Mistakes are often the most painful, yet powerful ways to learn and grow. They may not be fun to endure, but any successful CEO will tell you that they are necessary. The road to success is paved with mistakes…but what happens if the mistake is a sinkhole that could swallow up your entire car? Some failures are best left to the roadside, as we learn from these baleful blunders gone bad.
1. Long Hair Rescue
I should be dead. I climbed onto one of those underpasses that allow river water to flow through when I was like, 5 years old. I got swept in the current and taken down the river. The only reason I survived is that my dad saw my long hair barely under the current and jumped in to save me.
2. Dodge This
I was playing with the laundry chute in my childhood home when I was around 5 years old. My cousins and I took turns dropping things down the chute while someone else stood at the bottom and dodged them. For the most part, it was things like washcloths, stuffed animals, a clothing item, etc. It just so happened that when I stood under the chute, my cousin dropped a 5-pound dumbbell down and I, expecting something harmless, didn’t get out of the way.
That ended the game really quickly. I now part my hair in a way that hides the bald spot scar on my head.
3. The Deadly Toilet
I was carrying a toilet by myself after having painted the bathroom. I got caught up in the drop cloth and fell on the toilet, smashing it, and a piece of the porcelain cut into my knee. My father was there with me and immediately took me to the hospital as the bleeding was pretty decent. The doctor told me that the piece missed an artery by 1/4” and that if I had been a smaller man I’d have bled out before I made it to the hospital.
Being a very large man (6’2” and 350lbs at the time) saved my life.
4. Flying Fish
Many years ago, I owned a pub. I went upstairs to the house area to find all the lights were off. I flicked the trip switches to turn the lights back on; which they did. I then heard running water from my co-owner’s fish tank in the lounge, turns out the protein skimmer had flipped over and was spilling water over the wall socket.
Instinctively (and very stupidly), I went to turn off the plug and as soon as I touched it got sent flying over the back of the sofa. I don’t know how I’m still alive to this day.
5. More Like “Nope” Snail
I was swimming at a beach in Florida. I put some goggles on and looked under the water for crabs and other cool things. Anyway, I reached down and picked up a moving shell. I looked at it and recognized that it was a Cone Snail. I threw it back down as fast I could and ran out of the water in fear. For those who don’t know, Cone Snails have a tube-like appendage that can shoot out a small harpoon that has deadly venom. It’s extremely dangerous to humans, and I could’ve gotten stung.
6. A Matter of Perspective
I fell down my friend’s basement stairs when I was 8 years old (hit my head on the concrete floor) and ended up being airlifted to a major city hospital after being knocked out, still screaming. I ended waking up a couple days later and found out I was missing a tooth. I was told that as they were putting a breathing tube in, it knocked my tooth down my throat which scared the doctors even more. But I was super happy because I played Super Smash Bros for the first time in the game room and ate Jell-O for meals.
Turns out that I was actually in a comatose state and gradually got worse over 48 hours until I had 0 brain activity for about 6 minutes. So, I guess I did die but I didn’t find out from my family till afterwards, because who tells an 8-year-old that they died?
7. Blind Turn
Not wearing a helmet while on a bicycle, and stupidly turning left just as a car overtook me. Somehow, I only got a neat scar through my eyebrow and some torn up kneecaps from it. But the look on my mother’s face when she picked me up from the hospital…that made me realize how profoundly stupid I was that day.
8. The Floor is Lava
I remember organizing my room when I was 10 or so. I had a lava lamp on the verge of falling off my cabinet; I didn’t notice until I heard a loud shatter on my floor. For some reason, my brain thought it would be a good idea to pick up all the shards. I jabbed my foot with a huge piece of glass and passed out from the pain.
I woke up in a hospital bed and realized the shard was gone from my foot (was stitched back up) and getting relieved looks from my family. Turns out when I passed out, I hit my head on the cement floor (I was living in my parents’ basement), cracked my skull partially open and was bleeding profusely. I got taken to the hospital. My family thought I was dead.
9. Out Cold
When I was around 13 years old, my mom bought this old house and asked me to clean out the garage. We didn’t have a key, so I climbed in through the window and tried to open the garage door. It was an old one you manually opened. I crouch down and start pulling this thing up, when the top half came off the rails and swung down—hitting me right in the head.
I woke up, who knows how long after, with a cut on my head and blood all over. Only time I’ve ever been knocked out cold. Turns out mom knew it was broken and forgot to tell me. Dang it, mom.
10. Dumb Dad
My dad got trashed and tried to jump over the fence at Yankee Stadium with his friends. He failed and an iron spike punctured him. He remembers being rushed to the hospital and bleeding everywhere. Everyone thought he was going to die of blood loss…He didn’t die, but he also made several more stupid mistakes such as riding a motorcycle without a helmet and breaking several ribs etc.
Honestly, he is still stupid and I’m surprised he hasn’t died yet.
11. The Dud
Driving over an IED in Iraq. Its battery had gone bad in the heat. If the battery was alive, I wouldn’t be. I was in a rural area. I didn’t see some disturbed dirt in the dirt road that we were driving on, but my lieutenant in the passenger seat almost pooped his pants because his life flashed before his eyes. He literally curled into a ball in his seat.
I asked him what was up. And he said he was sure that there was something back there. We were currently escorting troop carriers to drop off a foot patrol in the middle of nowhere, so after we completed our drop off, we went back on his order to check out the spot. My truck was the only one with an RF jammer, so I took the lead up to the spot my lieutenant had seen.
I thought to myself, “Holy heck, how did I not see that?” I was the “demo” guy since we didn’t have enough EOD in the area, so I went up to it and saw the pressure plate and wires. I dug it up and there is was. A battery with the battery acid all leaked out. They didn’t bury it deep enough, and it was the middle of summer. About 130 degrees out. Not good for the battery.
Under the battery and pressure plate was a box, about the size of a footlocker, filled with explosives and accelerant. If it had gone off my whole truck would have been dust. We had to do a controlled demo since EOD was busy, and after we took it out, half the road had a 5-foot-deep crater in it.
12. The Mix-Up
In 1986, my mother came for a routine pregnancy exam at the hospital… It wasn’t her usual gynecologist because they were on holiday. As the gynecologist enters the room, she’s waiting with her two feet in the stirrups, wearing the typical hospital grown with the opening at the back. He revealed the instruments for the exam.
My mother was a nurse. She recognized the instruments for an abortion and asked the doctor, “What’s going on? Is there a problem?” and the gynecologist said, “Well yes, as you know the baby is dead, we need to remove it.” My mother threw the biggest tantrum in the history of tantrums. My dad usually picks up the narrative at this part of the story, “I saw your mother storming out of the exam room, she passed by me as she was howling, ‘WE GO, NOW!’ with her clothes in her hands and her exposed butt.”
The gynecologist had mixed up the files. He was supposed to do the abortion on someone else.
13. An Idaho Mountain
When I was in high school, me and a few friends all lied to our parents and told them we were spending the night at each other’s houses. What we had really done was backpacked up a snowy Idaho mountain in the middle of winter without telling anyone where we were going. We were all fairly inexperienced in winter backpacking.
The friend in charge of bringing food brought chicken he’d cooked at home so we could eat it cold in case we couldn’t start a fire. Luckily, I’d brought a can of chili and didn’t partake in the chicken. I woke up the following morning to a fresh foot of snow and my friends vomiting out of the tent. We’d left our boots outside and they were completely frozen through, the shoe laces of my boot were pointing up and out and had zero bend.
Me and one other friend weren’t sick and had to pack up the tent; the most freezing cold work I’ve ever done. I gave one of my sick friends my gloves because he couldn’t find his. We were about three miles into the hike and the trail we’d taken in was totally covered. None of us were familiar with it enough to know it by memory.
I took all but one pack and ran down trail to the car, making my best guess on which way to turn and marking those choices with ski poles. Got to the car, started it up to get it warm and to check if we had cell reception, we didn’t. And then I ran back up trail to where they were and we carried them back to the car.
I got home and felt like total garbage. My entire body was on fire from the cold and the soreness. I felt freezing to my bones and when I got home, I started puking and was pastel white and sickly looking. My dad was mad at me for being “hungover” and I opted for that punishment rather than the insane fury it would have caused if he knew why I was actually in my condition.
14. Pain in the Neck
I dove into a pool and broke my neck at the C2 level (hangman fracture it’s called). I was so drunk I thought I just pulled a muscle or something, so I kept partying. There are pictures of me with a bag of frozen peas on my neck grilling, taking a shot from an ice luge, etc. All while my freaking neck was BROKEN. Once the disc popped out because I was PLAYING CHICKEN WITH SOMEONE ON MY SHOULDERS IN THE SAME POOL HOURS LATER, that’s when I realized that maybe something was wrong.
One emergency spinal fusion surgery, five days in the hospital, three months bedridden, medical discharge from the Army (RIP that career) and I’m good as new. I totally should be dead or paralyzed.
15. Mr. Invincible
Car crash at 80km/hour. I hit a car that was going through a red light perpendicular to my direction of travel and came to a dead stop after hitting the back-quarter panel/wheel of their car whilst they barrel rolled three times into the nature strip… I hit the windscreen with my head because I’m 6’5″ and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt because I thought I was invincible.
Both myself and the other driver walked away unscathed which was the most surprising of all. I was taken to the hospital because of my collision with the windscreen, but was released shortly after some scans that came back okay. I don’t know what saved me or the other driver that day, but I thought I died for several seconds after the impact and airbags went off, only to realize I was a bit dazed but generally fine, which followed with moments of disbelief and joy.
16. Blessed Backtracking
Driving from Italy to France. I was going to meet up with my husband and should have just flown but I wanted to bring our dog – and I wanted to avoid renting a car when we got there. It was supposed to be a 12-hour drive, but once I got to Rome, I realized I forgot my passport at home. I had to turn around and double back, putting me behind by two hours. Because of my backtracking, I wasn’t on the Morandi bridge when it collapsed that day.
17. The Rebellious Phase
I had a very bad rebellious phase. At one point, I ran away from home for a week and hitchhiked my way across the country along with one of my friends. For context, we were both 16 years old at the time. One of the cars that gave us a ride happened to be two suspicious looking foreigners – older men, who spoke between themselves in Turkish, and only one of them was able to address us in our native tongue. But we were too dumb to realize the red flags.
It finally occurred to us when they passed our exit and refused to let us go when we indicated their ‘mistake’. I had to basically fake it as if my father knew where I was and that he’d be expecting me at a certain spot at a certain time, not even knowing if that would work. It did, miraculously, and they let us go – in the middle of nowhere. We had to basically hitch another ride home. Boy, was I stupid.
18. A Split Decision
Riding my motorcycle, like an idiot, on back roads. I thought buddy gave the signal we were going to pass a car on a double yellow. I proceeded to throw the bike into the next lane without thinking it through. I was greeted by a work-truck with a utility bed on it (wider than normal truck bed). I was already ahead of my buddy and almost next to the minivan that I thought we were going around. Decided my only option was to pin it, think skinny, and split right down the middle of the double yellow.
I should be a grease stain. Had to pull over and think for a while after that one. Don’t really ride on the streets much anymore because of this incident. I found the racetrack and am much happier taking my hooliganism to a closed course these days.
19. The Tourist
When I was a kid during grade school my mom told me to meet her at a local park because we were going to have picnic with family. I just got my first phone a Nokia. This will be relevant later. Anyway, I got to the park around 30 minutes early, so I sat down on a bench and played snake on my phone. Then this guy approaches me.
He asked if I was a local (my city is known to be a tourist destination). I said yes, and then he asked if I knew the way to a local tourist spot. Now, I was young and naïve, and despite being taught about stranger danger, I was eager to help a tourist find his way. I told him yes, I knew the way. Then he asked if I could bring him there. Again, being young, I agreed.
Now there are a lot of ways to go to this tourist spot but this dude asked if we could go a specific route because he wanted to go to his hotel and get a Gameboy to give to me, because I was such a helpful child. I had never owned a console, so I got excited and told him sure. On the way he talked about all the children he has given a Gameboy to, and how many he had made happy.
I felt at the time that this guy was legit and that he actually just liked making kids happy. He even gave me 100 pesos (around 2 dollars) because I was being so helpful. Once we got to the vicinity of the hotel, we stopped and he said that he had to make a call. Once he was done, he said that his roommate left and he had no key so we just had to go to the original destination because that’s where the Gameboy was.
I was like okay; I mean I had time to kill so there was no problem for me. Now the thing is, from the park there are a lot of routes we could have gone through to get to this destination because the park is in the center of the city. The fastest way was through a road that had fewer people and was travelled through by less cars. This didn’t raise any red flags for me, so I told him the fastest way was through that secluded road.
He seemed like a pretty okay guy and we just conversed along the way. When we were about 1/4 through that secluded road my mom called. She asked where I was, and I answered that I was trying to just help a tourist get to his destination and I was at the secluded road. My mom started freaking out and telling me to get out. I never heard my mom that panicked and mad, so I told the guy sorry and just ran. He didn’t chase after me but he just stared at me while I ran away.
I met up with my family and my mom got mad at me for going somewhere with a stranger. We had a picnic; all was good. When we got our weekly paper, I was excited to check the Sunday comics. So, I grabbed the paper. On the front page of the paper was a report about some group nabbing children for organ harvesting. To be honest, I never connected the dots until I was in high school…
20. Crossing the Road
Crossed an interstate without looking. I got hit by a grandmother doing 55. Managed to not only not die, but also not break anything. I did, however, get first and second degree friction burns on a good portion of my right arm and first degree friction burns on my right leg, with further scrapes and contusions all over the place, plus a deep tissue bruise in my right leg that kept me from walking for about a week.
I pretty much got scooped up by the car and, I don’t believe I’m going to say this, but basically “yeeted” about 100 feet down the road.
21. The Right Prescription
Taking a pill from a complete stranger while alone on a beach in Thailand in the middle of the night. Instead, we made out and he put me in a taxi to my hotel at dawn. The pill had been Ritalin, I was completely fine, just more focused, and that’s how I first became suspicious I might have ADHD. Turns out, I do.
22. Money Isn’t Everything
Taking on a 70hrs+ a week job just for the money. I hated the job; I hated my boss and I hated myself. I could not look myself in the mirror anymore. I was this close to a heart attack, gained 60kg and could hardly sleep – but every month 12k on the bank account made me get up again and again. My wife said either you quit or I walk, it really saved my life.
23. Saving Face
I was cutting a piece of plywood on sawhorses with a skill-saw that had the guard wedged up. Of course, that piece of plywood broke before I was finished cutting. The saw fell and landed blade side up still running, and I fell on to that. My arm saved my face from getting Saw chucked.
24. Shotgun Play
A buddy of mine cocked back a shotgun thinking it was empty, pointed it at my back, and pulled the trigger. Nothing. His dad came in the room fuming at his son, took the gun, and shot a hole through the garage door. It had misfired.
25. Little Diver
I was very young and I was at my grandmother’s; I couldn’t have been more than two or three years old. My grandparents had an outdoor pool, and back then I had no idea how to swim without water wings. But me, stupid kid I was, thought I could dive in no problem. No one heard me as I basically drowned to my death.
Yes, I actually passed away for a short amount of time. I think like, a minute or so. My dad noticed I wasn’t making any noise, found my body in the water and dove in. He actually resuscitated me back to life. It was a scary as heck experience. But yeah. If no one was around, or even waited just a little bit longer, I would be very, very dead.
26. A Tough Pill to Swallow
I was trying to take a Nyquil pill last night, but I choked on it instead. It was lodged in my throat for maybe 8 minutes, I think. I got lucky; it gave me just enough room to keep some air flowing, but lord, there was a lot of pain as my body kept trying to eject it with more mucus than I have ever shot out before.
My poor girlfriend called 9-1-1. She tried her best with the Heimlich, but she’s just not strong enough to force a good thrust of air out to dislodge it. The pill finally started dissolving and went down about a minute before the local fire department got here. That was by far the scariest moment in my life.
27. The Camel’s Back
Okay. So, I was a stupid Ensign in the Navy, and we were in port in Aqaba, Jordan. Well, some of the people on the ship (including me) decided to go on a tour of nearby Petra. Petra is an ancient stone-age city, most famous for being the location shot of the entrance to the third Indiana Jones movie, with the holy grail.
That stone temple in the canyon? Yeah, it’s normally filled with tourists and has a tent just off screen selling overpriced wares. Anyway, because the tour was organized by the ship, we had a tour guide and even some plainclothes police/special forces/whatever they were, I forget. Basically security, because it’s the Middle East (edit: also, ISIS was really active at the time, so that kind of had the higher-ups and me as well on edge). We all went as a group down the trails amid the ancient city to a restaurant at the bottom, ate lunch, and then we were going to split up and let people make their own way back to the bus, so we could explore the city more.
Here’s where I’m a moron. I wanted to ride a camel back up, because I thought that’d be awesome. I asked a guy about it; they couldn’t do the camel, but some other people offered to give me a ride on their mule for cheap, and I figured that was cool too. They were heading back up to their nearby village and talked with my tour guide saying they could get me a car ride back to where the bus was once they got me back to their town. The tour guide, who as I recall was not part of the security group, was cool with it.
A little way up the mountain path, it hits me that I’m an American military officer going a secluded route to a small Middle Eastern town with a plan to hop into a car with people I don’t know. So, I start telling them I changed my mind. I really want to go back to the rest of the city. They try to talk about it costing them extra to go back, but I figure losing money is better than losing my head, so I say I’ll pay the extra cost that they’re trying to haggle out of me for the inconvenience of going back down the trail.
They take it, and I spend the rest of the time trying to catch up with the scattered tour group I’d left behind with my little stunt. All in all, I still have avoided doing the currency conversion math to find out how much money I lost, but I made it back safely. Don’t be a moron like me. Use the buddy system while traveling so there’s decent odds at least one of you will have common sense.
28. Forbidden Snacks
I found an AC cord with exposed wires as a kid. It didn’t connect to any device; it was probably just a spare part. Being a child at that time, I thought I could “eat electricity” so I plugged it in and just chomped the wires. Naturally, I was exposed to 220V of electricity, and it was strong enough that I couldn’t pull away. I passed out after what felt like five minutes.
When I woke up, I already had discoloration on my tongue, so it was probably not a dream. I have a theory that all the events in my life after that are just a simulation and that I actually didn’t survive that incident.
29. Identification, Please
Around 2005-2006 I went to a taping of the Conan O’Brien show in NYC. After the show me and two of my buddies where walking down Broadway when we hear a guy talking about fake ID’s for sale. We were about 19 at the time, so I asked how much. He said 150 each. We agreed and followed the man to a Wendy’s. When we got to the Wendy’s, he asked the cashier for the white screen behind the counter. He then brought us to the side and took pictures of us in front of the screen.
He said he had the printer in the basement and told us to follow him down. We started to follow him down a dark stairwell into what seemed like the abyss. As we approached the bottom, his associate asked my two friends to go with him and I went with the man. He lead me to a room with a chair, table and nothing else in it.
At this moment, I thought I was dead. I turned around and he had a piece pointed to my head. He took all my money and my watch. He told me to put my head on the table face down and count to 1,000. When I got to 1,000, I got up and carefully walked back up the stairs and my friends were sitting at a table at the Wendy’s. Both of them had gotten robbed by the other guys.
The Wendy’s employee who helped him was gone and the other employees acted like this never happened – they pretended like they never saw us before. We assumed this was some sort of operation they have going on there.
30. Thrill Seeking Sisters
Okay so this wasn’t my mistake, but I was burning cardboard to start a campfire and my sisters wanted to see a mini explosion. They rushed next to me and threw a plastic bottle in the fire. The fire hissed but didn’t explode (right away). I scolded them and told them not to do it again. It turned out that the plastic bottle had gasoline in it, and five minutes later I went to put some wood on the fire and BOOM! The fire blew up in my face. Luckily the only damage was a few permanent scars on my hands and trauma whenever I hear unexpected explosions…
31. Couldn’t Hurt A Fly
When I was about 9 years old, I was playing at the window trying to catch a bug, but I couldn’t get it and got frustrated. So, I hit the glass with both hands. The window broke… which cut my wrist and elbow. Blood was everywhere… it had cut the veins. I was taken to the hospital and stitched up.
32. A Long Way Down
A few months ago, I was lying on the rocks at Taft Point in Yosemite on my belly – my face looking down over the edge. I crawled back from the edge, got on to my hands and knees to stand up and my foot caught on my backpack I’d put down. As I stood up, I tripped and stumbled towards the edge. I managed to stop myself from going over; my hand catching me as I fell forward right by the lip of the edge…
Thinking about it gives me a rush of terror and I’m sick at the thought of how close I came to falling over the edge and dropping hundreds and hundreds of feet down.
33. Read the Fine Print
So about three days ago, I started developing a cough (as a result of getting just sick overall). I hate coughing and how it tears up my throat, so I finished off a bottle of Delsym and bought 2 bottles of Theraflu that I could basically sip throughout the day to keep the cough away. And so, I did. At about 7pm on Tuesday, I started drinking the Theraflu.
That night I had gone through about half a bottle. No biggie. The next morning the cough persisted so I kept drinking, and by 11am I had gone through both bottles. Now of course, I didn’t read the bottle or what was inside, because it’s cough syrup how bad could it be? Right? Wrong. Turns out there is 650mg of acetaminophen per 30ml dose of Theraflu, with 245.5ml per bottle.
I had taken something close to 10 THOUSAND mg of acetaminophen. Now so you don’t have to google it, the recommended max dose is about three thousand mg, and the DONT GO ABOVE THIS AMOUNT number is about four thousand mg. I had accidentally drunk 10 thousand mg. Over double the ‘you’re going to die if you drink this much’ amount.
The next 36 hours until today were spent trying to flush my system out (at the direction of a nurse friend) with as much fluid as I could as it was too late to throw it up – and closely monitoring for signs of liver failure.
34. Watching Wildflowers
I live in Texas. As a young child, my family drove out to this scenic spot out in the hill country to look at wildflowers and chill. I must have been like 6 years old or so at the time. Anyway, we get there, we’re at the top of this hill and at the bottom there is this huge expanse of blue bonnets, so of course, I take off at a flat sprint to see the flowers.
But I was too young and stupid to understand gravity and slopes, and about halfway down the hill I completely lost control of my legs and was flinging down this hillside like the flash. And, surprise, the at the base of the hill before the flowers start is solid rock. So, I start screaming hysterically and making peace with my god.
Little did I know, my dad had seen my dumb mistake far before I had, and had taken off behind me. All I remember is my body being perpendicular to the hill and the rocks getting bigger and bigger, and then being lifted into the air. My dad had managed to sprint down the hill at a diagonal angle, and he snatched me out of a path that lead to certain doom.
It was pretty incredible. The dad reflexes were strong that day.
35. Right in the Gut
Before I was born, there was a malfunction with the airbag in my mom’s car, which hit my mom in the stomach. So basically, I shouldn’t be alive.
36. The Mental Hospital
Back in high school a group of friends and I decided to explore an abandoned mental hospital located in Indianapolis (sadly torn down now). We got up to the roof and we were hanging out enjoying the view. We saw some plastic looking things on the roof. A couple guys started breaking them, so I full-on sprinted at one and jumped on it.
Turned out they were sky lights and I immediately began to fall through before one person grabbed me and stopped me from falling four stories. I should have been toast that day.
37. Hand of God
Literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever done is a good one for this. 19-year-old me (2 years ago) walked to the gun safe to show off to my girlfriend the very nice new pistol I had inherited as a result of a family member passing away. I hadn’t shot it yet and was positive it was unloaded. She was very nervous, so I stupidly put it to my head and go to pull the trigger just to show how harmless it is when it’s unloaded.
Without knowing it, I instinctively moved it away from my head and it went off. It couldn’t have missed my head by more than an inch. I still wonder what’s in store for me for the future because there’s no reason I shouldn’t be dead. I didn’t try to move it, it just did. I thank God and question why… I think about that a lot – I’m definitely much more respectful of a gun and treat every single one as if it’s loaded, which you should anyways.
38. Breathe In, Breathe Out
Many people think that they’d be able to tell if there was some kind of gas leak, either by smell, taste, or because they’d feel like they were choking. It’s incredibly dangerous, as it’s really CO2 that causes that choking/burning sensation due to changes in your blood pH. Gases like argon are super dangerous in enclosed spaces because they have no smell, taste, or color, and they’re heavier than air so they displace any of the oxygen you breathe.
The worst part is that when you’re suffering from hypoxia, you almost never realize it. I remember being at a party when I was younger, trying to make my voice squeaky using helium-filled balloons. I clearly remember thinking “my voice doesn’t sound high enough, I should try more”. There was no choking sensation, nothing unpleasant; I was laughing and giggling like mad.
Before I knew it, I was stumbling, fell down, and literally couldn’t get up for at least a minute.
39. Pet Snake
When I was a kid, I was really interested in reptiles (still am) and always wanted a pet snake. I went fishing with my dad one day at the local lake and found a group of gardener snakes. I got really excited and picked one up by its neck. My dad saw me and screamed at me to throw it out, so I tossed it into the lake.
It was a water moccasin (Pit Viper).
40. An Idaho Mountain Pt. 2
Just earlier this week my fiancé went up into the mountains in Idaho with a few friends to go shooting. They got to the spot they wanted, saw a ranger, and decided to go up a little further. Went down the wrong path and ended up getting the truck stuck in the snow. When they tried to back out, it buried itself 2 feet further.
The ranger they had seen was gone. Absolutely no cell service for quite a long way. So, they start preparing to be stuck there at least overnight if not longer, since they had strayed from where we thought they were going. Luckily, some hours later, a guy happens to drive up that way, they see/hear him and are able to get his attention.
So, they gave him one of their dad’s phone numbers and the guy promises to call when he gets down the mountain. 6 hours in, Dad shows up to help, tries to pull the truck out, and gets his own truck stuck as well. Also, his wife had followed him in another truck and waited down the road. 7 or 8 hours after they left and a few hours after dark, they finally show up at home, soaking wet and looking completely defeated. I don’t know how long they would’ve been stuck up there if they hadn’t been able to flag that one random guy down.
If you’re going do something like this, tell people where you’re going and stick to that, bring emergency supplies and a shovel, and don’t ever wander off on foot. Be safe!
41. Look Both Ways
This was 13 years ago. I was skateboarding with some buddies at a busy shopping center. A few minutes before leaving, we were waiting at a crosswalk to cross the street. One of my friends takes off running across the crosswalk, and my other buddies follow suit. So, I took off as well. I was not even paying attention to the light, but the lane crossing the crosswalk was on a green light.
My two friends in front were in the clear, but myself and one of my other friends were both hit by a U-Haul truck (yes really, trust me I got chaffed for YEARS about getting hit by a huge, bright orange truck) going probably 40-45mph. My friend in front of me didn’t get hit too bad. I got hit square in the chest. I had no clue at the time what had happened.
I was running, then I was on the ground in a daze, with no pain, and I even got up and instinctually ran back to the sidewalk that I had come from. No clue I’d been hit by a truck, I was more just like what in the heck just happened. A nurse that was at the light came and helped me; she told me what had happened and helped me stay calm. She asked if I was having trouble breathing. I was, but it was attributed to me having asthma. Later, I found out it was because both of my lungs were punctured.
Anyways, the ambulance shows up. I’m holding up very well, no clue why. I was kind of just thinking okay, I must have gotten super lucky. I’m conscious, talking fine, no biggie. They only had one bed in the ambulance, so my buddy was lying on it, and I was sitting hunched over on the bench for the ride (I wish I was joking).
We get to the hospital, and I try to pull myself up to get out of the ambulance. And I can’t, my shoulders hurt way too bad. The EMS guys tell me I probably dislocated my shoulder and that I’ll just have to get it popped in and before I know it, I’ll be back home. Once inside, WE GET PUT IN THE WAITING ROOM. No, I am not joking. We had skateboards with us, and the desk people had no clue. They assumed we just fell on our skateboards or something.
So, I’m still feeling pretty good, other than some sore shoulders, just chilling there watching Wheel of Fortune. All of a sudden, I start feeling super clammy and disoriented. I remember hearing my mom screaming, “HE’S GOING INTO SHOCK,” and then next thing I know I’m being wheeled down a bunch of hallways. It was like in shows where it’s a blur of those florescent lights just flashing overhead one at a time.
I start having severe pain. Like the worst pain you could imagine. But I can’t be given any painkillers yet, because I have to go through a bunch of tests first. I’d assume these tests should have been done right when I got there, but what do I know. The one I really remember is having to be picked up off of the bed and put onto one of the machines that required me to be on my back.
They had people grab each corner of the sheet from the bed that I was on to move me onto it. I remember it kind of squishing my shoulders inward a bit and holy moly, that was the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Anyways, after a ton of tests, it’s found out that both of my lungs are punctured. Both of my collar bones are snapped in half. Broken ribs. Cracked sternum. Concussion. The works. I ended up spending the next couple weeks in the ICU.
They didn’t have any hospital beds open for me at the time so I actually ended up being transferred to a children’s hospital. It was freaking sweet. People came and sang to me and brought me teddy bears and stuff. And I was just jacked up on morphine watching Lord of Rings all the time. But yeah, it was a pretty tough recovery, and I went from just hanging out with a smile on my face to a scary place really quickly.
I went to a world-renowned clavicle specialist at Duke Medical for my collar bones. He normally had an insanely long wait list, but apparently when he found out that I broke both at the same time he was willing to see me ASAP. He told me that he’d only ever had a few patients that broke both at the same time, because the force required to do so almost always resulted in death.
Eventually I got better; a full recovery. I was a bit of a hypochondriac for a while though, and was scared to cross the street…
42. 100 Feet Underwater
Decades ago, I was 100 feet underwater on a scuba dive in the Mediterranean Sea. The ‘octopus’ is a rubber piping that connects your breather to your air tank. The pressure gauge on my octopus collapsed under the pressure – it had been badly maintained, and I started to inhale water instead of air. I switched to my second breather but of course, that was leaking in massive amounts of water too.
So, I’m now drowning. My dive buddy was a beginner. I was supposed to be looking after him, as opposed to him looking after me, but he swam off without doing the thing where you look back on your buddy every now and again. I’m thinking If I shoot to the surface, I’ll get the bends and die. If I stay down here, I die. I’ve no chance of reaching my buddy to get a go on his oxygen.
By now, I’m oxygen depleted completely. There’s nothing left to do than inhale water. Drowning isn’t peaceful. It’s terrifying, a bit like being on fire. Your vision narrows, like looking down a tube, and your brain stops thinking about anything other than get the heck out of here. So, I’m flapping, screaming inside my head, and decide that shooting to the surface is the best option. I inflate by BCD, the inflatable jacket you wear, dump my weight belt and up I go.
Then I feel something pulling me down. I look around and see a guy, another diver holding onto me and doing everything he can to pull me back down, and see he’s also deflating my BCD. “He’s trying to drown you!” is how my brain reads it. So, I decide to pull his mask off so he’ll be distracted and let me go. As I reach for his mask, I make eye contact with him, and that instant, in my utterly blind panic by that point, the eye contact brings me right back to my senses.
I reach for his spare breather, suck in sweet, sweet air, and my vision immediately returns and I become rational again. We surfaced together, after spending some time at the required depth to make sure pressurization stopped us from getting the bends. Turns out, he was the guy who’d been responsible for kit maintenance.
Looking at the rubber octopus afterwards, the crack in it had likely been caused by him not rinsing it after dives and then being left in the sun, meaning salt and heat caused the rubber to deteriorate. The massive water pressure eventually caused it to collapse. It was difficult to decide whether to thank him or ream him out. So, I had a beer, smoked half a dozen cigarettes and thought about my life, instead.
43. Baleful Brook
I was maybe 13 or 14 years old. A friend and I were hanging out near a really fast running brook that was swollen due to massive rain falls a day before. We jumped in thinking it would be fun to ride the current, get out a couple hundred feet away and do it again. We realized quickly that getting to the bank and climbing out was not an option.
We wound up finally having a chance of escape about 2 miles away where there was a bridge. The current could have sucked us down under the overpass but we got lucky instead. We had been treading water for what felt like an eternity taking breaks by grabbing trees for rest periods. I’ll never forget it and have made sure to teach my two boys the dangers of rapidly running water. Got lucky that day.
44. A Matter of Inches
Not my mistake, but it did almost kill me. A friend was driving my car up to a lake where we were going to hike, and he thought it would be funny to do a little swerve maneuver to spook everyone in the car. We spun all the way around, and had to start the car again. Everyone was fine and it was kind of funny in the moment, but on our way back up the hill we saw our own tracks, and the back wheel of my car was maybe an inch from the edge of the cliff.
Had we gone any further we’d have rolled down a steep cliffside and into a river below…
45. The Dangers of Photobombing
Okay. This happened about 5 years ago (I’m almost 18 now). I was with my family and we’d gone to a waterfall (in Karnataka, India). I was with my immediate family, cousins, the lot. At the top before the waterfall, it is common practice there for people to sit and soothe their legs in the pools (the bottom was rocky and the banks weren’t nice there).
We planned to take selfies. Now remember, what do 13-year-olds like to do? That’s right, photobomb. I tried to get behind one of my cousin’s heads and do the horn thingy. Well let’s just say it didn’t go as it planned. I slipped and fell. As if by instinct, I held on at the literal edge of the waterfall. Half my body was down and half was up grasping for anything to hold onto.
Water was flowing over me. It was a good 100ft drop mind you, and a certain death (rocky bottom). Anyway, other people that were there formed a man-chain and pulled me out.
46. A Quick Fix
A lady we met through some other people had a brother-in-law who attempted suicide. He was afraid of germs (germophobe). He’d lock himself in hotel bathrooms and not tell anyone where he was, because he knew they’d pull him out. He’d do it at home. It was a nightmare for his family. Anyway, the guy ended up shooting himself in the head with a 9mm in a hotel bathroom.
The people in the room next to him called the cops. He was still alive. Not only did he live, but the bullet passed through his brain and destroyed whatever it was that made him afraid of germs. He’s better off, but speaks and thinks kind of slower from what I heard.
47. The Nice Driver
I drove a stranger to Walmart so he could buy his younger brother a copy of Resident Evil 5; it was also 10 degrees out and he was on a bicycle. We chatted for a while about our lives, like how he doesn’t have a dad and neither do I, and how we both live pretty poor lives. He told me he was going to buy his mom a mansion after he made a million dollars.
I told him I believed in him and that he could do it. He said I was the only guy who’d ever believed in anything he said, and that I was the nicest guy he’d ever met. I dropped him off at Walmart, and went back to my job. I come to find out from the state cop who’s stationed up the road that the kid was wanted for 10 counts of carjacking and 1 count of gun crime. He could’ve pulled a piece on me but he didn’t.
I guess that wasn’t really an accident, but I never expected the dude would be a criminal or anything so it was just pretty naive. I lived though.
48. Pass the Pea Shooter
Early on in my law enforcement career, I was ridiculously naïve and excited to show off my sidearm to whoever showed interest, even with people whom didn’t seem to care, I’d flaunt it. I would jump at the chance to unholster my shiny .38sp and hand it over to anybody who eyed it up on my hip. I was cool and felt incredible whenever the piece was on my hip, even more when noticed.
One fine evening, a complete stranger, nice enough, asked a few questions about my revolver from the counter at the station. Without hesitation I grabbed it out and handed it over to him without unloading it. I was confident enough this complete stranger, my newest bud, would definitely have experience handling weapons, having made a sound character judgment in less than two minutes.
Within seconds I realized he had absolutely no experience with a firearm due to being muzzle swept twice with his finger on the trigger of a loaded pea shooter. Saying, “Wow it’s a lot heavier than I thought!” I gasped quietly as I pooped a little, then sighed with relief when I gingerly coerced him into handing the piece back to me.
I later lost it when I found out he was a parolee signing in as part of his conditions of release.
49. The Runaway
I passed out in the woods after running from the cops. I was at a party in college and decided I was done, so I started walking home. I got like half a mile from campus when a cop pulled over to talk to me (It was like 3 AM and I couldn’t walk in a straight line on the sidewalk). My instant drunk reaction to seeing the blue lights was to bolt into the woods at full speed.
Naturally, I can’t see what obstacles are in my way, so at some point, I had tried to either climb a fence, or ran through thorn bushes. Eventually, I ran headfirst into a tree and fell down. I had probably the most absurd thought I’ve ever had… “If I hold my breath the cops can’t see where I am.” So, I did that and passed out while lying on my back in the woods.
I woke up a few hours later as the sun was coming up, and realized I had shredded my clothes. My face/arms looked like I had been attacked by an animal with all the scratches—the worst one being a vertical cut that went lengthwise down the interior of my forearm, starting at my wrist. This was 12 years ago and I can still see the scar from that particular cut; the rest have healed and faded but that one is still prominent.
Had that been a little deeper, I have no doubt I would have bled out while lying on the ground in the woods (If I didn’t already die from alcohol poisoning). There were probably 3 or 4 things that should have killed me that night but didn’t.
50. Pick of Destiny
I was 17 years old, driving down country roads at like 2 am with a friend. We had just left the movies seeing The Pick of Destiny. We went and bought the soundtrack right after and we were blasting the CD. I was driving like a maniac. My car was older, so the speedometer only read up to 85 but it was pinned the whole time.
I didn’t see a turn and there was about an 8 ft drop off right next to the road. We jumped over it and ended up in the middle of a field. After we calmed down, we went and looked at what we flew through. My car had split right between 2 trees, hitting either one would’ve killed us both; we didn’t have seat belts on.