Done any dumb things recently?

  • #1
ergospherical
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Today I left my key inside my house, so I went to the office to get a new one, and then literally within five minutes I got locked out again because I left the new key inside my house as well. The lady must have figured I was seriously stupid because she felt it necessary to escort me all the way to the front door so that I didn't lose a third... 😐
 
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  • #2
fresh_42
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G. H. Hardy said:
“For any serious purpose, intelligence is a very minor gift.”
 
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  • #3
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well, for work yesterday I was staring at my screen for a solid ten minutes wondering why an echo statement erroring. Turns out I wasn't in a PHP doc but Python. :biggrin:
 
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  • #4
fresh_42
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Norbert Wiener was renowned for his absent-mindedness. When he and his family moved from Cambridge to Newton his wife, knowing that he would be of absolutely no help, packed him off to MIT while she directed the move. Since she was certain that he would forget that they had moved and where they had moved to, she wrote down the new address on a piece of paper, and gave it to him. Naturally, in the course of the day, some insight occurred to him. He reached in his pocket, found a piece of paper on which he furiously scribbled some notes, thought it over, decided there was a fallacy in his idea, and threw the piece of paper away in disgust.

At the end of the day he went home – to the old address in Cambridge, of course. When he got there he realized that they had moved, that he had no idea where they had moved to, and that the piece of paper with the address was long gone. Fortunately inspiration struck. There was a young girl on the street and he conceived the idea of asking her where he had moved to, saying, “Excuse me, perhaps you know me. I’m Norbert Wiener and we’ve just moved. Would you know where we’ve moved to?” To which the young girl replied, “Yes Daddy, Mommy thought you would forget.”
(https://onionesquereality.wordpress.com/tag/mathematicians/)
 
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  • #5
rsk
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Today I put a pan on to boil an egg for breakfast and forgot to add the egg. Not sure if that counts?
 
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  • #6
George Jones
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Many, many years ago (long before I got married) I didn't just lock a key inside (which I certainly also have done), I lost a key, which created an interesting experience going through Canadian customs. My brother, a technical whiz, won a picture tube-changing (remember picture tubes?) competition put on by Zenith. His prize was a paid trip for two to the Bahamas, and, since we were both unattached at the time, he took me.

When we got to our hotel room in the Bahamas, I couldn't find the key to my locked suitcase. My brother, who had packed a flexible belt of tools, said "No problem, I'll pick the lock." And he did. After packing up at the end of our stay, I asked my brother "Can you lock my suitcase with your tools?" He replied "Yes." And he did.

I arrived back at Toronto airport with a locked suitcase an no key. My brother and I were separated into different areas of the airport. After a while, I realized that people in my line were being reunited with their luggage in the presence of customs agents, and that the customs agents were opening and searching all luggage items. When my turn came, i explained that I had lost the key to my suitcase.

"You mean to tell that you spent your entire vacation without opening this suitcase!"
"No. my brother picked the lock."
"Where is your brother?"
"I don't know. He didn't get put into this line."

A custom agent was assigned to me, and we found and brought back my brother. After my brother picked the lock in front of both agents, they made a cursory search of my suitcase, and they let us proceed.
 
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  • #7
Mondayman
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One time when I was a young adult, I got really drunk and walked to my old house (which is in the same neighborhood I live in), walked in, and slept on the couch. Was an awkward morning.
 
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  • #8
berkeman
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A semi-typical Silicon Valley Startup story...'

I was working at a startup about 15 years ago (the startup eventually went public and is now a nice big company where I still work), I had been working on a very hard technical problem (in analog/digital circuit design and EMC validation) for many weeks, averaging probably 70-80 hours per week including a few all-nighters. I was totally focused on the technical problems and issues, and pretty brain dead to anything else (I did take time to come out of my fog before my commutes home).

I set down my work notebook in the break room to put a new 5 gallon water container on the water cooler, removed the empty container, pulled the new container off the rack and set it on the floor. I pulled the plastic top off of the new/full container, tossed the plastic top into the water cooler top opening, picked up the water container, inverted it and started pouring it into the trash can. The sound of the water pouring into the trash can was different than I was used to and it woke me out of my fog. Oops! o0)

1625104278596.png
 
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  • #9
berkeman
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Today I put a pan on to boil an egg for breakfast and forgot to add the egg. Not sure if that counts?
It doesn't count if you made tea instead... :wink:
 
  • #10
symbolipoint
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Norbert Wiener was renowned for his absent-mindedness.,..., etc., etc,...
I know I read that story someplace else, too.
 
  • #11
Keith_McClary
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One time when I was a young adult, I got really drunk and walked to my old house (which is in the same neighborhood I live in), walked in, and slept on the couch. Was an awkward morning.
At least you didn't try to sleep in a bedroom.
 
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  • #12
strangerep
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At least you didn't try to sleep in a bedroom.
That might have been more fun, :)) .

Or not,... a looong time ago I rocked up to my then-girlfriend's place around 11pm. She didn't have a phone at the time (yes, it was a very long time ago), but she had 2 young kids by a previous marriage. As she had no phone I couldn't let her know I was coming. I went around to the back door and thought: "hmm, best not to knock or I'll wake the kids". The door was unlocked so I went in and quietly sat down on her bed in the dark. She woke up, and,... starting screaming until she realized it was me. OMG.

I guess this proves that having s**t-for-brains is no barrier to being also intellectual. :doh:
 
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  • #13
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Maybe not quite so funny but ever you're sweating about something really stupid you've done, there is, of course, always some worse.

Yesterday evening the BBC was covering the Bill Cosby release. A reporter on location pointed at the prison behind her and told us that was where Bill Clinton had spent the last few years. She must have been live, or it would have been edited, but she didn't realize, the recorded part of her report was aired and then they cut back to the studio presenter who had to apologise for her and clarify what she meant.

I cannot imagine how she felt when she realized... I wonder if we will ever see her on our screens again.
 
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  • #14
nuuskur
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Left freezer door open by accident for several hours. Came back, it was full of snow, the drawers were frozen shut etc. Time for a defrosting :(
 
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  • #15
Keith_McClary
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Bill Clinton had spent the last few years.
Freudian slip.
QNjv4BqkZdGXfzOPVSbO-9sH583RFqaPefEGY05nXXPGqlPqGQ.jpg
 
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  • #16
DaveC426913
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Kids rollicking in the pool. They got hold of a bucket and started throwing bucketsful of water at each other - most of it ending up outside the the pool.

I said "All right. That's enough. Hand me the bucket."

They were having too much fun throwing buckets of water, and did not hear me, so I raised my voice and said "Give it to me!"

And so they did.
 
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  • #17
hutchphd
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So the headlight low beam on my Ford Focus burns out and I stop by the parts store and get a nice new halogen bulb in its trusty bayonet fitting. I figure out how to access the wiring harness and headlight, disconnect the wires and carefully (don't touch the bulb!) replace the bulb and wires. Fire it up and NO JOY. Tests tell me there is no continuity at the headlamp but it is getting power.
So I take out the headlamp assembly. An hour later I have wrested the shiny plastic parabolic beacon to the workbench and am looking over. I note that the bulb looks less than new. I retrieve the packaging from the trash and see that the bulb I have thrown out seems shiny indeed.
Yes I had carefully taken my burned-out bulb out of and somehow placed it back in the headlamp assembly. I only spent two hours on the ground under the fender removing and replacing the damned assembly.
 
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  • #18
DaveC426913
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I hope you topped up the blinker fluid while you were under there.
 
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  • #19
Keith_McClary
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I only spent two hours on the ground under the fender removing and replacing the damned assembly.
Not bad. I would have broken or lost something in the process.
 
  • #20
DaveC426913
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Not bad. I would have broken or lost something in the process.
Sailor's wisdom: If you drop a nut or bolt off a boat, better that it happen while on water than while on-the-hard. If it happens on the water, at least you won't waste two hours looking for it.
 
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  • #21
Ivan Seeking
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I had to travel for work a couple of months ago. The rental car companies had sold off so many cars during the pandemic that they were struggling to supply cars. As a result, I ended up getting a free upgrade to a 500 hp Camero SS because it was all they had left. Bummer. :wink:

The bad thing was that I couldn't keep my foot off the gas. And whenever I punched it, my glasses flew off and landed on the back seat.
 
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  • #22
hutchphd
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Sailor's wisdom: If you drop a nut or bolt off a boat, better that it happen while on water than while on-the-hard. If it happens on the water, at least you won't waste two hours looking for it.
I realize this is not quite true. If at anchor or on mooring (and wetsuit aboard) occasionally a trip into the water is occasioned. As I recall we successfully recovered a dropped shackle from the bottom using the dregs of a scuba tank (it was a dead calm day and the bottom was maybe 15 ft). I believe lots were drawn to determine the "volunteer"
 
  • #23
strangerep
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[...] whenever I punched it, my glasses flew off and landed on the back seat.
Aren't you supposed to face forward when driving a car?
 
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  • #24
Ivan Seeking
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Aren't you supposed to face forward when driving a car?
Yes, but instead I kept looking at the underside of the roof.
 
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  • #25
Ivan Seeking
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One of my favorite stories of all time came from a member here at PF. I looked and could not find the post and it may go back as far as 2003. But as I recall, Member recalls a night of heavy partying while in college and living in a dorm; or at least living with other students. He finally fell asleep but later awoke and wanted something to eat. So he went to the kitchen and opened the fridge but the light was out. However, he remembered that there were donuts in there. So he felt around, found the box, ate some donuts in the dark, and went back to sleep.

The next morning when he went into the bathroom, he noticed that he had blue stains all around his mouth. At first he couldn't imagine what could have caused this. But then it dawned on him what might have happened. Slowly but surely the horror of what he had done began to sink in. The donuts that he ate in the dark were moldy.
 
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  • #26
Keith_McClary
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One of my favorite stories of all time came from a member here at PF.
If we are allowing other peoples' dumb things, one of the volunteers on our migratory eagle count lent her bear spray to her daughters for a camping trip. They were so worried that they removed the safety clip so as to respond quickly. And lost the clip. She brought the spray to the ridge top count site anyway, and while reaching into her pack triggered it . Fortunately she was downwind of the others and there was a medical person who knew how to rinse her eyes.
 
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  • #27
Twigg
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Was a while ago, but I thought you'd all get a laugh out of it. You know those school desks where the desk top is rigidly connected to the chair by a steel rod? I got to my dynamics class, had a backpack with 4-5 textbooks in it.. I sat down in the chair, then I plopped my backpack on the desk top. The torque from me dropping the backpack caused the whole desk/chair to fall forwards and catapulted me onto the floor. Prof just looks at me and asks if I really passed statics (prerequisite for the dynamics course) :doh:
 
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  • #29
Ibix
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At school we built a little electric boat. It had a vacuum formed hull and a wooden deck, a battery pack, switch, motor and screw. I carefully drilled a hole in the wooden deck for my switch, soldered the wires, and then realized I should have passed the wires through the hole before soldering them to the switch. So I unsoldered the switch, passed the wires through the hole, and soldered them again before discovering that they were too short to reach from the switch to the motor. So I unsoldered them again, cut longer wires and soldered the new ones in.

Purely by chance I had connected the motor with the correct polarity so that the boat went forward. Those who had not been lucky discovered that their boats went backwards for a short way before water resistance removed the screws from the axles onto which they were threaded and their boats came to a stop, motors racing.

I suspect the staff left us lightly supervised on purpose to see how badly we'd muck it up. I did eventually learn "measure twice and cut once" and principles of testing.
 
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  • #30
Ivan Seeking
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I was trying to recall the dumbest things I have done in my life. Turns out most of them involved driving very fast. I am really lucky I never died or killed someone. But one occasion in particular comes to mind: I was driving my 240Z down the I-5 just South of Red Bluff. I had a friend in the car with me. We were just over 18 years of age. Then what looked to be am Asian businessman pulled up along side me in an RX7. He was older and very nicely dressed. And he had a brand new car. He kept looking at me and jumping ahead like he wanted to race. So, why not?

We were a good match even though I had a passenger. We were neck and neck up to around 125 mph. But then he started pulling ahead and I was out of my torque range. I knew he had me beat. So I let my foot off the gas and allowed the car to slow down naturally. About the time I got down to 80 mph, TWO highway patrol cars flew past me like I wasn't moving! :nb) I dropped down to the speed limit and nervously proceeded. Before long we caught up to the cops. They were parked on the side of the road along with the guy I was racing. And he was already in hand cuffs! I took the next exit and hid under an overpass for about an hour.
 
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  • #31
fresh_42
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I was trying to recall the dumbest things I have done in my life. Turns out most of them involved driving very fast. I am really lucky I never died or killed someone. But one occasion in particular comes to mind: I was driving my 240Z down the I-5 just South of Red Bluff. I had a friend in the car with me. We were just over 18 years of age. Then what looked to be am Asian businessman pulled up along side me in an RX7. He was older and very nicely dressed. And he had a brand new car. He kept looking at me and jumping ahead like he wanted to race. So, why not?

We were a good match even though I had a passenger. We were neck and neck up to around 125 mph. But then he started pulling ahead and I was out of my torque range. I knew he had me beat. So I let my foot off the gas and allowed the car to slow down naturally. About the time I got down to 80 mph, TWO highway patrol cars flew past me like I wasn't moving! :nb) I dropped down to the speed limit and nervously proceeded. Before long we caught up to the cops. They were parked on the side of the road along with the guy I was racing. And he was already in hand cuffs! I took the next exit and hid under an overpass for about an hour.
I had a similar incident. We were driving on parallel lanes along the river on a wet, mixed with a bit of snowy road, winter evening and there was only one lane ahead of us, and we both wanted to be first. Then I saw a sign which demanded motorcyclists to severely slow down. I remembered the slippery underground there and decided: What's bad for motorbikes can't be good for cars. So I decided to lose the competition, put my foot off the gas, and dropped back. One second later, my competitor, now ahead of me, showed me a perfect pirouette, heavily sliding against the sidewalk inclusive. He definitely needed a new adjustment of his camber angels and toe - at least.

But I have been on the other side of such games, too. I was caught behind a slow-driving older pair which I couldn't overtake. All of a sudden there was a chance to overtake, 300 meters, and I took my chance. Well, after these 300 meters the old man overtook me again ... while I was talking with the cops...
 
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  • #32
DaveE
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Since we seem to have given up on the "lately" part:

I recall some years ago working in the EE lab to get some frequency response data from my circuit.

[yes, y'all are correct about knowing where this story is going, because you've done it too.]

I connect the analyzer and get really strange plots, which I can't for the life of me figure out. After about an hour of increasingly complex troubleshooting, I stumble on to the fact that I didn't turn the power supply for the circuit on. Within about 5 minutes I have all of the data I expected.

BTW, not the only time I did that...

Slowly I've learned when troubleshooting: always start with the assumption that you're an idiot and the problem is simple. Revisit that assumption frequently if the problem is hard. Unfortunately the advice "don't be an idiot" is really hard to implement if you are, in fact, an idiot on occasion.
 
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  • #33
Ibix
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I stumble on to the fact that I didn't turn the power supply for the circuit on.
Done that one.
always start with the assumption that you're an idiot and the problem is simple.
Yup. I once spent two days debugging something that turned out to be an integer divide bug in pretty much the first line of the program, a line that I hadn't checked because it was so simple and obviously right.

I did learn a lot about smart ways of debugging through that, though. Now I quite frequently home in directly on the piece of code that's wrong. Then I sometimes stare at what looks like perfectly fine code for ten minutes trying to work out if something's gone wrong with my debugging or if I'm too stupid to see what's wrong with this code. It's usually the "I'm stupid" explanation, as you say.
 
  • #34
hackenabush
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I messed up at work by not checking with the forklift operator if a sheet of wood for a CNC was indeed the one the CNC needed to work on. To say the least I am looking for a new job.
 
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  • #35
Ivan Seeking
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But I have been on the other side of such games, too. I was caught behind a slow-driving older pair which I couldn't overtake. All of a sudden there was a chance to overtake, 300 meters, and I took my chance. Well, after these 300 meters the old man overtook me again ... while I was talking with the cops...

I've had one ticket in I think 30 years or more. I was in a hurry behind a slower car, on a winding mountain road, uphill, with a passing lane that was as it turned out, too short. It was probably one of the few times in 30 years I pushed it like that, something I normally wouldn't do, and I got caught! :oldgrumpy:

Going back to my 240Z, one summer night when the moon was bright, I was on a very long, slight downgrade, with visibility for miles on an empty four-land highway, about 20 miles from Nowhere California. I had a passenger and we decided to see how fast we could go. We finally hit 148 mph. But as we were approaching max speed we started to drift. Slowly I began to turn the wheel to move us back to the center of the road but nothing happened. I turned the wheel a little more and still nothing happened. Then, ever so slowly, we began to drift back the other direction. So I turned the wheel the other way a little to stop the drift and... nothing happened... Finally I realized I wasn't really steering the car. The wheels and tires were apparently acting like rudders in the air and were not, or were barely making contact with the road.
 

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