People are so dumb. You know it and I know it. And yet somehow, human stupidity can still manage to surprise us. We can't even believe how dumb some of these people are.
I was in an ASL class, and we were learning signs for different sodas. We went through them all, but the girl sitting next to me seemed to be a bit confused. She looked like she had a question but was just too scared to ask. So, I leaned over and said, "Are you alright? Did you miss one"? She looked at me and asked, "I get why we're learning sodas, but who is Dr. Pepper"?
My friend once thought aloe vera was the name of some European model. Since cosmetic ads would always say the product name and add “with aloe vera” as they showed a number of models washing their faces or whatnot in the background, he believed that aloe vera was one of them. He actually said something to the effect of, “It’s crazy how she gets hired for literally every single commercial”.
I lived in Juneau, Alaska for a year. When the tourists started coming off the tour boats, that's when the real fun began. I often had people who would ask me why Alaska was cold and Hawaii was hot because “they’re next to each other on the map”. It was shocking that even one person would ask such a thing, but countless tourists asking was unbearable.
I was also asked how to pet a bear. It was just wild.
I'm not the most well-off person. I work for slightly less than minimum wage, and live paycheck to paycheck. I used to have a friend that was very well off and her parents owned an extremely popular restaurant in the downtown area of my city. They made her co-owner when her mom decided that position was too stressful for herself.
She went from making minimum wage to making at least $80,000 per year, and that would be a bad year. She also lived at home with her parents who paid her phone bill and didn't charge her rent. Basically, her only expense was her car, and even then her dad would pay for everything but the gas. So, one day, I'm with this friend at a fast food place and I check my bank account to make sure I have the money for food.
Apparently, a few hours before, a bill had come out and I was now negative $45, so I told her I couldn't afford my food. She proceeded to humiliate me in front of the whole restaurant: "You're NEGATIVE $45? What? Can you even go negative in a bank account?" She demanded to see my bank account and I showed it to her. She said, "Wow. I mean…I ALWAYS have at least $1000 in my bank account for a rainy day fund. I can't even imagine being THAT poor."
My old roommate pointed a laser thermometer at a pencil on a table, inside our house. The laser thermometer read 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). He exclaimed, “This thing is broken!” I asked, “Why do you think it’s broken?” “This is a pencil. It doesn’t produce any heat. This thermometer should say 0.”
I stared at him for a few seconds, unable to collect my jaw off the floor. “Well 0 Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) would mean it is frozen, or well beyond frozen, so I think 68 Fahrenheit (20 Celsius) is the temperature of the air in the room.” This man was 26 years old. His two adult brothers were sitting in this room. I was the only one who understood why the thermometer was correct.
We had a new girl at work. She was horrified that we would eat the eggs that came from our chickens. She insisted that store-bought eggs were “normal good eggs”. She then really blew my mind when she said she doesn't eat chicken and that she only buys hens. She about had a panic attack when I explained to her that a hen is just a female chicken. She was obviously very sheltered.
My sister was working on something and asked me if a word was spelled right. As I was looking at it, she said something I'll never forget, "It must be right; there isn't a red line under it". She wasn’t on a computer. She was writing something on paper by hand. I couldn’t get over it. It was too perfect. I'll mock her forever for that one.
Once, I was on a class trip to Washington DC. We went to a museum and saw a filmed reenactment on the big screen of something featuring George Washington. While we were watching it, I heard two girls from the front row talking. One of them asked the other, "Is this real footage"? And the other one then replied, "No, if it was real, it would be in black and white".
My wife had only been in the United States for a year, but had a green card. It came time to do our taxes and so we stopped in the little Jackson Hewitt kiosk set up inside of Walmart. As we were getting started, the accountant asked her about her immigration status and she told him she was a Cuban citizen. He lifted up her social security card and told her that—in no uncertain terms—she was a US citizen and her card proved that.
I told the guy he was wrong and that every green card carrier has a social security card and that doesn’t make someone a citizen. He then turned to me, shoving the card in my face, and yelled, “Look Mister, here is the proof she is an American citizen!” By now I was angry and asked if he had a boss. He smugly stated that his mom was the owner of that Jackson Hewitt franchise and so I suggested he call her.
He did, and while on speakerphone, she found out what he had said and done, and proceeded to call him an idiot. After she got off the phone, he tried to backpedal and act like it never happened so he could still keep our business. However, it was too late. I stood up and said to my wife, “Let’s go, this guy is too stupid to trust him to do our taxes”.
That moment will stay with me for the rest of my life!
I had a roommate who refused to believe that the Earth rotates once per day. He insisted that it rotated 24,000 times a day, and it was just so fast that you couldn't see it. I thought maybe he got confused with 24,000 miles per day—like perhaps how fast a point at the equator would rotate around the earth per day—but no. He said it was like when something is spinning so fast it's like a blur and you can't see the spinning anymore. He believed it was 24,000 complete rotations per day.
We had bigwigs from another lab come to audit my lab one day. To enter the property, you needed a key card at the front gate entrance. One of the auditors commented at the number of Canadian geese on the property. I said something about how it had just rained, so they were out in full force that day. This woman—who made a good six figures and had a PhD—looked me straight in the eyes and said, “How do they get past security”?
I laughed and said, “You’re right, they should have cards at the least”. She wasn’t joking and was expecting an answer. I wasn’t quite sure what to say, I was just like, “They flew”. I didn’t know how else I was supposed to answer that utterly ridiculous question.
My wife's grandmother was nearing the end right around Christmas. I was scheduled to work that Christmas Eve. She took a turn for the worse that morning, and I was told we'd all better get to the house quickly. I tried to call my manager, but there was no answer, so I left him a voicemail. I called the manager on duty and said I was sorry, but I had a family crisis.
The duty manager said it was absolutely no problem. I even called their manager as well, to ensure that I had covered all my bases. They both told me to take all the time I needed. I was supposed to work the weekend after, and they told me that they would get me covered for then as well. She passed on a Sunday and I got back to work on Tuesday.
My own manager came to my desk, mad at me, and asked me why I didn't show up for work on those days. I told him the situation and told him that I had called everyone to make sure I was covered. His response revolted me, "Well, you should have planned that better". That was the only time I had ever seen my cube mate—this mild-mannered guy I had worked with for years—get upset.
He leapt out of his seat, grabbed my manager by his arm, and dragged him to his office. Apparently, the shouting match went on for some time, but I was too busy sitting at my desk with my jaw on the floor, processing what he had just said. I never got an apology, but my manager was fired a few months later for unrelated reasons. He was the worst.
I was calling around grocery stores in Missouri looking for Tofurky for Thanksgiving for a vegan girlfriend. I called one store, and the woman who answered the phone said, “Let me transfer you to the meat department”. Before I could object, I was talking to some guy in the meat department. I told him I wasn’t sure that I was in the right department, but I was checking if they carried Tofurky.
He said, “Oh, I think I’ve heard of that! That’s like the vegetarian part of the turkey, right”?
We were at a combination A&W/Long John Silver restaurant. My mom looked at both menus and asked me, "What's the difference between the #2 on this menu and the #2 on the other one"? They were clearly different, so I told her, “One is fish and the other is chicken”. Her response baffled me. She said, "I know but what's the difference"? She just didn’t get it.
My father-in-law is very intelligent. He taught himself how to solve a Rubik's cube without looking anything up and is generally a genius in math, logic, puzzles, what have you. But here's where all logic leaves his body.
He believes dinosaurs couldn't be real because they would be too big for their skeletons to uphold their weight. He has lots of other really stupid ideas because he is so intelligent he thinks he can just reason himself into correct conclusions without doing research or adhering to the scientific process.
I've been waiting so long to tell this story. Two members of my family are very highly intelligent...or so I always thought. I went to their house and they just installed an above-ground pool that came with a POOL COVER.
Instead of using the pool cover they went and bought all these insulated pink foam boards (one-inch thick, four by eight foot rectangle foam boards). I just sat there and watched while they cut up all the foam into puzzle pieces to fit in that ROUND pool. It completely baffled me.
I asked them why and they said it was to keep leaves out of the pool. So every time they got in the pool they had to remove all the puzzle pieces, then clean the pool because tiny pink insulation was floating on top, and when they were finished for the day they spent an hour trying to connect all the puzzle pieces they cut back into the pool.
The original pool cover was by the pool in the bag it came in. It was the dumbest thing I've ever witnessed in my life.
My father-in-law could construct a new bladder out of a piece of your own intestinal lining if you had bladder cancer and needed a new one. He’s saved thousands of lives that otherwise would have been lost to renal, prostate, and urinary tract diseases.
He once told me that someone with a bright yellow car was intentionally hitting his Mercedes Benz. They’d hit his car and sideswiped it once while he was at the hospital. He had it fixed, and it costs thousands of dollars.
Then a few weeks later, the same bright yellow vehicle did it again, this time nearly tearing off his fender and leaving a huge yellow gouge down the side of his car. He took it to the body shop a second time.
During his next visit to the hospital, the hilarious truth came out. The parking attendant said, “Hey doc, it’s nice to see you. But I have to warn you….security was here and they’re kind of upset about the fire hydrant you’ve hit twice in the last month. I tried covering for you but apparently, they’ve got it on video”.
A crazy ex-coworker once told me, completely seriously, that pink salt does not exist. I replied, “Yes it does exist. I use it often.” Horrified, she tells me I can't possibly be using it. It doesn't exist, because it comes from a place that doesn't exist. Of course, I asked what she meant. I still can't quite believe how she answered. She, completely seriously, tells me that the Himalayas don't exist.
It's just a government conspiracy. Therefore, Himalayan salt doesn't exist. She is also staunchly conservative and doesn’t believe in vaccinations of any kind, but religiously uses hand sanitizer because, "I would hate to get my grandkids sick!" Working with her was full of very similar conversations about a variety of topics.
I had a friend who was baking some brownies and the recipe called for a 13 by 9 baking pan. She got upset when she looked at her pans and she didn't have one; all she had was a 9 by 13 pan...She actually argued with me for a minute that they were not the same thing, until I grabbed the pan and held it sideways and said, “13 by 9” then turned it 90 degrees and said, "9 by 13. Make the brownies." To be fair, she was pretty baked. We still laugh about that.
I went to school with a kid who wasn't the brightest. In many ways, he was like Kevin from that one internet-famous story. The icing on the cake was when he got super angry at a girl in his class and told her, "I'm gonna get pregnant and knock you over.” When asked to explain his reasoning, he said that if he became pregnant, he would gain weight, which supposedly would make him stronger than the girl, which would allow him to "knock her over."
This was in freshman year of high school. The guy had no idea that he couldn't become pregnant.
I worked with a very dull dishwasher who was always saying strange things. He was a sweet guy, but without being mean or derogatory, he was literally the dumbest person I've ever met. Anyway, one day he got quiet, set down the dishes he was carrying, and paused for a second. Then he unleashed the greatest question anyone's ever asked me.
"Do you believe in rumors?" Do. I. Believe. In. Rumors. Not "a" rumor. All rumors. Forever. This happened at least 18 months ago, and the dishwasher has since moved on, but we still fondly remember him and this question.
I used to work in Yellowstone. The amount of stupid coming through the park is unimaginable. We had a bison come and lay down close to the boardwalk at Old Faithful. A woman holding a toddler started running up to it. Luckily, I had grabbed her by the back of her shirt and pulled her down. She kept screaming she was going to sue me and the lodge for ruining her perfect vacation photo.
When this happens we are on higher alert. We always had to watch tourists like they have IQs of 10. Often, they prove that assessment correct.
I needed safety boots for my first job. I was 15 years old or so. My mom took me out to buy some. She's a coupon collector and had a 10% off coupon and a $10 off coupon. An older lady approximately in her 50s was working the counter. I asked if I could use both coupons. She said no. I said, “Okay, the 10 percent off one, please,” since the boots were $180.
She said, "Now hold on, the $10 one might save you more." She busts out a calculator. My mom and I just looked at each other in stunned silence. We didn’t want to be rude to a seemingly nice, but quite dumb, woman working a bad job. I'm amazed she knew how to even do the calculation. However, it appeared the answer she got didn't align with her worldview. So, she insisted on ringing the purchase up with both coupons "just to be sure."
At the end of the day, she was just trying to be nice and save me money, but my god.
I used to work as a paralegal and had to fight with someone in the social security office when they accused one of my clients of deceit. I got on a call with the agent who insisted that my client was faking the disability that her daughter had. The daughter had lost her life as a result of the disability, and it said so right on the death certificate. The agent told me that wasn't enough proof.
I was at the electronica dance party at Disneyland. They had one of those laser shows where an actor bends the laser as part of the show. This fully grown dude—with the thickest yokel accent—said, “If they is real lasers, how ain’t he cutting his fingers off”? It was so funny my family had to give up our spot by the stage so we wouldn’t laugh in his face.
I worked on trains and have heard a lot of stupid stuff, but this was my top one yet. We got to a station and the signal ahead was on a red light, meaning “stop” or “do not proceed”. Basically the same as traffic lights. I made an announcement saying, "Sorry for the delay, we are currently being held on a red signal and will be moving momentarily".
Five minutes later, we moved but got stopped at the next station. A couple was walking down the platform toward the exit and I heard the husband/boyfriend go, "Ah, stuck at a red signal again". I acknowledged him and said, "Yeh, red signal again". The woman looked me straight in the eye and asked, "What’s a red signal"? I was stunned for a moment as I thought she was pulling my leg, but she was serious.
Her husband chimed in, "You know, red means stop and green means go". We both saw that it still hadn't sunk in, so he said again, "Like a traffic light". She took about five to ten seconds, and finally said, "Ooooo", as they kept walking down the platform. All I could think of at that moment was that she was having a blank day where her head was not functioning correctly, or she was one of those people that get you thinking, “How do you get up in the morning”?
I had been working nonstop and hadn’t seen my friend for a while. We were finally able to meet up for lunch. When I saw her, she said to me, "I never see you. I miss you". I explained to her that I had been working a lot and that I had recently worked nine days straight. She seemed confused and asked me, "HOW? THERE ARE ONLY SEVEN DAYS IN A WEEK".
During a foreign language class, we were learning the names of different countries. Suddenly, someone stopped the lecture and asked the dumbest question known to man: They asked why the language we were learning made up names for different countries. They said, “Why can't we just use the real names like Germany, Japan, etc”? There was total silence in the classroom.
Then, we spent 10 minutes of the entire class time trying to get this person to understand that “Germany” is not the name of Germany in German. We had to explain to them that all the country names we know are all English "made up" names for those countries. They did not comprehend this concept. It confounds me to this day, especially since that person was not from an English-speaking country to begin with.
"Was it difficult for your husband to learn English? Is there a language barrier for you guys?" My husband is Scottish, born and raised. The people asking me this question were supposed to be well-educated teachers. They had never met my husband, so they didn't even have the excuse of hearing his accent. But, had they met him, they would have been more surprised at how diluted his accent was.
His diluted accent was due to leaving Scotland at 18 to live in London for seven years. By the time I met him, he had been in the United States for 14 years. He had an accent, but was very easy to understand and had adopted a more American style of speaking so people could understand him. He would even say things like “pants” instead of “trousers.” So, no, there is not a language barrier.
I, the IT person, was walking past a user in the office who was at her desk. Her computer was slow that day. No one ever realized that having 12 programs open at once and 15 tabs in Internet Explorer would slow down the junky PCs we had. I said it over and over, but what would the IT guy know about computer performance? Then she topped herself for stupidity: “My computer is connected with a blue network cable and the rest of yours are all yellow. Mine must connect somewhere else and that's the reason why it runs so slow.”
I went on a hike with a few friends and one girl who I didn't really consider myself to be close with. In the past, she always seemed to disagree or argue with me over really small things, and it annoyed me. Anyways, we had all agreed to get back to town by two in the afternoon for a late lunch, and the hike was taking longer than expected.
I suggested we head back because it was getting close to one and it'd take about an hour and 15 minutes to get back. Well, she disagreed with me and asked me why I thought that. I told her that to get back to the beginning of the trail, it would take about 45 minutes. She said she thought it would only take 30. Then, I said that the drive into town would take about 30, she then disagreed and said it would take 45.
I kind of just stared at her until she realized what she had just done and she shut up after that.
While I was in college for an Earth Science degree, I served at a restaurant. The owner of the restaurant asked me if I knew what the moon was made of or how it was made. So, I gave him a concise and correct response. He looks at me and goes, "Oh that's what you think? Let me tell you what no one in the government will say." I braced for the worst...and I got it.
Then, he proceeds to tell me how everything I'm learning is a lie perpetrated by corporate interests and that the moon was made by a group of scientists three billion years in the future, who travel six billion years back in time and create the moon. He was completely serious. This dude was not joking. This was also in 2013. I absolutely guarantee he is a nut job.
I'm a paramedic and I was responding to a call for a child who was injured. I arrive on scene and the firefighter hands me a limp five-year-old. I immediately check that he has a pulse and is breathing, which he was, and take him into my ambulance to assess him. We try to verbally stimulate him and try to provoke a pain response and we're getting nothing.
As we're checking all his vital signs, which are all coming back normal, we prick his heel with a tiny needle to check his blood sugar, and he suddenly wakes up and starts crying. My partner and I looked at each other in relief. A crying baby/child is better than a non-responsive one. All his vitals continue to check out normal and his responsiveness is good.
At this point, the mother arrives on scene and comes into the back of the ambulance. She looked worried and we calmed her down and explained what happened. We recommend transport to the hospital so they can run some tests to figure out why he was non-responsive in the first place, and she agrees. Along the way, I'm explaining everything to her in layman's terms and she is staying very calm.
Apparently, the reason she was not there initially was that she hired a babysitter for the night. While she was out, she got a call from the babysitter saying she had to call for help because the child wasn't acting right. We get to the hospital, and after getting a room, we place the child on the bed and the doctor arrives. At this point, I switch to full medical terms as I give the story to her.
She is asking follow-up questions and I'm responding. The mother was concerned about all these terms that are foreign to her and she asked, "What is this word ‘LETHARGIC’ that you keep on saying?" I turn to the mother and start explaining that it just means her child was excessively tired beyond normal. That's when the doctor said something that made my jaw drop: "No, ‘lethargic’ means ‘dead.’ I need to figure out why the medic was using that term."
To any non-medical personnel, and apparently even medical personnel, "lethargic" does NOT mean "dead." At this point, the mother starts freaking out saying, "Wait, are you telling me my son was dead earlier?" I very quickly ask the doc if she needs anything else from me and when she says no, I turn tail and book it. I was not about to start dealing with that mess that the doc just started.
I have a sense of injustice over a teacher calling me a liar in front of my entire class. We had been talking about our favorite foods, and I told about a rice dish my mom made and my favorite part being the bamboo. She insisted bamboo wasn't edible and called me both an idiot and a liar. I was so mad, but she wouldn't back down.
Then, I brought the bamboo with me the next day and she STILL refused to admit she was wrong! She just said it probably wasn't even real bamboo.
I had a horrible talk with a jagoff in my high school chem class…He tried to convince me India was a part of the Middle East. He didn’t even shut up about it when I told him I’m Indian and I know exactly where the heck I’m from. He just kept going on about it.
This was a guy I used to work with. He was soft-spoken but extremely insightful. He had a knack for understanding a situation and drilling down to the core of the issue.
One very snowy day in winter, he decided to drive his motorbike to work. His reasoning was the roads would be full of slow-moving cars and he'd be able to scoot past them on his bike. What actually happened was he found himself struggling to keep his bike upright with a lorry just inches behind him.
He said one slip and he'd been under that lorry. He drove his four-by-four into work the next day. Lesson learned.
My brother was visiting home from college and had left a set of keys at his friend’s house. His friend graduated third in his class in high school and had a full scholarship to get a degree in engineering. My brother asked him to mail the keys to him. The friend mailed the keys to himself.
He had written his name and address on the envelope, and my brother’s name and address as the return address.
My brother-in-law had a Master’s degree in physics and math. He was a teacher at a high school. He had a new house built. He thought he would save money by nailing on the drywall (sheetrock, Gib board). But it went so wrong.
He managed to put nails through a hot water pipe and the wiring. By the time he'd paid a plumber and electrician to fix up the mess, it cost a lot more. Later in life, he had a fatal ladder accident.
I am a 21-year-old male of above-average intelligence, and I just learned that Narwhals are NOT mythical creatures. I guess I had always assumed they were just a seafaring unicorn somebody made up as a joke.
At this point I think I had only ever seen them in animated and hand drawn forms...SO, I'm watching Frozen Planet with all my roommates, friends, and my fiance...My mind is blown (I jumped out of my chair and exclaimed words loudly) thinking that the Discovery Channel film crew has made some huge scientific discovery.
Two weeks later and they are still ridiculing me about those large-toothed porpoises...there is no end in sight.
My ninth-grade English teacher tried to suspend me for saying “debris” the correct way. She claimed it was pronounced, “de-briss”. She, I kid you not, sent me down to the principal's office with a note saying that I “willfully disagreed with her and should be suspended for disrespecting an elder”.
The principal, who was already a pretty cool guy, had me sort mail for an hour. When the hour was almost up, he and I went up to the room, interrupted her lecture on whatever it was we were studying, and calmly destroyed her.
He said, “The word is pronounced the way [my name] said it. Not debriss. Please remember this next time, and if you want to excuse yourself from this school for a week instead of [my name] getting suspended for a week”.
She was absolutely mortified, and to this day when kids who were in that class run into her, they call her Miss, or Mrs. (I don't know if she ever married or not) Debriss.
So growing up I used to think I was a once-in-a-lifetime genius, and to be honest, my school's low standards helped. I realized that I was not when I met a real one in my freshman year of college.
The guy was 18 and studied physics at a pretty advanced level, composed music and played piano incredibly, and was writing a novel. The thing is, he was 18 and not quite mature enough for college. He never went to class because he thought he didn’t need to and once Skyrim came out he never left his dorm anymore.
He was the smartest person I had ever met before or since and he failed out of college his first semester.
Each year for about 25 years, a group of about 20 of my old high school friends and our wives and girlfriends get together at a huge farm for a “Big Chill” type weekend.
One weekend morning one of my friends was the first person up and decided to make toast and coffee for himself. His bread got stuck in the toaster and he was about to try and pry it out with a metal kitchen utensil.
A girlfriend of one of my other friends who had just met my friend with the utensil late the night before and really didn’t know him walked into the kitchen and saw what he was about to do and said, “Stop what you’re doing now! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can get electrocuted using a metal utensil in a toaster!" But here's the twist.
My friend with the utensil just happened to be a NASA rocket scientist who monitored the Space Shuttle launches. Needless to say, he was more than a bit chagrined.
My friend in school was very tech savvy and was so certain he knew how to temporarily disable the school's child lock software so we could play games on school computers without anyone knowing. But there was something we didn't know.
We didn't expect him to download an exe file off the internet from home, put it on a pen drive, and bring it to school, where he accidentally unleashed a trojan virus on the entire system. The dude got suspended for two weeks and we couldn't get any work done for weeks afterward whilst tech support tried to fix the problem.
My best friend in high school had a little brother that scored 1550 or something ridiculous like that on his SATs. His parents were ecstatic when he told them, but their joy turned into disbelief when he said, “Yeah, it would have been a lot easier if I would have remembered to bring a calculator”.
So they made him retake the test with a calculator and he aced it! The world was his oyster at that point. He was contacted by a bunch of Ivy League schools and offered full scholarships to several. He debated what to do, but in the end, he chose rather poorly.
He chose to go to the local community college so he could stay with his girlfriend.
I was head of security at a major Cambridge commercial building. We had some of the best and brightest people working in some of the best companies in the world. The combined IQ of this place would put NASA to shame.
However, they sent an officer to the train station with a go pro strapped to his head so that new starters could find their way via a literal step-by-step video because they kept getting lost. The train station was next door. The verbal instructions to get there were "turn left". But that wasn't all.
They also struggled to use the revolving door, they got stuck in the lift because they had to press open to open the door, the list of these goes on for hours. The maintenance guy had a great term for them, he said they were "like lighthouses in the desert. Extremely bright but absolutely useless," and it fit too well.
My brother is a super smart guy who is studying physics at a world's top 15 university. He was supposed to be spending a year in Texas when Covid was starting to cool down and travel was relaxing (he never got to go due to visa issues).
I can remember a conversation we had while we were under the impression that he was going to Texas and I had said something to the effect of, “Be careful when you get there since they don’t really believe in Covid and are still hosting big sporting at your uni".
He turns around, looks me in the eyes, and says the dumbest thing I've ever heard, “There’s not any Covid in Texas hence why they don’t wear masks”.
Turns out, he genuinely didn’t realize people are as self-centered as they are and he thought since they didn’t wear masks there couldn’t be any Covid in Texas as he’d assumed they’d be smart enough to wear them.
My friend is smart in the book definition but is capable of being the dumbest guy ever. The best example I have from him is only one month old. We were moving into another house with my girlfriend and we had some food in the fridge (about 40€ worth).
We asked him if we could stock it in his then I will take it back when mine would be turned on. He agreed and I gave him the food, the day before moving. Fast forward to the next day, he joins us at my old place with a bag. At this point, I already knew he did a stupid thing.
When I asked him what was in it, he answered with, "Your food". I asked him where he wanted to stock it, he said, "In your fridge, idiot". Me: "The fridge that is unplugged and that I need to move then wait before plugging it in again?"
There was a big silence among all the people here and we had to throw out the food because there was mainly baby food and I didn't want to take the risk of getting my daughter sick. Of course, he did pay me back but I had to ask and he wasn't really happy about it.
Back in the mid-90s I was trying to purchase a difficult-to-find part a customer of mine needed. I finally found a place in New Jersey that had it. When I told the woman on the phone that I needed it shipped to New Mexico she informed me that they didn't ship out of the country.
I said, “Not OLD Mexico. NEW Mexico”. She countered with, “Yes, but it's still MEXICO and we only ship inside the United States". After a face-palm moment, I spent some time explaining that New Mexico was indeed a state, where it was, etc.
Even after that she said, "I've never heard of it before and I can't see why they would name a state after another country" (I guess the fact that she was in a state named after part of another country escaped her). I told her to just check with someone else in the office. So she put me on hold for a while.
When she got back on the phone she said: "I was told that we can make an exception to our shipping policy for this order".
Okay, so this is my sister-in-law and her live-in boyfriend. He's a lawyer and she's like a higher-up at a company making lots and lots of money. They get into their vehicle one day. A check engine light comes on. So instead of reacting like a normal person, they immediately get out and call a cab, because "the engine is broken".
In fifth or sixth grade I was having a conversation about space travel with a friend. She began to tell me how amazing it was that we broke through a solid layer of earth so quickly when launching. I was confused and began to explain to her that the atmosphere isn't solid.
She persisted in her argument—and then I made a bizarre realization. Turns out that she thought that we lived inside the Earth. She drew me a diagram to explain.
It was a circle with stick people walking along the inside perimeter. When she thought I didn't understand she said, “You know, like a Wonderball”. She was so surprised to learn that we actually walk the outside surface of the earth. She also thought gravity was like those carnival rides where you stick to the wall, which is at least more accurate.
When I was in my final year of physics at university, we had a professor who would get very irritated at the pull string for the projection screen, as it would dangle down in front of the whiteboard.
Every morning, he would spend a good couple of minutes attempting to throw the weight on the end over the light fixture above the whiteboard, taking anywhere from five to 30 tries each time.
All the students would give tips and encouragement, and this became a kind of inside joke for the class of how long it would take every morning. Months go by, and one day near the end of the quarter, we end up with a substitute.
The sub goes to the board and, without hesitation, grabs the string and hooks it over a thumbtack stuck in the cork at the top of the whiteboard...The entire class literally gasped in unison!
The sub whirled around, asking what happened, and the whole class just starts laughing. Eventually, someone explained what happened, and we all had a good laugh that an entire class of physics majors never even thought of that solution, let alone noticed that the tack had always been there for that purpose.
My friend’s boyfriend was a restaurant server. One day, he actually asked, "What is roast beef made of anyway"? I couldn’t believe he was for real. I told him, "It's beef—roasted". He was shocked. He got a surprised look on his face, and then he laughed at himself. Needless to say, he wasn't the brightest person around.
My brother and his girlfriend had broken up, but I didn’t know yet. My mother was trying to inform me but did so in a rather odd manner. She said, "Oh, by the way, your brother’s girlfriend is no longer with us". I thought she had passed, so I called my brother to offer my condolences and ask about the wake and funeral arrangements. He was completely baffled.
He told me, "She's alive; we just broke up. What are you talking about"?
In my freshman year of college, a biology professor started his semester with a speech saying science is how we explain everything in the modern world through experiments and peer review. The girl next to me had a smug look on her face and said, "If science can explain everything, then why are people still doing experiments? Can't science just explain it? I mean, just read a book".
It took me a while to realize her wisdom, and then it took me even longer to hold back my laughter.
One of my college roommates wandered in while we were watching JAWS. We were down to the final 15 minutes where the shark was tearing the orca apart. Then the scene where the shark heaved itself up on the stern came on. What happened next was legendary. My roommate said, “It’s pretty neat how they trained that shark to do that”. He was totally serious.
I once had a co-worker tell me that he wanted to eventually take some time off of work so that he could drive down to Africa and see the lions. However, we lived in the United States. For whatever reason, he forgot that South America existed below North America and that Africa was not connected to us in any way, shape, or form.
Back in the 1990s, I went into a store in Canada—where I lived—with a $100 American bill. I bought a bottle of vino for about $13. When the woman working the register worked out the exchange rate, which was about 13%, she said, “Oh, you get $100 back.” She then proceeded to hand back the American $100 bill to me and said, “Funny how that works.” I took it and left snickering.
My dad was a violinist in The Cleveland Orchestra. Years ago, they were on tour in East Germany. He was on a train talking to one of the other violinists. He mentioned how crazy it was that after all these years, there were still shelled-out buildings that hadn't been torn down or dealt with since WWII. Then, the stereotypical blonde chimed in.
She said, "Wait, wasn't Germany our ally in the war"? It was one of the stupidest things I've ever heard and I wasn't even there.
I had a friend who once said to me, "I've always wondered how goats grow into deer in the wild but stay goats at the farm". I was completely baffled. Shocked, I said, “What on earth”? They said, "I know, crazy, right? With ponies at least you can see them grow into horses but the goats"?? Someone obviously didn’t know much about animals.
When I was in high school and in Grade 11, I was taking a law class. The teacher was talking about different bills that the government had implemented throughout history, such as the Bill of Rights. Thirty minutes into the lesson, the girl next to me raised her hand and asked the teacher, “Who’s this bill guy we’ve been talking about”?
The whole class burst out laughing, and the teacher was struggling to keep it together as well.
I was going to a gynecologist and had an ultrasound done. The ultrasound found a mass on my ovary. When I was getting my results, the lady on the phone told me, "We are a gynecological office. We specialize in ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus. You have a mass on your ovary. We can't help you. Go see your primary care physician".
Then the gynecologist told me that the discharge, pelvic pain, and burning I had was "normal". Needless to say, I changed gynecologists. That first gynecologist was an idiot.
My sister had very severe dyslexia. Once, she asked me how to spell USB. I was dumbfounded and thought she was joking. She asked again, “How do you spell USB”. I was like, “Yeah ok, it's literally spelled USB, as you say it”. She freaked out and told me not to poke fun at her for her dyslexia and to tell her how to actually spell it. I started laughing and wrote it down on a piece of paper. I will never forget the look on her face when she realized it.
My ex-wife and I had a one-hour-long argument because she was insisting that 10:30 AM was in the afternoon. It all started with her saying, "We need to go at 10:30". I told her, "I thought you said it wasn't until the afternoon"? She relented, "It is in the afternoon. 10:30. You know, later on". I told her that afternoon doesn’t mean, later on, it means afternoon.
That was when the arguing ensued. I still think about it all the time.
A woman from North Dakota called a radio station to ask for their help. She had spent two years writing letters and attempting to get the deer crossing sign removed from a high traffic area to a safer place. She assumed that the deer were looking for the deer crossings in the same way people use the pedestrian crossings. The sign was there because deer commonly cross there, not because the animals are abiding by human traffic laws and are looking for a place to cross the road.
I'll out myself here. I'm pretty smart. I got 1540 on the SAT, 34 on the ACT, graduated valedictorian in high school, and graduated cum laude with a degree in aerospace engineering from college. A couple of years ago my sump pump quit working. I figured out it was a bad float switch.
So I bought a new float switch, took it apart, replaced the switch, put it back together, plugged it in, and tested it by raising the float manually. Everything worked fine. So I stick it back down in the sump hole to start reconnecting it. That's where I made a huge mistake.
What I failed to do was unplug it before I stuck it back in the sump hole, so the float switch immediately tripped and it started pumping a stream of dirty rusty water right in my face and all over my utility room. After I got it to shut off, I sat there for a second, blinking water out of my eyes and audibly saying "you idiot" to myself.
I’m no genius but I don’t consider myself an idiot. That was until I was trying to get some ice cream and it was rock solid, bending my spoons. So I, as any sane human would, decided to warm up my spoon by putting it into the microwave!
After not too long something happened that caused me to stop the microwave (this was six or so years ago I can’t quite remember) and I opened the microwave and the spoon had a slight blue tinge. What did I do? Well, I grabbed it with my bare hand, of course—and it burned so badly it got stuck to my index finger!
In college, a friend had a 4.0 and was set to get her bachelors in two years! She was insanely smart. We’re driving around at night and I joke with our mutual friend who was driving and said: “Oooo Adult Novelty store, let’s stop in and browse a bit”. My genius friend's response floored me.
She said, “Ugh. I hate books”. It still cracks me up every time I think about it.
So I'm pretty smart, I'm in several advanced classes and whatnot. One time when my family was traveling for a road trip at night and the moon was very bright and had an orange hue to it. I didn't realize that it was the moon so I asked my family, "What is that big orange glowy thing in the sky?"
They all burst out laughing and said that was the moon. Let's just say my family won't let me live it down now that I've asked that.
Not incredibly stupid but surprising: I have found myself working for many engineers and unless you have a PhD they are 100% sure they are smarter than you. The reality is that they are great at planning/logistics but usually horrible at fixing problems, but they never see it because they are so confident.
Just today I had to explain to an engineer that the reason his level said that a shelf was out of level was because the wall wasn’t level and he wasn’t setting the level square on the shelf. So it was level from side to side but not front to back and he had me drive all the way out to the site to show him how to operate a level.
This took 45 minutes. He was convinced that he could see it. Next, he claimed his level was broken. Then my level was broken. Then he couldn’t see it so it must be level. IT WAS MAGIC!
I don't know if I count as smart, but I did a very dumb thing a few years ago. I'd just bought my first bike with a disc brake.
Cycling to work I thought, "I bet disc brakes get really hot, there's a lot of energy being dissipated in a rather small bit of metal. Hmm 10m/s, 100kg, maybe ahhh 5 KJ, but the heat would depend on the cooling rate and they are thin and in a 10m/s air stream. I wonder how hot they get”?
At the next light, I bent down and applied my thumb to the disc to check…SIZZLE AAAAAAAARGH! Even stupider, I'd bought a phone with fingerprint unlock a week before, and with the ridges burnt off my thumb I could no longer unlock my phone, sigh.
They grew back in a week or two and I could unlock it again, interestingly.
This was one of my best friends, who is now a surgeon, and is one of the smartest people I have ever met. During his first year of med school, he was visiting his hometown during a break in the semester. We were at a restaurant catching up, and he ordered a milkshake for dessert that came with a maraschino cherry on top.
He excitedly ate it then said something to the effect of, "Man, I love maraschino cherries, I could eat a million of these. I always wanted to buy a jar, and eat it all by myself". To which I replied with, "John, you're 24 years old. You own a house, have money in the bank, and are in med school. You're an adult, if you want to get yourself a jar of maraschino cherries, you can. We can hit up the store as soon as we're done here".
He spent about five minutes struggling to process this newfound information. You could almost see the gears in his head turning. After this brief delay, he looked at me with the biggest, almost childlike smile and said, "Let's go now”!!! We paid our bill, then headed to the nearest grocery store.
John then purchased the largest jar of maraschino cherries available and started eating. Afterward, we went to a house party, where John refused to drink, but instead just kept eating from his jar. Long story short, he ate the entire jar in about an hour. But that wasn't the best part.
Fifteen minutes later he started puking neon red cherries for the rest of the evening.
When I was working in construction, I had a guy I was working with say, “I hope the sun comes up on that side today,” pointing west, “Because yesterday it came up on this side and it was so hot,” with us being on the east side of the building. Buddy, that’s not how the sun works.
In elementary school, we were learning about local Native American cultures and legends. One legend had all the men go off to fight except one boy, and it was left to him to continue the tribe's existence if things really went south in the battle. I got in a debate with a girl who loudly asked why didn't he just go and fight too, because the women can keep the tribe alive.
Me, being worldly and having had “the talk” already, tried to explain that there would be no more tribe without at least one guy present. She yelled back, “That’s not true! We know how to fish!” I had to be told to sit outside because I couldn't stop laughing.
The stupidest thing I’ve ever heard someone say is that genes go with gender. If the father has blue eyes, and the mother brown eyes, the kid will have blue eyes if male, and brown eyes if female. She said this as in all genes were like this, not just eye color. Like...it's so easy to prove that's not true...
I’m European, and when I was in the US, I was eating a pizza, and someone asked me if that was the first time I ever had pizza…I tried to explain that Europe kind of has pizzas too, and that we frequently vacation in Italy. This was still met with a confused look on their face. I gave up.
I’m a skydiver. I once had a woman ask me if the plane stops for us to get out. Yeah, it parallel parks next to the 747.
I asked an acquaintance why she didn't think there could be life on other planets. She said, "Because there's no air in space." I know I've heard dumber things than that, but it's the one that really stuck in my mind.
A friend of mine traveled to the US with her family when she was younger. Upon hearing her family’s accent, an American asked, “Where are you guys from?” The answer was Australia, and that person confidently responded with, “Ah, which state is that?”
My older brother, who’s 20 years old, asked, “Do you know why they call it a lucid dream?” I said, “Yeah, it's when you're awake/aware that you are in a dream and can usually control it.” My older brother said, “No, a lucid dream is a lewd dream, why do you think they call it that?” I wish I was making this up but no, my brother is just this dumb.
I'm an American of Mexican descent. Someone asked me where I'm from. I told them that I’m from California. He then asked me where my parents were from. I told him that they are from Michigan and Texas. Looking at me rather upset, he said, “No, where are your people from?” I said, “Dude, I can trace my family back to within the United States to 1817. Where the heck are you from?” He just walked away after that.
I work in the restaurant industry. I was refilling items on the breakfast buffet, and this lady walks up to me and blurts out, "I want some of that," and points. Keep in mind, we don’t physically serve the food to people, and I don't want to directly be placing food on people's plates. So, I give her a polite response like, “Oh yeah, it's really good today.” She then somehow asks an even dumber question: "How do I get the stuff over there?" I just look her right in the eyes and say, "Walk around the buffet." You really see the dumbest people in the service industry.
When I was in high school, a girl in my government class was absent on the day that we had a substitute teacher. When she and our teacher were back, the teacher asked her about her absence. The girl responded indignantly, "I don't know why they marked me absent, I wasn't even here that day".
I was in my ninth-grade speech class. Our topic was Louisiana, the state we lived in. We had the choice to present something about the topography—the landscape, nature, state recognition, what we're known for, etc. One girl in my class picked mountains for her topic. We have "a" mountain in Louisiana—just one—and its elevation is only 535 feet.
We braced ourselves, knowing this was going to be good. It was finally her turn to give her speech. The class’ attention was fixated on how bland her speech could possibly be. She began, “Ahem. There are many mountains in Louisiana". Instantly after hearing that opening, the teacher blurted out, “Sit down”. We could not contain our laughter.
I lived in Southeast Asia, so traditional food and/or herbs were pretty accessible there. I knew that there were benefits to some herbs, but there really wasn’t enough scientific evidence for me to believe that a herb could help prevent a HEREDITARY autoimmune disease. I had eczema all my life, but it would usually come and go. However, when it did flare-up, it was BAD.
It wasn't a result of anything that I did or ate; it would just flare up occasionally. After I gave birth to my daughter, I immediately knew I had passed her my eczema gene. My sister-in-law took a look at her and said, "She must have eczema because you didn't drink bird nest during your pregnancy".I was like, “What on earth”? My daughter’s symptoms were the same as mine, and she would have occasional flare-ups.
After several years, my sister-in-law would still say the same nonsense whenever my daughter would have a flare-up—"Must be from not drinking bird nest when you're pregnant".
When I was in high school, we were studying pre-Christopher Columbus civilizations in the Americas. On one particular day, we were studying the Iroquois people. The teacher said that they lived in the territories of what is today New York and Pennsylvania. So one girl raised her hand and said, "Isn't that where Count Dracula lived"? She was never precisely bright, but still.
A friend of mine looked at me, and, in all seriousness, asked, "Can you get a tan on a cruise ship? Since, you know, it's moving"? I was confused, so I asked her to explain what she meant. She thought that since the cruise ship was moving, the sun beams wouldn't be able to hit the boat…since it was moving.
I went to a friend's house and saw that his carbon monoxide detector was sitting by an open window. I found it odd, so I asked him why it was there. He told me, “The smoke detector said ‘get to air,’ so I moved it so it would stop going off”. I honestly don’t know how that guy is still alive.
I was reading a newspaper in class, and a front-page headline said, “Russians Invade Georgia.” The person sitting next to me gasped and said something like, “Oh no, Russians in Georgia? Bush better do something”! They actually believed that Russia had invaded the state of Georgia in the United States.
A woman I used to work with—who was a staunch Christian—said that she wasn’t concerned at all with climate change and that climate change activists were selfish troublemakers. I vehemently challenged this view by saying that the activists are only trying to get people to wake up, because if we don’t address climate change, we will be destroying the Earth.
Hence, if we destroy the planet, we would be destroying ourselves and all future generations. She responded by saying, “Well, if the Earth does get destroyed then God will just make it all again, so I’m not worried”. I was rendered utterly dumbstruck by both her stupidity and her selfishness.
I was a 17-year-old summer student landscaping on a crew that ranged from a 16-year-old kid to family men in their 40s. The kid was the most naturally muscular kid I had ever seen, which was odd, because he was also the laziest coworker I had ever encountered in my forty years of working. He was also pure stupid. He got all serious one day, wanting my thoughts on a matter.
He told me his 14-year-old girlfriend wanted him to get her pregnant so that she could drop out of school. She must have been dumber than him.
Someone told me, "I recycle everything but plastics". I had no words at first and then I told this person that plastics are probably the worst thing to choose not to recycle. I told them that they surely must have seen all the horrible articles, documentaries, and news reports regarding birds and sea animals dying from eating plastics. They said they hadn’t.
When I was in the eighth grade, I knew someone who completely believed—and argued with me—that mice ran the traffic lights. She really thought that rodents went into the traffic lights and changed their colors, and that was why you would always see mice around busy roads. This was someone who was 13–14 years old. Obviously, she didn't have the best upbringing.
I was doing a New Year’s shift as a food runner. I brought out an order to a table and said, “Veal Classico”, as I placed it down in front of the customer. This dude turned to me and said, “I didn’t order the catfish. I got the pork chop”. I was so confused. It was a Sunday night, and we only had catfish on Wednesdays and Thursdays at lunch. Not only that, but we didn’t have pork chop ever, and veal is neither.
I was expressing to a therapist how I was worried about being snatched and harmed, so she pulled up some statistics and said, "Well Google says there have been only been X kidnappings and Y assaults in the last Z years in your city. So, what makes you so special that you think it'll happen to you"? I was like, “I'm sorry, what”? This was not an exclusive club with a velvet rope.
I'm sure no one felt "special" for being chosen to be a victim of a crime. I wasn’t sure what she wanted me to say. I dumped her immediately after that session.
My wife and I had a baby recently (about two weeks ago). My in-laws are over for a few weeks for supervision/support so it doesn't become overwhelming. My mother-in-law keeps worrying about why he doesn't play with all the toys she got him. Are you serious? He's two weeks old.
He can't even focus on things yet. My father-in-law wanted to take him to the emergency room yesterday because he got an eyelash in his eye. Twitches. My in-laws are nice people, but I have no idea how they raised two kids.
When I was five years old, my dad told me and my nine-year-old sister that telephone poles were actually trees that had been genetically engineered by the power companies to grow straight up into a perfect pole with two little arms on each side to hold the lines. It was just one of the many "dadisms" that he preached when Mom wasn't around.
One day, he brought my sister home earlier than usual from school. He explained to my mom that the principal had called him to come and pick her up. When she asked why he told her that a local power company worker had come to her class that day to talk about power line safety. The power company worker had asked the class, "Who knows how telephone poles are made?"
My sister raised her hand and proudly shared what my dad had told her. The worker laughed and said, "I think your dad lied to you". My sister's response completely threw him. She said, "I think you're a liar". We still quote her at family gatherings whenever we think someone is pulling our leg.
Registered nurse here. I see some crazy stuff, but one thing that stands out was the time I was admitting a guy to the hospital. I can't really remember what for but he was diabetic, had heart disease, and was generally unhealthy. Anyhow, I'm at the computer going over some admission questions with him and his 10 family members who are crowded in the room with him.
A few minutes in, he starts complaining that he's thirsty. He needs something to drink right now. So I get on my phone and call the nurse assistant, and ask her to bring in some ice water. As soon as the words are out of my mouth the whole family screams: "NOOOO! NO WATER! HES ALLERGIC TO WATER!" Well, this is going to be a problem.
Turns out the guy had been drinking nothing but Sprite and sweet tea for years, because of his "water allergy". The next question his wife had was "Where are we all supposed to sleep?" The whole family, 10 people, were planning to stay at the hospital with him. You can't make this stuff up.
An infantryman was told to trim the hedges. Instead of getting shears, he decided to just lift up the enormous lawnmower, and then have his buddy start the motor...as the infantryman holds the hedges in place with his bare hands. When the medical team got called in, we bandaged him, then used a tourniquet temporarily. Senior medics took him to the ER, but they couldn't save his hand. Shocker...
There was a troubled kid I went to high school with. He struggled with school but had friends. Nevertheless, he was starting to do drugs and go down a bad way. He decided to photocopy the front and backside of a $20 bill, cut it out of normal paper, and glue the two halves with Elmer’s glue.
What is even sadder is that to test his new money he went to the gas station and bought some gum and it ACTUALLY WORKED?!? So in his mind, it must have meant that it was foolproof. So he then tried to go and deposit the glued-up money at an actual bank. He was obviously found out and arrested. I don’t know where he is now but I’m assuming he is making similar life choices.
I saw a patient who was concerned because she was still lactating, despite the fact that she stopped breastfeeding her twins two years ago. She said: "sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find my husband sucking on the breasts. He says he's trying to drain the milk for me." I had to explain to her that breastfeeding her husband will lead to continued Lactation.
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