coal. I threw them in the trash where they burned right through the bag.
At that moment, I figured skipping a meal and heading to sleep might be a better idea. In the end, those 30-minute instructions were meant for an oven, not a microwave.
26. For My Eyes Only
One time, I had a question for the bank, so I went in and gave some papers to the manager. Oddly enough, he was already holding documents about the vault, which I suspected contained top-secret information. Casually, he put my documents on top of his own.
When he finished answering my question, he returned the entire pile to me, including his vault documents. Seeing the strange document, I handed it back to him, asking, "Is this yours?" Boy, did he grab it back quickly! His eyes went wide, and he seemed genuinely scared. It looked as if he had just seen his career flash before his very eyes.
27. Technical Difficulties
Around three years into my IT job, I was given the responsibility of prepping our company's grassroots advocacy tool for the 2000 Elections. This was significant because the internet was just beginning to be used for publishing election results. Our single server had coped well for the '98 elections, but for 2000, we felt the need to ramp up to six servers.
Unbeknownst to us, we were still short by about 100 servers. We were inundated with traffic throughout the day like we'd never witnessed before. Our workaround was to reboot the servers every 20 minutes to let someone get an update.
To make things worse, they couldn't finalize the election due to a hang-up with Florida, which led to continuous checking for updates. The next day, I fully expected to be sacked, but surprisingly that didn't happen. However, I didn't take my chances and decided to leave before the next election rolled around.
28. Mothers Always Know
Some time back, I started using biotin supplements to help improve my hair and nails. It was my first time taking them, and my mom cautioned me about how they stirred up a queasy feeling in her, to the extent of making her stop. Well, I decided to ignore her advice. Let's just say I wished I had listened to her when I began to feel sick during my morning choir practice.
The girl sitting in front of me was flooded with...affection.
29. Back It Up
Picture this: It was a dark, snowy night and I was trying to maneuver my giant 18-wheeler into a parking space. Having only six months of trucking under my belt, it wasn't easy. I lined myself up but the truck was askew, wobbling to the right each time I tried to correct it.
In hindsight, I should've jumped out for one last inspection, but I went ahead anyway and ended up crashing the front of another truck badly. I was released from my job immediately and had to head back home on the Greyhound bus the next day. It was no joke finding another job; took me about six weeks to land one.
After all, who would want to hire a rookie who got sacked for safety violations? But I finally struck luck, fixed my record and have now successfully built seven years of experience in the field, pulling in a decent $60k annually.
30. Fungal Fiasco
I'm wrapping up the final year of my master's degree in plant disease studies at the moment. My thesis revolves around a type of fungus that seems to make bananas wilt. There was an incident last year during one of my experiments where I made a serious mistake. I forgot to pull samples.
These samples would've played an essential part in gauging just how much of the fungus was present in the plant body. I just realized this week that I need to account for that when I present my final report. Thankfully, the fungus levels were not the only factor we were paying attention to.
Still, there's no denying that I dropped the ball. The missing data was a significant chunk of the overall information I was gathering for my study. This mishap could threaten to derail my study, which is three years in the making. Yeah, I messed up.
31. A Losing Game
Last June, I fell ill while trying to bounce back from the financial toll of losing my jobs, theatre gigs, and even getting denied unemployment in 2020. June found me juggling three jobs, and honestly, I didn't have a moment to be ill. But sure enough, I was hit by a nasty bout of sickness—immobilized, wrestling a 104-degree fever, and unable to keep food down.
When my condition didn't seem to improve, people around convinced me to visit a walk-in clinic, despite my resistance. I was hallucinating from fever and supposedly conversing with spirits of the departed. The staff at the clinic made it clear my case was beyond their capacity and had me ushered in a wheelchair to the emergency ward.
Turns out, I was suffering from viral colitis. They treated me with an IV drip—which admittedly, I was in dire need of—and prescribed me a three-week liquid diet. Then came the punchline: This simple visit and treatment racked up a bill of $6,000, an amount I couldn't pay off then, nor can I now.
Remember how 2020 stripped me off my jobs? My insurance was a casualty too, and it only got reinstated in September. To anyone who dares to justify this $6,000 bill, I suggest they reconsider their stance. Deep down, I had this lingering suspicion that seeking medical help was a mistake.
32. Mice Mania
A quarter-year into settling into my new residence, I was struggling with a mouse infestation. This wasn't unusual for a Toronto winter, but I have a strong dislike for mice. On the first night, I saw one mouse, but you know the saying—if there's one, there are probably more. I was up most of the night, probably only getting an hour's sleep, in a futile effort to catch the mouse.
My roommates were out of town, so I took it upon myself to set up an abundance of traps and stuff any gap I could find with steel wool. After work that day, I came home to find that two mice had indeed fallen for the traps in various parts of our living room. It was a nerve-racking experience just to dispose of them.
I took another turn around the house to check on the remaining traps. In my bedroom, I spotted a small hole next to one of my wall sockets. I impulsively decided to move my bed away and plug it up with steel wool—a decision I regretted instantly. A massive spark erupted from the wall, and I felt a sudden jolt surge through me.
Unsure of how to proceed, I dialed 9-1-1 and explained my situation. I asked the operator for advice on safely removing the steel wool from the socket. She directed me not to touch it, and asked for my address so she could send help. Thinking it wasn't a big deal, I told her I could handle it myself.
However, within minutes a fire truck pulled up in front of my house and four firefighters hopped out, fully prepared for a major fire. I let them in, trying to explain the situation, but left them dumbfounded at my actions. "Why on earth did you think it was a smart idea to put steel near a power socket?" was what they all seemed to be thinking. I felt embarrassed.
Walking into my room accompanied by one firefighter, while leaving the other three chortling outside, I pointed out the socket. The firefighter used a plastic pen to skillfully remove the steel wool—it only took five seconds. Afterwards, he took a moment to mentor me on why inserting steel near a power socket was ill-advised.
The fear of mice nearly cost me my life.
33. Slippin' Through
When I was around 14 or 15 years old, I had been handling a narrow, but thick metal plate, drilling into it while gripping it by hand. Unfortunately, I ended up drilling right through my finger.
When the drill bit hit the floor, it shattered into three parts: one part rolled away on the floor, another one remained in the drill, and the last piece lodged itself in my finger. Since I didn't get to the doctor on time, my wound already started to heal and the bit remained there.
So now, I live with a piece of drill bit spanning the full width of my finger.
34. The Wrong Switch
In the ice cream shop where I used to work, I once had a shift with a newly transferred co-worker. Our job that night was to secure the store, ensuring all ice cream containers were properly sealed, and turning off the freezer lights. Unfortunately, the switches for the lights and the power were placed side by side and they were unmarked.
Though I was unsure, I didn't check with my colleague out of sheer oversight. I simply thought, "It's fifty-fifty, right?" and hoped she had turned off the right switch. The next morning, I was greeted with a flurry of text messages, notifying me of a $300 ice cream loss.
Surprisingly, I wasn't fired, but my hours were significantly cut back. That incident served a sobering lesson: lack of clarity and failure to ask necessary questions, makes me look incredibly stupid.
35. Recalculating Route...
On my first day in the new town, I woke up early, set out a plan, and set off in my tiny Scion. I was trying to find a local thrift shop but got turned around and lost my way. Attempting to retrace my steps, I relied on my phone's GPS, but it seemed to add to the confusion with its random instructions. Unluckily, I missed a stop sign.
In my defense, a guy in a huge SUV had wrongly parked next to the sign, obstructing my view. Amidst avoiding his car, I ended up colliding into another, much to my horror. The collision left my small car shattered. Although my seatbelt did its part, I ended up getting a neck scar and a hematoma on my stomach.
I was the only one harmed and the only one forced to leave my car behind. Afterwards, I was stuck in a dead-end job for a prolonged period, mostly due to the inefficient public transport system. Interestingly though, I walked more. I found a silver lining in the fact that I saved considerably on expenses like car maintenance and fuel.
In an odd way, I consoled myself that things evened out in the end.
36. Cat-Like Reflexes
In a high school play, my role required me to toss a dart at a dartboard set right beside the stage's left entrance. It was our dress rehearsal, attended by a full house of middle school kids. As you can imagine, this was a disaster waiting to happen. And, it did.
I missed my aim and tossed the dart straight toward the guy who was making his entrance then. Proving to be quite the quick-thinker, he caught it in mid-air, and to top it off, improvised a funny joke entirely in character—a definite saving grace considering the dart was headed straight for his Adam's apple.
In hindsight, as an adult, I still wonder why we ever thought using real darts near an entrance just as someone was coming in, was a good idea.
37. Why's It Spicy?
When my son was about two, he was supposed to be napping, but he just wouldn't doze off. I was prepping jalapeño poppers for a party that night while he was lying down. He kept crying, so I eventually went in to see what was wrong, and it turned out his diaper needed changing.
So, I quickly changed it and tucked him back in bed. However, a few minutes later, he started crying uncontrollably again. I was clueless as to what was causing it. Shortly after, my hands started stinging terribly from the jalapeño juice residue. It was then I realized what had happened.
I must have accidentally transferred some jalapeño juice to his diaper area, explaining his distress. I felt awful!
38. Lesson Learned
I went to pick up my daughter from my ex's house, along with my fiancé, even though he had told me I couldn't see her that weekend. This was not our usual deal; he was just trying to make things more difficult. I was incredibly upset as we had been successfully sharing custody for over two years without any written agreement.
I didn't have any proof to stake my claim. His new partner added drama to the situation, presenting a distorted version of events to the authorities. I was put in a tight spot without any impartial witnesses around me. I nearly ended up behind bars. I had to sit in a cell for a couple of hours; it was potentially the lowest point of my life.
Young, afraid, and naive, I regret my actions deeply. Following this incident, I struggled to find money to hire a lawyer and ended up gaining nearly full custody after the stunt they pulled.
39. U R an L
Back in 2015, I was doing marketing for a popular US-based restaurant chain. As part of a new loyalty program launch, we placed mini flyers and pop-up banners in the restaurants. These had a QR code leading to a link where customers could download our mobile app and sign up.
I decided to use a shortened URL, clueless at the time that the case of the letters mattered. In line with our brand, all our URLs were printed in uppercase. However, if this specific short URL was entered exactly as it was, in all caps, it directed users to an adult site.
We surely received a few upset customer calls that day. But to be fair, who exactly inputs a URL as they see it when a handy QR code is right there to scan?
40. The End-All Cure
Growing up, my folks just loved dishing out Benadryl for any little symptom I showed. They seemed to live in the era of "Benadryl fixes everything," and they wholeheartedly believed it. It all began with a slight allergic reaction but soon, any sign of discomfort led to a dose of Benadryl. This continued for weeks on end.
I can still recall how fast my heart was beating, it felt like it would burst. The side effects were truly horrific. I was hallucinating, my stomach was twisting and turning and my mouth was so dry it ached. It's all quite fuzzy to recall, and I don't remember much until the time when I was sat at my grandma's kitchen table, waiting for some food.
She began to realise something was off when I woke up in a terrified state, feeling sick and unable to move. That's when she stepped in. She gave my parents a piece of her mind, and wouldn’t leave my side until I felt better.
41. Major Malfunction
I was working on an exclusive project at a nuclear plant, setting up a one-of-a-kind system that consisted of giant, copper doors inside a vacuum vessel. I was tasked to control the doors using a computer, through which I would send single-step commands to either open or close them.
The doors were equipped with microswitches inside the vessel that would sense when they were completely open or shut. At one point, I pressed the wrong thing. I accidentally keyed in '1K'—a reset command—into my computer. Instantly, it lost its connection with the door drivers.
Due to this, the microswitches failed to recognize that the doors were fully opened. This led to the motors continuously running, causing the doors to open past their defined limits, which turned out to be one massive disaster.
That day, I ended up damaging some insanely costly equipment—the price of which was more than what I could earn in my entire career. This single error of mine resulted in a seven-year delay on the project.
42. Putting Comfort First
I used to work as a funeral director. After a hectic month, I recognized that a woman I was preparing had been excessively handled by the medical examiner, doctors, and nursing home staff. While preparing her, I resolved that she has been disturbed enough, and upon learning from the family that she valued comfort, I chose not to force her into a bra.
To paint a picture, an unalive person's body (mainly their chest,) resembles those stress balls filled with flour, which maintain their form. I dressed her, styled her hair, applied her makeup, saw to it that her socks and shoes were properly worn, added hair clips, and organized her rings.
My schedule coordinator called me in to inform me that the lady's daughter had arrived and was enraged about the absence of the bra. I met the daughter, who was displaying the bra and weeping, wanting to know who was accountable. She was crying, "WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS??"
The schedule coordinator, who didn't particularly like me, pointed out that I was to blame, then urged me towards the daughter and shut the door. I calmly requested the daughter to take a seat, and then put forth my sentiment: Her mother had already been handled enough, and I surmised she could probably forego the bra.
Choked with emotion, the daughter revealed that her mother had often expressed her wish to not be confined by societal norms. I comforted the daughter by hugging her, then sent her off. On emerging from the viewing room, my schedule coordinator was smirking at me, anxiously expecting the daughter to berate me.
Instead, they witnessed the daughter embracing me and departing, brushing away tears but with a smile on her face. With a loud voice, intended for all to hear, she expressed, "My mom is in good hands".
43. Smelly Science
During my high school years, I volunteered to assist with coaching the Science Olympiad, a nearby middle school science competition involving multiple events related to diverse scientific fields.
I specifically helped with a chemistry event that required students to conduct tests on various powders and observe how they interacted with specific chemicals, including HCl and NaOH. Having participated in the same event when I was in middle school, I was well-suited for this coaching role, despite not really enjoying this specific event.
I noticed the kids were repeatedly working on plain white powders, which didn't produce any interesting reactions. So, I decided to bring the potassium permanganate into the picture, a vivid purple powder known for its unique reactions.
My knowledge about using this powder was somewhat limited, mainly based on what I had learned when participating in the event myself. The high school coach that time had also used potassium permanganate, and although I couldn't recall all details of its use, I felt comfortable enough to set the students up with the powder and the standard reagents—water, HCl, and NaOH.
I reminded them to handle everything with care, and left them to explore. A little while later, the room started to give off a strong smell reminiscent of a swimming pool. And that's when I recalled an important detail: mixing potassium permanganate with hydrochloric acid produces chlorine gas.
Not wasting any time, I opened all the windows and got the kids out of the room. Looking back, I remembered that although HCl was around when I was student, my high school coach never encouraged using it, although she hadn't explained why. It appeared I had replicated the error and realized the reason just in time.
Luckily, there was no harm done.
44. Keep It Down, Will Ya?
Once, when I lived in an apartment, a girl visited me. We were enjoying some private moments when I heard a knock on my door—it was the building's security guard asking me to shut my window. It had slipped my mind that it was completely open, broadcasting our activities for all to hear.
According to the guard, the sounds were echoing off the building walls and filling the courtyard. It was funny at the time; however, after that incident, I noticed a change. The older ladies in the complex started giving me unfavorable looks, as if I was some kind of misfit.
45. Just Keep Swimming
I was having a blast in a hotel pool that had tables and chairs built into the bottom. No one else was around—it was off-season—so I thought it'd be fun to dart in and out of the furniture, pretending I was a fish exploring a coral reef.
I was having the time of my life, feeling like an underwater superstar when suddenly, my chest felt like it was burning and I couldn't move. Panic started to set in. I was stuck between a chair and table, my body under the table where just two inches of concrete separated me from the air I desperately needed.
I instantly thought I was a contender for a Darwin Award and my time would be up in about forty-five seconds. I began struggling wildly as if my life depended on it—because it did. Somehow, I managed to free myself, but suffered some gnarly skin scrapes on my back and chest, each about six inches square.
The thought of drowning scares anyone, but the prospect of doing so in a hotel pool because of a silly stunt I was pulling is both horrifying and utterly embarrassing. I reckon it was that embarrassment that fueled my frantic efforts to escape.
46. Free Show
When I was 18, I attempted to climb a chain-link fence. Midway through, my arms couldn't take it anymore. My feet lost grip and I found myself dangling, with my shirt and bra caught on the fence's top, exposing my chest and lifting my shirt over my face. A passing kid was completely stunned, his eyes widened and mouth fell open as I struggled to untangle myself.
47. Turbulent Skies
I took the leap for my first-ever solo skydive and had two instructors with me. But I failed to arch my body properly, as instructed, and found myself spiraling headfirst through the open sky, with only one instructor somehow keeping a firm grip on me.
In a heart-stopping moment, he pulled my parachute, but it was a bit too nail-bitingly close for comfort. Then, as I was still spinning uncontrollably, the parachute opened. Unfortunately, I got tangled in the cords, which had me hanging upside down. To top it off, the parachute only extended about 80%.
Despite this entire rollercoaster of an experience, I somehow nailed the landing, can you believe it? I was incredibly embarrassed when I finally touched the ground though. Yep, I made a huge mistake... and it could've had the most severe consequences. But well, that's all part of the journey, isn't it?
48. When Nature Calls
The day I moved from Virginia to New Jersey, I had a date. I had planned to head right to Jersey after, but my meal left me feeling incredibly sick. Despite this, the date was going great and the last thing I wanted was to call it off early. So, my choice was to just grin and bear it until the date finished.
As soon as it was over, I dashed to my car and raced to the closest restaurant to use their restroom. But horrifyingly, I didn't quite make it. Unfortunately, I lost the battle and ended up staining my pants. It was so awful that leaving the car wasn't even an option.
So... I drove through the ordeal from Virginia to Jersey, driving so fast my biggest fear was to be stopped by the authorities. Miraculously, I reached my apartment at 3 am. Then I sneaked up three flights of stairs to avoid waking anyone, discarded my clothes, and showered.
The next day, I headed out to buy tools to remove and dispose of the driver's seat, setting me back around $2,000. Then I sent the car for thorough detailing—even more dough down the drain. In the end, I finally decided to just sell the car entirely to forget the whole fiasco. But it's all turned out okay because the girl from that ill-fated date?
She's now my wife. I've kept this story from her and anyone else close to me. This secret goes with me to the grave.
49. Up In Flames
In my early 20s, I had a job in facilities and was a keen smoker. I worked for a posh company with a no-smoking policy, so whenever I needed to light up, I would sneak behind the building.
We recently swapped some furniture and had tons of cardboard and plastic wrap left, so the company got a portable dumpster delivered, which coincidentally got placed around the corner where I smoked. One evening, during my break, I got called up to fix a machine.
I put out my half-smoked cigarette intending to return to it later, but it snapped in half. Annoyed, I tossed it into the dumpster. After sorting the machine, I returned to the office. A few minutes later, one of my colleagues rushed in to report a fire. My heart dropped.
I quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and dashed outside, only to find the dumpster ablaze. My colleagues and I tried to put it out, but the fire grew fiercer, leading us to dial 9-1-1. By the time the fire service arrived, the flames were shooting up around 10 feet from the dumpster, and it took them nearly 30 minutes to extinguish.
Following this, we all got checked over and were advised by the fire department to head to the hospital straight away due to smoke inhalation. My careless mistake led to three of my co-workers hospitalised and the entire incident was caught on the security camera above the dumpster.
I got the sack and was permanently banned from the premises. Luckily, there was no substantial damage or severe injuries. It was truly a "boy, did I screw up" moment.
50. Fully Laced Up
My buddy is a car repairman. Many times, he'd fix issues with cars designed with the climate control intakes close to the passenger's feet. Bad design, really. Light stuff like shopping bags could be pulled into the intake from the outside, causing a nasty vibration in the air vents.
When people came in with this issue, they'd usually argue that there was no way something got sucked into their intake. Sure enough, we'd reach under the passenger side dashboard, find some random thing, and remove it. Just like that, the problem would vanish.
Once, my friend told me about a particularly grumpy woman who had never visited his garage before. She had the very same problem, and when he reached under her dashboard, what did he find? A pair of shiny red lacey underwear. They both just looked at the underwear in his hand. She quickly grabbed it back, hissing, "These aren't mine!"
And with that, she sped off, never to return.