March 18, 2022 | Eul Basa

We’re Not Sure If These People Are Weirdos Or Complete Geniuses

Sometimes, people aren’t what they appear to be. Whether it’s a friend, co-worker, or stranger, it’s easy to say at first glance that someone is a few crayons short of a box. But once you get to know them, you might find their genius may be just under the surface.

1. But I’m Hungry

This kid we just hired is 15. It’s his first job, but he keeps asking me questions that don't make sense. Last week he called me up to ask where we keep the ham. We work in a pharmacy. There is no ham, why would there be? Honestly, I can’t tell if he is an idiot or just messing with me. He also asked me what shelf he should put the packing peanuts from an empty order box on.

He wanted to know if he should price each packing peanut individually or put them in a dump bin. He thought they were ear plugs.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

2. The Musician

There is a man I go to school with named Jed. Jed is one of those types of people who was a super genius, then had a mental breakdown from the pressure of being a genius and completely fell apart. Some people say he's completely lost now, but I think he is secretly still in there. I think he’s enjoying the relief provided by his bizarre facade.

Jed is in his early 40s and is studying to be a music teacher, like me. He has very poor communication skills, mostly because he is completely honest all the time. If you ask him how he is doing, he will take a moment to sum up his being, then give you a report. When I asked him one time, he told me: “Horrible, but free."

I asked him why he felt that way, and what he told me was seriously disturbing. He said that he was fired from his job as a church janitor because his co-worker wouldn't stop hitting on him while he worked, so he locked him in a closet and left him there all night. The next month, for his senior recital, he played all six Bach cello preludes from memory, along with other assorted pieces.

He is also allergic to pretty much everything, so he takes his own food with him. One time, when our student outreach group went to a conference out of state, he took three hard-boiled eggs, two bananas, a tin of guacamole and a carton of milk on a plane. I don't know how he got past security, but he did. I know he had the eggs in his hat, but I don't know where he put everything else.

His knowledge of religion is astounding. We were at a party, and he asked me to pose a "good philosophical question for a rousing discussion" so I asked him about his thoughts on free will and divine preordination. He talked for ages and ages about how it depends on the god you worship and things like that, giving examples and citations to various holy books and treatises and things.

It wasn't crazy person rambling—it was a serious discussion on world religions and how they separately view free will. But that’s not all. There have been other times when I am at school late at night practicing, I'll hear yelling, and I'll peek around the corner and he is there, throwing a fit and flailing on the ground, screaming incoherently.

People have tried approaching him when he gets like that, but he won't acknowledge you. He can also drink crazy amounts and remain completely coherent. He's had an entire bottle by himself and was still completely functional—we were worried because he was sitting in a tree above the fire pit at a party when he did it, but he climbed out of the tree no problem and took out all the recycling for the host.

He rents out his home and lives with his girlfriend and her daughter, with whom he seems very happy. I have no idea what is going to happen to Jed, but I hope that wherever he ends up, he's happy.

Genius or Idiot FactsUnsplash

3. Street Lawyer

Defense lawyer here. I had a client who was a low-level dealer and runner. Most street-level guys have a very different type of intelligence that doesn’t translate well to the white-collar world. Many of my clients ask to read case law...I’ve only met one who could read it, digest it, and discuss it intelligently with me. This guy.

He’d do his own research from inside, which isn’t uncommon, but this guy did it well and would actually send me relevant cases that were helpful to the issues in his case. When I explained to him why some were not helpful, he got it, asked good questions, and used that discussion to inform future research. There are a lot of inmates who consider themselves “jailhouse lawyers.”

This guy was smart enough to actually be one. I think about him a lot and wonder what his life would have been like if he was fortunate enough to be afforded with the same opportunities during childhood that I enjoyed.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

4. The Secret Book

I had a professor who didn’t think he was anything special but was a full-on genius. It was really cool because he was so approachable and just brilliant – in his mind if he could do it, so could everyone else. There was just one problem with this. All his classes were crazy hard and he had no idea. He was assigning so much difficult homework the only way to get it done was to use this special dictionary.

It was pretty much cheating. I spent the first half of the semester drowning in all my classes because I was actually doing the homework. When I almost failed, I was in his office, and he was being so supportive. I mentioned that I’d only discovered this dictionary halfway through. Everyone had them, we were bringing them to class, and they were a fixture in our small school.

Additionally, he was a top expert in his field, and this dictionary was from a prominent publisher and not at all new. It was a safe assumption he knew what was going on. Well, I was so, so wrong. He didn’t—he had the hardest course in my program by a mile and didn’t think it was hard at all. It didn’t cross his mind that we were all effectively cheating, nor had he heard of this book.

Next semester he completely revamped the homework so you couldn’t use the book—and never reduced the amount. I felt terrible. But also, to this day I can’t get over how clueless he was. “If I can do it, you can too.” This was a guy that knew umpteen languages and learned a new one each year for fun. You’d always see him walking down the street staring at flash cards and muttering to himself.

Memorable Teachers FactsShutterstock

5. It’s Never Too Late!

My dad grew up believing he was dumb and would never amount to anything. His teachers all hated him and the first time he went to university, he was kicked out. Around the same time as I started university, my mum finally convinced him to try again to get a higher education himself. He's often said that he's too stupid to go back to school, but he speaks about six languages fluently.

He knows so many interesting new history facts, that whenever we watch any movie, we always have to pause at least four times for a lengthy discussion about it, and he also remembers more book quotes than anyone I've ever met. He grew up in communist Hungary and East Germany, and he has since then climbed mountains and been scuba diving in the Atlantic among a bunch of other adventures.

Whatever the discussion, he's got a story to tell. He's the coolest dad ever, but for as long as I can remember my family has struggled financially since he couldn't get a job that paid enough. It makes me so happy that he's finally reaching his full potential now at 51 years old, and we're all super proud of him. He dreams of being a teacher one day. He will the best teacher his future students could ever wish for.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

6. Making The Grade

I had a teacher in high school who had a really strange grading scale for homework assignments. It wasn't based on content at all, and everyone in the school knew this, because there was one year where two kids copied off of each other for literally an entire year and got completely different grades. I used to think he had some complex system that none of us could understand. But then I began to wonder…

My theory now is that he believes so strongly in the unimportance of grades, he chooses to intentionally drive students bonkers trying to figure out how to get good ones that maybe they'll recognize how ridiculous their obsession with grades are. Either that, or he just throws the papers down the stairs and put As on the ones that make it to the bottom.

Genius or Idiot FactsPexels

7. Power Reading

My ex could read a rather large novel within a couple of hours—but that’s not the strange part. He'd breathe loudly while doing it, like his brain was using extra energy. Not only that, but he could recall the tiniest details that everyone else who's read the book at a normal pace missed. His intellect was amazing…until he did a dive into a high-end bean bag in Pottery Barn and nearly knocked over a $5,000 lamp because "it was fluffy." Biggest idiot move I'd ever seen.

Genius or Idiot FactsUnsplash

8. I’m Always Like This, I Swear!

I was talking to a kid I met in line at a concert. We were discussing bad ID pictures, and this 20 something bro has the worst picture I've ever seen. Why? He "took a couple drinks before he went to the DMV and then tried his hardest to look as messed up as possible." Because this way, if he’s stopped, they'll just see his picture and think he just looks like this naturally and isn't high as heck.

This idea is either the stupidest thing ever or just complete brilliance.

Worst Airplane Experience FactsShutterstock

9. Perfect Painters

There are people who are great teachers without actually being a teacher. I've always thought people who can teach others are incredibly smart, because they're aware enough of what they know to present it to others in such a way they can understand it. The guy I used to work with was a phenomenal teacher of all paints, powder coating, color matching, and blending.

He had a real passion for it and it showed in the manner in which he taught and demonstrated what he was talking about. But there was another, heartbreaking side to it. He was also very high strung and had some mental health issues that held him back from doing great things…and so he believed he was an idiot. He wasn't, but no amount of telling him would help.

Genius or Idiot FactsUnsplash

10. All These PhDs

I've got a PhD and work in a field where so many people have PhDs that they don't even mention them. To this day, I suspect that the smartest person I've ever met was a kid I taught at a GED learning center in the middle of a pretty rough area of a big city. I've met plenty of people who were exceptionally smart in one or maybe two dimensions, but this guy was a genius across the board.

He'd turn it on now and then, like when we were playing chess, and he made a reference to something in French of all things, and then he'd just kind of smile. Like it was enough to just briefly show the rest of us how smart he was. It was almost like he was a self-aware Will Hunting—not that cartoonishly smart, of course, but very smart, aware of it, and aware of his station in life.

I have absolutely no doubt that if he'd had my advantages since birth, he'd be a rock star in whatever field he was in. But instead, I'd see him hanging around a corner store and he may have been a low-level dealer. I have no idea what's become of him, but I hope it's for the best.

Genius or Idiot FactsPexels

11. Skipping Class

In my college dorm, we had a kid who took pride in how rarely he was sober. He skipped class regularly, and just didn't care in general, but got perfect scores on practically every test he took. So, I'm sure he knew he was very intelligent—he just didn't know what to do with his intelligence. Eventually, he gave up on drinking, ended up triple-majoring, and still graduated early.

Last I heard, he's living happily in a cabin in the woods somewhere.

Courtney Love factsRawpixel

12. The Refugee

A former co-worker of mine came to Germany as a refugee in his young teenage years, had trouble in school due to a language barrier, poor support, a tough family situation, and typical refugee problems. When he was unemployed, Jobcenter, part of German welfare dealing with unemployment, sent him to the security company I worked at that time because conditions of employment are almost nonexistent in this field.

When he was on my team for an event, I had to show him the ropes. The event lasted ten consecutive nights and we faced several different challenges that were part of the job. Every now and then he had a genius idea how to solve the particular problem. The following year, I got him on my team whenever I could, trained him, and when I left the company, he inherited my position as team leader.

I don't actually know whether he knew about how smart he is, but he was so insecure in the beginning I boldly assumed he didn't.

Genius or Idiot FactsUnsplash

13. The Milky Way

The kid in my high school senior calculus class was a straight-A student. He’s currently in university for electrical engineering, but he did lots of stupid stuff. Once, he asked a teacher how many Moos there were in the Milky Way. That's not a typo. He didn't mean moons, either. He meant cows. He constantly tried to balance soda cans on the corners of his desk.

Then, he’d spill them. He mopped it up with textbooks and notebooks, and whatever he had.

Signs From The Universe FactsShutterstock

14. The Troublemaker

I had a kid in my class that never took anything seriously. He skipped class, brought drinks to class, and did numerous other things. You name it, he probably did it. But man, that dude knew his stuff whenever he paid attention. He understood things when other people were struggling to learn whatever was being taught that day.

It makes me a little sad because he was always a troublemaker, but deep down I knew that he was very smart and was capable of doing good in school. He just never chose to do it, or generally just didn’t care at this point. I think he got involved with the wrong crowd early on, unfortunately.

Genius or Idiot FactsUnsplash

15. By The Poolside

I used to be a lifeguard, and one day a man walked up to my stand. Nobody else was in sight so I was free to talk to him. He said he was homeless and wanted to know things about me like how my life was going and whatnot. At one point, he told me: "There are two types of people in this world: those who make their castle the world, and those who make the world their castle."

To this day that is the most profound thing I have ever heard, and I can't tell if he is a philosophical genius who literally is making the world his castle, or if he was strung out and just happened to say some loopy stuff that was really, really deep.

Bad Feeling ExperiencesShutterstock

16. Know-It-All

I once met a kid that knew everything about any topic that was brought up in conversation. One second, he was talking about quantum physics and the next moment he brought up some random history from the 1800s and how the anthropological theories from that time period relate to our present-day circumstances. But there was a caveat. Basically, he wouldn't shut up.

He was completely unaware of how uncomfortable he was making everyone by constantly rambling on and on about topics we knew next to nothing about. It was obvious he was a complete genius but had no awareness as to how he was making everyone around him feel.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

17. I Won’t Be Surpassed!

I was very young, maybe three or four, and my older brother was just learning how to read. We drove by an IBM building and my brother looks at my mom and says "Look mom, I-B-M." And my mother of course was TOTALLY pleased to see my brother correctly identifying letters and praised him up and down, so out of jealousy I say to her, "But mommy, I BM too."

Real mysteriesPexels

18. The Quiet Kid

In my first year of university, I sat next to a quiet girl who never thought of herself as smart. Everyone else was super loud about what they know and act like they were top of the class when they were really not. She never showed off her knowledge. We just graduated this year, fourth year, and she was honored with the university medal for her thesis, number one student out of almost 400 students.

But I bet you, she still doesn’t think of herself as especially intelligent.

Worst Teachers factsPixabay

19. Out Of Everyone Here

We have a variety of specialists in my family from medicine to art to education to software. We go around the table at family gatherings and try to stump my mom’s boyfriend with questions. He's never gotten one wrong to date. He just knows everything about everything. He has a photographic memory, and reads voraciously. The kicker is, he delivers car parts for a living.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

20. Time For Roll Call

I had a professor in college who constantly ranted about zeitgeist-type stuff. Nano takeovers, unified world currencies, and really any conspiracy theory at all. He was a George Soros article away from a tinfoil hat. I took his class specifically to see how he called roll. He was famous for it. He said he remembers every student he ever had due to his first roll call process.

He would start with the first person; say their name three times, then spell it. Then he would do that to the very next person. And THEN he would go back to the first person and do the process over. Every new name that was called he would say their name three times, spell it, and then revisit the previous person. For example, this is how it would go:

"Cindy.” He makes intense eye contact with Cindy. “Cindy, Cindy. C-I-N-D-Y. Next person. Bob.” He makes intense eye contact with Bob. “Bob, Bob. B-O-B." He looks back intently at Cindy. "Cindy. Cindy. Cindy. C-I-N-D-Y. Next person..." Etcetera, etcetera. So basically, every person’s name was said six times and spelled twice, and it took the entire first class. He does this with every single class.

Made Teachers Cry FactsPxfuel

21. The Cunning Cat

I had a cat who did something that makes me wonder to this day. She was sitting on the living room table with my mother in a comfy chair to one end, and my brother on a sofa to the other end. My brother was eating a sausage, and so my cat approaches to ask for some. My brother points at my mother with the sausage in hand and says, "Mom has the sausage."

My cat walks across the table towards my mom, turns around to look at my brother who is still holding the sausage, then leaps onto the comfy chair and meows at my mother for a treat. Genius or stupid cat? I couldn't tell.

Glitch In The Matrix FactsUnsplash

22. Smart AND Dumb

There was a guy I went to high school with who took all honors and AP courses and got a full scholarship to Princeton, as well as a bunch of other scholarships. He also got into the school's Hall of Fame. He also hypothesized in AP calculus-based Physics that you could cancel out the light from two flashlights by pointing them at each other, couldn't argue his way out of a wet paper bag, and was super gullible.

I suppose it's not so much that I'm not sure if he's a genius or an idiot so much as it is that I'm confident that he's both.

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23. He’s Got A Silver Tongue

I had a friend growing up who was very smart and had the ability to subtly manipulate people but didn't really take advantage of it. I think it was out of a combination of being a nice person and also just being lazy. He was raised by a mother that was very manipulative, so that might be why he was good at doing the same thing.

But one funny thing is that in school, he used this strange ability once a year. He did it to get elected class president. He really loved campaigning and winning elections, and it was very easy for him to get people to listen to him and like him. It would make the typical overachiever types so mad that he won every year. He also had no interest in actually being president once elected, so he never actually did anything and blew off all the meetings.

I believe he was replaced by the runner-up a few years because the school admin would get so annoyed at him. But the next year, he’d run and win again.


24. A Typical Punk?

A kid in my graduating class is named Mitch. He had severe depression, major insecurities, bad anxiety, and a killer case of anorexia his senior year. He was a typical angry punk: constant swearing, using every insult and derogatory remark in the book. I don't know how he could be so offensive. However, he had a completely secret side to him.

He could argue better than anyone I know. He could somehow make The Joker seem like the worst character in DC comics, and he delivers speeches about why a movie is or isn't good. In person, just getting to know him, he probably seems like a typical burnout, but he can give life-altering advice. In high school, he spent a lot of extra time helping out mentally challenged kids.

Outside of school, he made scenes in public, and got in trouble a lot for swearing in front of people. But in private, he calms down, almost seems like he has no hope or faith, and just says, "Man, if I become the most hated person ever, I’ll have turned out better than I think I'm gonna." In class, he gets low grades, but he gets As on the important stuff.

Literally everyone says he'll go far, but he's his own biggest critic, and roadblock, and I'm quoting him when I say that. He's smart for being smart, but stupid for being so blind to it.

Furious Students FactsUnsplash

25. The Quizmaster

I hung out with a guy once that was a friend of a friend at a bar. Trivia came on, and we wanted to play. I thought I was good at trivia, but I was in for a surprise. This guy knew the answer to every single question they could come up with, whether it was some obscure song and artist from the 60s, baseball statistics from the 90s, African history, geography I didn’t know, or some cult movie reference.

The other teams were obviously googling the answers and cheating since they thought we were cheating. We probably went through 60-80 questions, and nothing stumped him. It was unreal. He thought it was normal. I never saw him again.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

26. Just Like Siblings

As a psychiatric doctor, one of my jobs is community management of patients right after they finish an inpatient admission, so they are only slightly better, not fully recovered. One guy came into the clinic and my boss for some reason described him to me as “a bit simple.” I don't know if she was messing with me, or if she just completely misread him, because she was so, so wrong. He remains one of the smartest patients I ever had.

He rocks up in high-vis gear with concrete on his work boots and speaks in a broad accent. He often says stuff like “Oh I dunno about any of that,” or “mate I haven't got time for this.” But this guy was sharp as a tack. Any time I would bring up a point of psychoeducation to help him understand his bipolar disorder he would grasp the concept before I had finished explaining it.

I still use his words today with other patients about the similarities between anxiety and depression: "Doc, it's like, anxiety and depression are brother and sister." He holds two fingers up and crosses them. "They aren't the same, but they are clearly related." I was floored. It was way better than whatever garbage I was going to say.

He got well really fast. He just understood things so quickly and was so open to new information. He could apply anything new to his own experience instantly. It was uncanny. He had no idea how smart he was because he just assumed smartness was for people with a university degree. I had to tell my boss they were completely wrong about him, but I don't know if she ever took the time to update her initial assessment.

Embarrassing Doctor’s Visits factsShutterstock

27. The Best Brother

Everyone used to tell my brother that he was just average just because he got average grades. But this kid is so smart. He’s a huge history buff and one time spent about half an hour explaining to me the importance of some battle and how it was pivotal in helping the Union win. I don’t remember the exact details, because all I could think about was the level of depth he got into just explaining and analyzing.

My brother’s intelligence is the definition of quality and I’d shout that from the rooftops because as his older sister, I’m so proud of him.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

28. Why Aren’t You Leading?

I think some people just choose a quieter and more simple life despite their intelligence. I worked as a hospital porter for a few years when I was a teen and one of my fellow porters was this brilliant chap who would skim through the paper on his break then go off on some glorious leftist rant like the leader of a union back in the 70s.

His political knowledge was unbelievable, he could easily have been an MP but was happier as a porter.

Genius or Idiot FactsShutterstock

29. Above Class Privilege

I knew a shaved head Mexican gang member in high school who made it to calculus without doing any studying or homework outside of just the class time. Because of this, his grades were always at a B+ level, so he never really considered himself smart, nor drew much attention from teachers. Our high school was sharply divided between rich and poor, and he was doing as well or better than people who came from privileged backgrounds.

I knew for a fact other people had hours of private tutoring daily, were part of study groups, math club, and other extracurriculars. To this day I can't fathom how he did it. He did pay careful attention in class, so he must have had a photographic memory and a genius-level mind. Half the time, he never even brought the book to class, and had to borrow a TI calculator.

I know he left his books in his locker before he went home because he didn't want to be caught holding a schoolbook by his friends.

Genius or Idiot FactsPixabay

30. Big Steps Up

I went out with a girl who at first glance looked and behaved like the worst trailer park trash you could imagine. Very few social skills, clumsy, rude, threatening, promiscuous, semi-literate…I bought her a drink and just got chatting. She was bi-polar and had had a chaotic childhood. We began to see each other around and started a relationship.

I was moving away to go to university, and I asked her to come with me. She started to calm down and got a small job, growing into it as her confidence grew. She started taking an interest in my course work in structural engineering, and started to go to lectures in her free time. Ten years later, she had a PhD in fluid dynamics, had learned three new languages fluently, and had taken up an analyst’s job at a Swiss hedge fund.

She is now a multi-millionaire and one of my best and closest friends living in one of the finest parts of Europe. I couldn't love her more.

Accidental jerkUnsplash

31. Have More Confidence!

My friend in high school thinks he's dumb, but he has an absolutely phenomenal knowledge of politics and economic systems. He has dyslexia, but you wouldn't be able to tell because he reads more seamlessly than most of the rest of us. I wish he would recognize how smart he was because he doesn't think he's smart enough. I think he doesn't aim as high as he could achieve.

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32. A Different Kind Of Smart

I work in manufacturing, so we get a lot of uneducated people. There are a lot of people out there who are smart, but for various reasons weren't properly served by the public schools. They might be barely literate, or can hardly string two words together coherently, but they solve problems beautifully, always have workable ideas, and they talk about ideas rather than people or events. It's hard to quantify, but you know it when you see it.

Elizabeth Chudleigh FactsShutterstock

33. All Mismatched

I used to wear mismatched socks all the time; not like an orange sock and a black sock, but two white socks that technically don't go together. But one day, someone at work called me out on it and I felt awful for some reason. I honestly had no idea anyone ever noticed and I had this mini-panic attack that I've looked foolish for so long.

It turns out no one had ever told me that probably half the people I'm around actually do notice that my socks don't match. I've turned my life around now, though. I've really grown up since that day. My socks always match.

Weird House Rules FactsFlickr

34. Is He Perfect?

My husband is a Microbiologist, does workflow management, and plays D&D in his downtime. He can analyze a difficult concept, distill the relevant information, make it easily accessible to someone and teach it in a patient, unassuming manner quickly without making the other party feel stupid or uninformed. He’s also super modest.

He has no idea how hard it is to educate people. He’s never trying to one-up or show off his knowledge. He’s charismatic and emotionally intelligent. Honestly, he has no idea how rare his level of kindness and intelligence are in others. He’s the best person I’ve ever met.

Weird Couple Secrets FactsShutterstock

35. Only Moderate Progress

To anyone who is interested in Czech culture, I cannot recommend enough the writings of Jaroslav Hašek. His story, the Good Soldier Švejk, fits the mold of a complete imbecile who may actually be a total genius. However, the legends surrounding Hašek are even more interesting. He was a known anarchist who was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army and was captured by the Russians the same year.

One time, he checked into a Prague hotel under a Russian-sounding name, causing the local constabulary to think he was a spy for the Russian government. After hours of investigation, they eventually discovered that they were investigating the town fool. Oh, and he also founded the coolest sounding political movement: “Strana mírného pokroku v mezích zákona,” which in English means: The Party for Moderate Progress Within the Limits of Law).

Genius or Idiot FactsWikimedia Commons

36. Broken Promises

I always wonder about whoever is at the top of the Washington Redskins. Every year you hear how much money FedEx Stadium brings in and how all these new great things are coming, but every year, everything falls apart completely at the great things never come. Every year, people still buy the tickets, and they don't fire the top guys. Either they are idiots or genius businesspeople.

Genius or Idiot FactsFlickr

37. It’s Just Rocket Science

I really admire the folks who designed the landing gear on the Curiosity rover lander. Basically, for those who never saw the seven-minute video, the entire landing process was completely automated, and involved stuff like automatic parachutes, a sky crane lowering the rover from a tether, and a bunch of other things that could go wrong.

Oh, and they didn't have all the programming in place yet until after the rover launched from Earth. It was insane, and I was convinced the reaction after the attempted landing was either going to be "you guys are geniuses for figuring all that out!" or "you guys are complete idiots for thinking that's going to work!" Luckily though, we know how that one played out.

Genius or Idiot FactsFlickr

38. Building A Temple

Terry A. Davis wrote an entire operating system, by himself, from scratch. For those of you who don't understand the magnitude of that achievement, consider that it took several thousand people to write the earlier Windows systems, and probably tens of thousands for the newer ones. His is not nearly as full-featured, but it is still surprisingly robust and complete.

However, this guy is completely nuts. The reason he made the operating system is that he believes God told him to. Hence the name of the project: TempleOS featuring the programming language HolyC. The guy is a diagnosed schizophrenic. And yet, there are probably very few people out there who could do what he has done.

Genius or Idiot FactsWikipedia

39. The Other Burger Chain

Lynsi Snyder is the 33-year-old billionaire who inherited and runs the In-N-Out Burger franchise. In-N-Out is wildly popular in Southern California and some of the other southwest states it has expanded into, but even though it has existed for as long as McDonald's, to date there are only about 300 stores. I can't decide if this is a genius move.

Maybe it is, because opening stores slowly has maintained the culture and quality that has made In-N-Out so successful. Or they could be leaving billions of dollars on the table by not expanding into new areas that would literally eat it up.

Fast Food Facts Wikimedia Commons

40. The Right Wrong Key

Ornette Coleman is a Jazz great. He taught himself music and is one of the biggest influences of the free jazz genre. After years of playing, he eventually ran into Miles Davis, who agreed to tutor him a little more because even if you're great, Miles is such an influential figure in Jazz that he can always show you something.

Ornette sits down at a piano and Miles starts talking about a chord. Ornette, who initially taught himself piano as a kid goes to play the chord. It's totally wrong. Miles asks him to play another simpler chord and it's totally wrong. The two of them both realize his chord is transposed by three half steps. For non-musical people, this means that every time Miles asks for an A chord Ornette plays a C chord.

In an instant, Ornette realizes the problem. He leaves the room, throws up, and comes back in saying he never wants another music lesson. For the rest of his life, he never studied with anyone else. Turns out when Ornette was a kid, he taught himself piano and assumed that the C key was the A key for some reason. As a result, all the scales he taught himself were fundamentally wrong, which also meant that when he learned about chord structure, voicing, harmonic arrangement, and melody, none of note-to-note relationships was correct as compared to what he thought he was playing.

This was a huge reason why his music sounded so different. Ornette would think he wrote something in C major but really instead of C-E-G notes, he'd play E-G-B. Most of the chords he thought were major chords were actually minor chords. However, the argument that he might be a genius is equally compelling, because even after he learned his error, he refused to attack the music any differently because he liked the freedom his system gave him. It often resulted in atonal songs where there was no established root note.

Genius or Idiot FactsWikimedia Commons

41. The Radioactive Man

Naoto Matsumura is called the "Radioactive Man." After the Japanese government told everyone to leave the Exclusion Zone around Fukushima, he went back to retrieve his animals. Noticing that all the other animals, like livestock, pets, and zoo animals, were starving locked to chains and such, he's spent the past four years freeing and feeding animals.

He calls it "Making the rounds," and does it purely out of a love for animals. He refuses to leave even though the government has demanded he vacate. When asked if he was worried about getting cancer, he said something along the lines of "Cancer takes 30 years or so to set in. I'm old. I don't have that long left anyways."

Genius or Idiot FactsFlickr

42. Explosions Everywhere!

Michael Bay’s films are offensively stupid yet make hundreds of millions of dollars. Because his films are so successful, he is consistently hired to direct or produce films despite having neither restraint, taste, nor respect for his peers. I've heard him described as "emotionally tone-deaf." He's either an idiot who inadvertently tapped into everyone's adolescent fantasies or he's a brilliant, soulless businessman disguised as a director.

Bill Hader FactsGetty Images

43. Good Or Bad Writing?

There are two possibilities for Stephanie Meyer: a random woman of mediocre intelligence wrote a bad book with vapid, bland characters that just so happened to become insanely popular, sell millions of copies, and spawn four movies… Or, a genius who wrote a book just simple enough to be understood and easily read by everyone, with characters just bland enough for literally anyone to insert themselves into and play out from the inside, tapping into the fundamental desires of teenage girls across the world.

I still can't tell which it is.

50 Shades Of Grey FactsGetty Images

44. The Price Of Happiness

As a teen, I worked for a video rental place. My manager spoke five languages and did all the accounts without the need of a calculator. I asked him what he was doing as just a manager at a movie rental place, and that he could be making a lot of money doing anything else. I’ll never forget what he answered. He told me, “Making less money is the price of my happiness." That message always stuck with me.

Genius or Idiot FactsUnsplash

45. An Inside Joke

My friend tells run-of-the-mill jokes all the time. The ones that are funny the very first time you hear it, but a nuisance on the fifth time around. One day he decides to entertain our group of seven, including him, with a joke he announces will make everyone laugh. "Two polar bears are in the bathtub. The first polar bear says to the second, 'can you pass the soap?' The second polar bear says, 'no soap, radio.’"

All six of us were dumbfounded while he kept insisting that once we get it, we will laugh heartily. No one got it and our excitement for the day faded into the depths of why this was funny. A few hours later, I looked it up with another friend who was there—and that’s when we solved the mystery. The entire point of the joke is to have all but one person in on the gag.

Then, you all laugh uncontrollably at this non-joke to get the person who is not involved to laugh at something they don't understand. My issue starts here. Was he told this joke and the idiot who laughed along never told him he was an idiot? Was he hoping that most of us had already heard the joke? Or was he playing a joke martyr and accepting looking foolish for the ultimately funnier situation? Sowing chaos in the form of a joke to get the last laugh.

Genius or Idiot FactsPexels

46. Stop Tearing Her Down!

My current girlfriend is extremely smart. Her intuition is very good with people, her problem-solving skills are impressive in situations where she is comfortable, and she has a very deep understanding of the human psyche. However, there’s a dark side to it. Her mother has been gaslighting her since childhood trying to keep her fully reliant on her.

I have held my tongue at points just to try and not be that boyfriend that ruins a relationship, but instead, I just show her how smart she really is, and where she might have a weak point that I may be able to help. I walk her through my thought process, and she picks it up very quickly. I always wonder how far she could be at this point in her life had her mother just supported her instead of tearing her down.

Just in the short time I have been dating her, I have seen her grow a lot, and am very excited to see where she can soar off to; I just hope that she takes me with her.

Genius or Idiot FactsPexels

47. A Class of Her Own

There is a girl in my class who is beyond help at this point. Her best moments: “I don’t want to donate my eyes because I don’t want people to see what I’ve seen.” “Gingers can’t be American.” “Yay! I got a D in French.” I just want to clarify the French grade, though. I don’t want to seem like I think I’m better than anyone because of grades.

I wrote this one down because she interrupted other people’s learning and shouted this out in the middle of the lesson. Honestly, as long as anyone tries in their test it’s fine, but she was on her phone most of the time.

Surrounded by Idiots FactsShutterstock

48. Bad Idea

There was a troubled kid I went to high school with. He struggled with school but had friends. Nevertheless, he was starting to go down a bad way. He decided to photocopy the front and back side 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 fool proof. 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.

Drive Thru FactsShutterstock

Sources: Reddit,

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