Humans are the rational animal, right?
Wrong. People can be really, really stupid at times. So stupid, in fact, that we have all probably experienced at least a few moments where someone has made us pause, do a double take, and ask ourselves if what we think just happened really did happen. Whether it was something someone said or something they did, all we can do in these moments is just sit back and wonder if they could really be that stupid.
Here are 42 of people’s best and most memorable “Are you really that stupid?” moments.
42. Can You Feel the Stupidity Tonight?
A few years ago, I was traveling in Kenya and a few of us shelled out for a safari. Our guide was great and at one point said all the names for the animals in Swahili—simba is lion, for example.
An American tourist then asked, “Did you always call them that, or did you decide to change it after The Lion King came out?”
I really wanted to apologize to the tour guide at that moment, who had to respond with respect to that guy.
41. Foreign Policy
During a really long car trip with my parents, we were discussing countries we’d like to visit someday. My mother said she’d like to visit Japan to see the Great Wall of China.
My dad and I don’t let her forget that comment.
40. That Would Be a Stupid Emergency
We were in the car and an ambulance passed us with the lights on. My friend turned to me with a very serious look on her face and asked, “If you were a blind and deaf driver, how would you know to pull over for an ambulance?”
This became my senior yearbook quote.
39. A Hostile Atmosphere
My grandpa’s cleaning lady was making fun of me for believing that the ozone layer exists. She laughed out loud at me and said, “Then how do the rockets take off from Earth without crashing into it?”
She continued to laugh and make fun of me for it for a good ten minutes straight. I was so baffled that I just let her go on.
38. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
My family and I were watching a program on TLC about cavemen. There were actors dressed up like cavemen doing caveman things, as the narrator explained the scientific theories of what they thought their lives were like.
My sister was just in awe watching this. Mouth slightly open, eyes open wide. During a commercial break, she asked the room, “How did they get the cameras back then?”
We will never let her forget that she said that.
37. Crash Landing
I was once making small talk with an acquaintance and mentioned that I’d flown out to visit my family in Korea over the summer. She got this smug grin on her face and said, “You can’t fly to Korea, it’s an island!”
36. Astronomically Stupid
“Stephen Hawking is British? But he doesn’t have an accent!”
Said by me, unfortunately.
The biological mom of our former foster son, talking to his court-appointed lawyer, said that we didn’t need to worry about taking our kid to the doctor because “All babies get ear infections.”
She had zero idea that he could suffer from hearing loss if she ignored them enough times, not to mention how miserable he felt.
34. Prefix Trouble
When someone said their food was too hot, a friend suggested putting it in the microwave on defrost to cool it down. I guess he figured anything with frost in its name automatically meant cold…
33. Identity Crisis
An employee was looking through the box where we kept the nametags and asked: “Which one is my nametag?”
32. Tea Time
This middle-aged woman I work with at a fast food place was drinking a glass of super sweet tea when these words came out of her mouth:
“My doctor said that I may have diabetes. I don’t understand how, I never eat sugar!”
31. Good Intentions
“You should get off your tablet while it’s storming outside. Lighting can travel through the Wi-Fi and shock you!”
Said by my mother, who is great but does not understand modern technology at all…
30. Long-Term Investment
I watched my friend stand there and do ten separate ATM transactions in a row, taking out $200 in several $20 increments. I asked him why he was doing it that way and whether he was aware of the $2.50 transaction fees he was collecting by doing that.
My friend’s response was “It all adds up in the long run!”
I don’t know what he thought was going to “add up” by doing this, but he clearly didn’t understand that it would be his bill…
29. What’s in a Name?
When working at Taco Bell, I once had a guy at the drive-thru ask if we sell tacos.
All I could say was “Let me check…”
28. To Thine Own Self Be True
Someone once asked me and my twin sister if we ever mistake ourselves for the other one. I like to think she was joking, but I don’t think she was.
27. Chicken Tartare
I’ve been a cook for 15 years. One time, a server asked me to rush a chicken breast through because she forgot to ring it in. I said, “Ok, it will be a few minutes though, it’s still a bit raw.”
“Just give it to me, it’s fine,” she says. I tell her I don’t feel like giving anyone salmonella poisoning today and she will have to wait.
Her jaw drops and her face turns red. She rather belligerently shouts that she’s losing tip money because of me, then adds “Besides, people don’t get salmonella from chicken, they get it from salmon. You’re a cook, you should know that by now.”
Every person in that room did the slow neck-turn of “What did I just hear??” and just stared at her.
26. Smart Phones
Phone Customer: “Can I pay with cash over the phone?”
25. Central America
A girl in my geography class thought that North Korea was in the center of the US and that that’s why we have so many problems with them.
My main concern was that I was in the same school district as her for all 12 years, and I wondered how the same system that worked for me had completely failed to work for her.
24. Mrs. Potato Head
A girl in my class didn’t know that chips were made from potatoes. When asked if the huge potatoes on the bags didn’t give it away, she said she thought that was only for design. She also added that she never reads the ingredients list, because she doesn’t have time for that.
23. Everyone Poops
I work at an animal shelter and a woman asked me if we had any dogs that didn’t poop. I told her no, all dogs poop.
That’s when she asked about cats…
22. E Pluribus Unum
I once had considerable trouble explaining to a coworker that Africa is a huge continent with dozens of countries in it, and not just a single small country. They refused to believe me and thought I was playing some kind of joke on them.
21. Broaden Your Horizons
Someone once said to my dad “Did you know the human eye can only see 26 miles? Because that’s how far away the horizon is!”
My dad instantly came back with “I didn’t know the moon was only 26 miles away!”
She was stunned…
20. Greece Monkey
During a color war trivia game at summer camp, we were asked to name places where the Olympics have been held. Someone mentioned Athens, and the girl next to me started to lose her mind laughing. I asked her why and she responded: “Isn’t Athens that place from Harry Potter?”
19. Eating Your Greens
“Oh, I didn’t know we had avocados!”, said my college roommate after he pulled a bag of zucchini out of the fridge.
Someone tried to convince me that the sun is not a star, because it’s the sun and it can’t be two things at once.
17. Autumn Leaves
A guy at my high school asked a biology teacher if humans could photosynthesize. When told that we don’t, he responded: “But how come when I go out in the sun my skin turns brown?”
Cute, right? Actually, he was 18…
16. Hamming It Up
A surprising amount of people in my life have thought that ham comes from its own animal and has nothing to do with pigs. At least two of those people had this conversation with me while eating a ham sandwich, after claiming that they don’t eat pork.
15. The Question Heard Round the World
During World History class in high school, this girl seriously asked how we won the American Revolution when the Germans had airplanes.
I had to remember to breathe.
14. Internationally Stupid
When visiting the United States, someone was asking me about all the cultural differences we have in my country—including the question “Do girls in your country get their periods?”
13. Survival of the Fittest
A friend was totally confident he would be able to survive a plane crash because of his tuck and roll technique. He was 100% sober.
12. The Time Travel Loophole
My friend thought that, due to time zone differences between the US and the UK, you could place a bet in the UK on an NFL game that had happened in the US and cheat the system because it hadn’t happened yet in the UK.
11. Cooking With Gas
A friend of mine once said, “I’m not worried about the price of gas going up, I only ever put $20 in at a time anyway!”
10. Historically Challenged
I was on a school trip to Germany and we visited a local casino. One kid asked, “Do the Native Americans run the casinos here too?”
I almost fell over.
9. Road Trip
A colleague of mine refused to believe me when I said that you can’t drive to Africa from America.
8. The Pains of Childbirth
Someone in high school thought that babies were born out of women’s butts. Yes, she thought women actually pooped out babies…
7. Don’t Buffalo Me
My mother came up to me while I was eating some buffalo wings and asked: “Is it real buffalo?”
6. Weathering the Stupid Storm
I was out for dinner one time with a group of colleagues from summer camp. One of the girls was staring outside, then looked back at us and said “isn’t it amazing that it’s raining all around the world right now? I mean like, it’s raining in Rome right now.”
She literally thought that when it rained in one place, it rained all around the globe simultaneously. It’s mind-boggling. Local weather stations? Nope, never heard of ‘em. Different climates? Heck nope.
I lost contact with this weather-goddess a few years ago but I still see my other friends a couple times a year. No matter what the weather is, we reference this quote.
5. The Customer is Always Wrong
I had a customer yell at me that the two donuts they were purchasing were supposed to be Buy-One-Get-One-Free, instead of half price, which was the discount I’d given. I had to explain how 1/2 + 1/2 was 1. He never understood it—just sneered “Whatever” at me and had me cancel the order.
4. Planning Ahead
A girl I know got a nose job. When I complimented her on her new look, she said: “I didn’t do it for me—I just didn’t want my kids to be born with big noses.”
3. Familiar Face
I knew a couple in my hometown. They got drunk one night and decided to drive home anyway. They get pulled over, their car gets impounded, and the boyfriend gets taken to jail for a DUI.
The officers decide to drive the girl home. She gets home, gets in her car, and drives to the police station to pick her boyfriend up. The officers notice that it’s the same girl they just drove home and they arrest her for drinking and driving.
2. To Be Fair, TV Is Pretty Complicated
A girl my dad dated for a while. Even while dating her, my dad would say she was dumber than a bag of rocks.
One day, she sat down to watch a movie with my dad. The movie was all about this guy and his twin brother. She sits and watches the whole thing, no interruptions. At the end, she turns and asks, “So there were two of him?”
That would explain why she always had the TV turned to a music channel. Apparently, she couldn’t follow normal TV or movies.
1. Like Mother, Like Daughter
My first year of college I met a girl and we became fairly close. She lived nearby so we’d spend time with her family for free meals and whatnot. One day, we’re sitting in her living room with her mother, and besides the obvious 20 year age gap, they looked nearly identical.
Discussing getting into the bars, my friend says, “Mom, I’ll just use your ID and they won’t even notice. We look the same.” I tell her that won’t work, her mother’s ID says her birth year and my friend most definitely does not look 40.
My friend’s mother thinks for a minute and says, “Oh, I have an old ID from when I was 21, you could use that one.” My friend agrees and they talk about how smart their plan is… they were both equally stumped when I reminded them that just because she got the ID when she was 21 doesn’t mean the birth date would be any different.