I think many of us share the characteristic that when we get deeply involved in solving a hard problem (whether in math, physics, engineering or whatever), we tend to fuzz out on the world around us and get tunnel vision on the problem and possible solutions. You have to be careful to not do this while driving of course, but in other situations it can result in some funny moments. Here are my top three. How about yours? -- I was part of a team working on figuring out a problem in one of our products that we were trying to release for first sales (turned out to be a complicated chemistry problem in the formulation of components for an electronics product), and we were working continuous 70-hour plus weeks working on many different experiments and angles to try to fix the problem and ship the product for revenue. I was intently reading some of my test data in a 3-ring binder that I was carrying as I walked briskly from a meeting on the 2nd floor to get back to the lab on the first floor. But I wasn't paying enough attention to the walking part, and when I got to the stairs I basically walked off the edge of the top stair and out into the air. I realized something was wrong when my next footfall didn't make any contact, and I looked up to realize that I was flying through the air headed down the stairwell with both hands wrapped around my important binder. My first thought was just "Oh rats, I'm going to lose my place!" And then I came to my senses and realized that if I didn't do something real quick, I was going to hit the stairs mostly chest-first and tumble, which seemed like it would be a bad thing. I managed to reach out and grab the handrail in time to modify my impact and get a foot down, so I was not hurt and the binder was not scattered too badly. Important note to self -- do not combine reading and running down stairs! -- (the last two are less dangerous) I had been working on a difficult uC chip/firmware/process problem for weeks, including many weekends. I was at work one Saturday working mostly in the lab, and a little in my office just down the hallway from the lab. There was a water cooler in the hallway -- the kind with the 5 gallon clear plastic jug inverted on the water dispenser, and a trash can for throwing away the blue plastic covers that seal the jug tops until they are ready for use. I often would change the jug when it got emptied, and this Saturday as I was walking down the hall I noticed in my fog that the water jug was empty. So I removed the empty jug from the dispenser, picked up a full jug from the adjacent rack, pulled the blue plastic cover piece off the end of the jug, tossed that cover piece into the water cooler dispenser top, turned the water jug upside down and started emptying it into the trash can! I quickly pulled out of my fog and realized that I had gotten the last two steps backwards. Doh! -- Here recently at work I was working on yet another difficult combination uC hardware/firmware problem debug, and was even more distracted by it than normal. There is a small cantina on my floor that is adjacent to the main printer/copier machine room. One day I was thinking several levels down in the problem while I gathered up my lunchtime sandwich fixings onto a paper plate and headed down to the cantina to make the sandwich and microwave it for lunch. I walked in my fog down to the cantina, through the cantina and ended up in front of the big printer/copy machine. I stood there in front of the machine for a few moments, not really seeing anything except the math and simulations and whatnot that I was working on in front of my foggy eyes. As I realized that the scenery was no longer moving by and pulled back out of my fog, I was puzzled for a moment about how I was going to fix my sandwich using the copy machine. I was trying to figure out how I could fit the sandwich under the copy machine lid and get a good copy of it without wasting too much toner. And then I finally shook my head and realized where I was and how I probably should use the microwave oven instead of the copier to heat my sandwich.