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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stories of Stupidity - 1


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Recently I got another one of those e-mails that get sent around, this one with 9 "Stories of Stupidity" (Thanks DZ). Unfortunately for humanity, they all have the ring of truth, and, I am glad to say, I have made none of these mistakes, nor have I ever put a transit card into a dollar bill feed on a bus farebox.

Sometimes you wonder, could things like this really happen? So I have added three stories of stupidity that I saw happen with my very own eyes, not overheard by a cousin or a friend, or a friend of a friend. If you forward this you can quote the source of these as Peter of Http://thepeterfiles.blogspot.com and that's a fact. There were multiple witnesses to the last two who I could dig up if it was worth it. But first, the 9 that triggered the post. Believe them or don't. Leave a comment either way - you don't have to sign up to comment! Just click on the words MOUTH OFF!

ONE Recently, when I went to McDonald's I saw on the menu that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken McNuggets. I asked for a half dozen nuggets. "We don't have half dozen nuggets," said the teenager at the counter. "You don't ?" I replied. "We only have six, nine, or twelve," was the reply. "So I can't order a half dozen nuggets, but I can order six?" "That's right." So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets.

TWO I was checking out at the local Wal-Mart with just a few items and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine. I picked up one of those "dividers" that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our things so they wouldn't get mixed. After the girl had scanned all of my items, she picked up the "divider," looking it all over for the bar code so she could scan it. Not finding the bar code she said to me, "Do you know how much this is?" I said to her "I've changed my mind, I don't think I'll buy that today." She said "OK," and I paid her for the things and left. She had no clue to what had just happened.

THREE A lady at work was seen putting a credit card into her floppy drive and pulling it out very quickly. When I inquired as to what she was doing, she said she was shopping on the Internet and they kept asking for a
credit card number, so she was using the ATM "thingy."

FOUR I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping beside her car. "Do you need some help?" I asked. She replied, "I knew I should have replaced the battery to this remote door un locker. Now I can't get into my car. Do you think they (pointing to a distant convenience store) would have a battery to fit this?" "Hmmm, I dunno. Do you have an alarm, too?" I asked. "No, just this remote thingy," she answered, handing it and the car keys to me. As I took the key and manually unlocked the door, I replied, "Why don't you drive over there and check about the batteries. It's a long walk."

FIVE Several years ago, we had an Intern who was none too swift. One day she was typing and turned to a secretary and said, "I'm almost out of typing paper. What do I do?" "Just use copier machine paper," the secretary told her. With that, the intern took her last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five "blank" copies.

SIX I was in a car dealership a while ago, when a large motor home was towed into the garage. The front of the vehicle was in dire need of repair and the whole thing generally looked like an extra in "Twister." I asked the
manager what had happened. He told me that the driver had set the "cruise control" and then went in the back to make a sandwich.

SEVEN My neighbor works in the operations department in the central office of a large bank. Employees in the field call him when they have problems with their computers. One night he got a call from a woman in one of the branch banks who had this question: "I've got smoke coming from the back of my terminal. Do you guys have a fire downtown?"

EIGHT Police in Radnor, Pa., interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.

NINE A mother calls 911 very worried asking the dispatcher if she needs to take her kid to the emergency room, the kid was eating ants. The dispatcher tells her to give the kid some Benadryl and should be fine, the mother says, I just gave him some ant killer..... Dispatcher: Rush him in to emergency!

Then three of my own:

A man riding on the nearly empty upper deck of a Rock Island commuter train heading into work around 9:30 in the morning is looking at a catalog and starts to make an order over his cell phone.

As he does so, the people in the car seated below him start looking at each other incredulously,
"Is this guy really stupid enough to do what we think he is going to do?"

Sure enough he starts reading off the numbers of an American Express Gold (from the color) card, he gets about 8 or 9 digits in when I bellow up "EXCUSE ME, I DIDN'T GET THOSE LAST TWO NUMBERS, COULD YOU REPEAT THEM PLEASE?" and the whole car starts laughing hysterically.

Red faced the man in the upper deck immediately closed his cell phone, shaking his head at what a stupid thing he was about to finish doing.

"Thank you, that was a pretty stupid thing I was doing wasn't it?"

To which half the car yelled "YES!" which made him more red, but then I added,

"Could have been worse, at least you didn't repeat the last two numbers!" Even he laughed at that.

While working at summer camp when I was 16 we slept on large metal cots with a foam mattress with a plastic cover which saved one of the larger C.I.T.'s or Counselor-in-Training's lives.

CIT's were only 15 and only made $10 for the summer, which basically paid for laundry money, though meals and lodging were free, and of course they got the great experience of working at one of America's premiere scout camps, the Owasippe Scout Reservation, working in this case at the section camp know as Camp Robert Crown where I was working as a regular staffer.

Largely because of their age and lack of experience CIT's were not known as being the swiftest kids on the staff, but this kid took the cake.

The State of Michigan required a mandatory "nap" for all kids under 18 in summer camps between 1 and 2 pm, which we referred to as "shoes-off merit badge" during which the kids had to be in their tents and on their canvas cots with their feet off the floor. Staff were exempt, but many of the staff took advantage of this siesta time since there were often some programmed hours in the evening that a given staff member had to attend.

I will never forget walking down staff row towards the adminstrative lodge when I heard yelling and screaming coming from this CIT's cabin tent which he shared with another. His roommate was yelling too, "Don't get off with one foot you'll fry, you have to jump, jump!"

Well jump he did, off the cot, out the door, his hair on end, and smoking, followed by his friend with a towel who threw it on his friends hair to make sure that if there was any real burning it was out.

What had happened was this. The staff cabins were electrified and the very heavy staff member had let the cable for his electric clock radio get under the metal legs of his cot which had just happened to sever the cord as I was walking by.

This turned the cot into a sparking electric bed, from which this CIT had been protected somewhat from the foam and plastic cover, but he had been sleeping, and had been terrified when awakened by his cabin-mate to find the bed sparking around him. As he was jumping off he touched some part of the bed and got a real jolt, but not enough to hold him to the bed or kill him.

As he came spinning down the hill, patting his head to see if it was on fire, screaming like a plucked chicken, as he ran to and jumped into the camp pool, fully clothed except for his shoes, it looked funnier than hell, but it was not for him.

I'm pretty sure that the first thing everyone did immediately after that was check the cords in their cabin and whether their cots were sitting on any cords. I knew mine weren't already.

The last story happened a few years earlier when I was a scout at the a different section camp (Stuart) that no longer appears on the map above when two brothers, to protect their identities we'll call them JJohn and DDennis or J and D for short, decided to bring up candy and a cigarette rolling machine and sell candy and cigarettes to other scouts at camp, our troop and any others. They figured they could make a few quick bucks and they did. The leaders knew about the candy operation but J & D neglected to tell them about the cigarette making venture. By making them out of cheap tobacco the costs were really bare bones and I suspect at home the little machine had other uses. Just a suspicion of course.

Well J & D had a rousing little business and did quite well. We were there for two weeks and some troops were up there only one, and while the camp had a trading post J made a point of having different products and fairly low prices giving a good value. By the middle of the second week he had about 80 dollars in his bulging wallet. He kept it all in there because he did not trust that the trunk they kept their wares in could not be broken into and while large boxes of candy could be found in a camp-wide search, cash was another matter. Or so J the mastermind of the operation thought.

That was until D started arguing with him while they were in the Kybo or outhouse (a relatively safe place to smoke (HA!) without getting caught by the leaders) about getting his hands on his share of the cut and accidentally knocked J's wallet in the hole! (Kybo is a military acronym for outhouse that stems from a saying probably to remind soldiers of the dangers of going into battle on a full stomach - Keep Your Bowels Open).

This caused a massive crisis for J & D and one of the most exciting moments of that summer. In instants the entire camp (not just our troop) learned the news as J tried to figure out how to get his wallet back, nestled as it were on the surface of horror, 6-8 feet below.

He soon realized, while several of the less kind members of the troop taunted him about needing to go, and go right NOW, that he could not find anything long enough to lower except DDennis who was just thin enough to be lowered through the hole to retrieve the wallet which was slowly starting to sink, bit by bit.

As can be expected DDennis was not too excited about this plan.

What if you drop me?

You can swim can't you?

But that's gross!

It's your fault, you knocked the wallet down there in the first place.

But it's not fair.

Sure it's fair, I am strong enough to lower you but you are not strong enough to lower me.

Why not have more guys lower me? Not enough room. Besides, look around, are you sure that they wouldn't rather drop you?

Like I can trust you on that?

Yeah, but if I dropped you, you'd tell mom and dad.

Yeah, and they'd beat the crap out of you, ironic huh. I still don't want to do it.

O.K. , but you owe me 90 dollars. 90! But what about my share?

It's a 40 dollar wallet, I should charge you for that anyway, but if you get it and clean it, I may forget about that, but the longer you argue the deeper it goes and the harder it will be to clean, and if it goes below the surface, the harder it will be to find.

Ugh. O.K. You win. Lower me down.

And so, D emptied his pockets, took off his watch and let J lower him down into the smelly pool of filth of unknown depth as all of those gathered around the building groaned in disgust and listened to hear the sounds of a splash and squeal indicating the worst fate we could imagine without physical harm.

It was then we realized that J probably should have put some kind of rope harness on D.

After two or three near drops and D having trouble because he was waving back and forth like a pendulum, he did manage to retrieve the wallet.

Then J realized that pulling D back up was going to be harder than lowering him down and as soon as he began to have trouble he had several extra hands pulling D back up to D's enormous relief.

Then everyone immediately backed up because the wallet in D's hand was half covered in, well, you know. D didn't smell too good either.

In light of the story that came out a year or two ago about multiple deaths that occurred in a latrine collapse in Asia as one person dived in to rescue another who fell in and passed out, then the next passed out, then the next, until the death toll was terribly large, I now realize that the whole thing was even stupider than we thought at the time.

Though its a wonder the darn thing never exploded from the smoking and fumes. Must have been just ventilated enough....

Well if those three stories really happened I guess the ones before it could have too. That's it for this file,


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Anonymous Tim said...

Thanks Peter! Often it feels like I am more of a fool for putting all of this out there for the world to see. So far everyone, like you, has been very gracious.

I will check out the books!

6/08/2005 8:20 AM  

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