Smart People Do Stupid Things Too

October 15, 2023 | Mae Stanley

Smart People Do Stupid Things Too

Every once in a while, people do things that aren’t that smart. Maybe they just act without thinking or they simply lacked the knowledge to begin with. Silly mistakes are always funnier when the person doing them is usually an intellectual overachiever. Read on for some prime examples of smart people doing things that...aren’t so smart.

1. Just Listen

My friends and I were playing one of those games where you had to answer as many clues as you could in a set time. We were playing men versus women and it was my turn to read the questions and have the guys try to answer. I don't remember the clue precisely, but the answer was "Panama". The guys are shouting "Panama" over and over again and I keep telling them "Nope. Try again!"

Eventually, time expires and I start laughing, and exclaim, "The answer was Pa-NAM-a!" I read the word with the emphasis on the wrong syllable in my head and, despite them saying it over and over again, it never registered for me that they'd been correct the entire time. It’s been years, they haven't let me live it down yet.


2. I Have A Degree In Architecture, Not English

I work at a prestigious architecture firm, my (highly educated) colleague was tasked with putting mail into the mailbox. She asked me where it is and what it looks like. "Around the corner, and it's a red box". Turns out, there is another red box marked "GENERAL WASTE" approximately two meters away from a red box that spells out "AUSTRALIA POST".

We found out that she'd been throwing away mail for months when another colleague was tasked with finding out why none of our clients were receiving invoices.

Smart People Stupid FactsMax Pixel

3. He’s Brilliant, Just Not Always

My husband is one of those who barely passed high school just because he got bored of not being challenged. I would confidently assume he’s the most successful out of his class. He just built us my dream home. He both designed and built it. We both work in construction, in supervisory roles, and I know we know how things work.

He’s  6’4” and strong as an ox. I didn’t think he could do ALL THE THINGS but he can. And he did them great. He can fix anything. It blows my mind. And financially he’s a genius. Which is humbling. I have an MBA. I manage companies’ money, but I can’t manage my own. I give him my paycheck. Let him deal. He’s really smart about everything. That just makes this next part so much more ludicrous.

All. The. Time. He’ll ask me for something. And I’ll say it’s in such and such location. He’ll go look. It’s not there. I tell him I’m sure it is but maybe check other location. It could be there. It’s not there. Every. Single. Time. I get up. It’s at the first location. Exactly where I said. Front and center. Is it dumb? Is it lazy? I don’t know but it makes me irrationally irritated.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

4. I Hope The Plumber Didn’t Charge

My brother-in-law is a pretty clever guy. Ran a bath for his kid, couldn't get the tap to turn off, mad panic, rang a plumber friend asking him to come round quick or the house is going to flood. Friend was like, you could just pull the plug and let the tub drain that way? Real nice, real clever guy. Zero common sense.

Queen Maria Sophie FactsShutterstock

5. Who Told Her This?

I was picking up my date (future wife) when her valedictorian roommate turned quickly away from the TV and said in all seriousness, “Don’t look, they’re welding! It will damage your eyes". She got more serious as I continued to look back and forth at the TV, despite her warnings. She actually yelled, “It’s going to blind you!”

I then asked her “So when your TV is showing an image of the sun…” That’s as far as I got. You could see the wave of embarrassment wash over her face. She immediately started laugh/crying and begged me not to tell anyone.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

6. You Don’t Make Friends With Salad

I have a friend who did something without thinking. He is/was overweight and on a diet. We stopped at some place to get lunch and he gets a side of pea salad (same as potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad—one main ingredient with a boatload of mayo and some cheese). I asked him politely if he was still working on his diet.

He was super confused by this. I then point at the big cup of pea salad and point out that it was basically half mayonnaise which is super high in calories. He responds, “I mean, it’s a salad, right?” I’m not the model of health or anything, but I do know you can’t eat copious amounts of mayo on a diet.

Smart People Stupid FactsWikimedia Commons

7. It Probably Wasn’t Worth It

My dad, the professor, got his mortgage down to $20,000 and had the money to pay it all. Instead, he redrew and bought a brand-new car. He then totaled the car. He bought another brand-new car. He gave it to his girlfriend at the time. His girlfriend left him and kept the car. He currently owes $250,000 on his same mortgage.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

8. Some People Peak In High School

My brother’s friend was high school valedictorian. In college, he gathered up deer turds to play a practical joke on his roommate by putting said deer turds into a box of coco puffs cereal. Two days later he forgets about the deer turds and goes to pour himself a bowl of coco puffs. Instead of nice, sugary cereal, he gets a spoonful of deer turds.

Kendrick Lamar factsPiqsels

9. Emergencies Can’t Wait

My dad is a software engineer and pretty smart. When my twin and I were about 7 he was the only one home with us when he started coughing up blood. Most people would be deeply concerned by this. Except he didn't tell anyone and decided to just wait for my mom to get home instead of getting someone else to look after us and going to the hospital.

My mom was so mad when she got home and he casually mentioned the coughing up blood thing. It ended up being even worse than she feared. Turned out he had bronchopneumonia and had to spend a couple weeks in the hospital. Even had to have his heart stopped and started again. He almost lost his life because he decided coughing up blood wasn't an emergency.

Doctors how did they happenShutterstock

10. At Least He Can Follow Directions

We were getting ready for dinner one night and we're kind of in a rush to get it done. Whatever we were making, it required bread. Well, the only bread we had was frozen at the time so we had to quickly defrost it. So, my mother randomly yelled for my oldest brother—who happens to be the smartest out of all of us—to go get it from the freezer and bring it to the kitchen.

He delivered the frozen bread to the kitchen and our mom had her hands full so she told him, “Take the bread tie off and put it in the microwave". So, he takes the tie off and puts it in the microwave and sets it to defrost. This is where it gets good. Not even 30 seconds later he starts saying, "Uh, mom! The bread tie's on fire!" Turns out my brother thought "it" meant the bread tie and not the frozen loaf of bread. He didn’t even stop to question why.

Wild Office DramaPexels

11. Birds Of A Feather

I dropped a friend off at work—he works the graveyard shift at a hospital. One night he left his phone in the car and I didn't realize until I got back home. I sent him a text letting him know he left his phone in my car. I sent him a couple more texts before I realized that he's not going to see it. I contemplated going in but I couldn’t because of the current situation.

The next day he told me that after he realized he didn't have it at work, he had thought, “Well, I'll just text him to let him know I left my phone in his car". It’s like we take our phones for granted nowadays.

Lost Respect FactsUnsplash

12. That’s One Way To Do It

My dad had one of his ears pierced when he was in college. He went to a party wearing an earring where a girl started talking to him and decided to give him one of her earrings. But he didn't want to take his earring out, so he shoved her earring through his unpierced earlobe. This man is now a very well-respected engineer.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

13. At Least He Had One

My ex-roommate takes the cake on this. This guy is very intelligent. Taught himself how to code and works for a gigantic tech company, probably has a pretty high IQ but he had absolutely zero common sense. He put a shower curtain and liner in his shower as one does. But he didn’t know the liner had to be inside the tub.

His girlfriend noticed water dripping from the ceiling in the kitchen, which was directly underneath his bathroom. This was after like 4-5 months of no liner protection. Did he not notice the puddle of water on the floor after every shower? He never explained what he had thought the shower liner was for.

Jeff Goldblum factsFlickr

14. Soap Is For Cleaning

My best friend is a researcher for "space stuff" at a top university in the United States and is getting her PhD and master’s simultaneously. She has several computer/science/math degrees and graduated with honors. She’s the smartest person a lot of people know. I’m very proud of her. That being said her list of common-sense abilities is rather…low.

I’ve had to explain to her exactly WHY picking up hitchhikers is a no no. Why hiking along trails alone in deep woods alone is dangerous. But there was one incident that truly takes the cake. It happened when we were freshmen in college. We went to different colleges several hours and different states away but talked weekly.

She calls me saying her clothes stink and she had washed them several times without wearing them. I ask what kind of detergent she’s using and she says Tide. I say that it’s probably from the washing machines since they’re never cleaned and to get some vinegar and pour it in there. She agrees and says, “Maybe I should also use detergent more often".

Wait…WHAT?! I sputtered out into uncontrollable sobs of laughter listening to the smartest person I know not knowing how soap works. You actually have to use laundry detergent EVERY SINGLE TIME you wash clothes and that’s why they stink. As a child, she thought her parents were just being “frivolous” using it every time.

I asked her what she thought it was really for and she thought it was to keep the washing machine clean and was terribly upset that her detergent budget had increased after I told her.

Nurses Worst Work FactsPxHere

15. Just A Truly Terrible Choice

Where we are, you don’t mess with jellyfish. They mess you up. My partner, who has a post-graduate degree, civil engineer, super-rational, smart, measured, and is not at all impulsive human being was walking along the water’s edge at the start of jellyfish season and sees a mass in the water. “That looks like a jellyfish".

He then proceeds to kick the mass. Toe connects with mass. “Oh wow. It was a rock". Having gotten over my amazement at the stupidity I just witnessed, I pocketed the rock. Gave it to him as a congratulations for his amazing career promotion, just to remind him he is not immune to errors of judgment.

Never Told Stories factsShutterstock

16. People Like Him Are The Reason He Has A Job

My dad is the smartest person I (and anyone who knows him) know and once when we were kids, he tried to make us laugh by sticking peas in his nostrils and ended up accidentally snorting them up into his nasal passages. But want to hear the best part? He’s an ear, nose, and throat surgeon. One of the best in the region. I can still hear him pleading with my mother to take them out because he couldn’t face his colleagues with peas up his nose that he voluntarily put there.

Smart People Stupid FactsUnsplash

17. Technically He Wasn’t Wrong

I did my undergrad with a guy who aced his MCAT with an almost perfect score, but he fell ill after consuming what he suspected to be a spoiled hot pocket. He thought it was an off-brand hot pocket, microwaved it for a minute or however long you usually cook a hot pocket for and chowed down. I guess he was just too hungry to read the package.

He ate it so fast he didn’t really question why it was so slimy, or you know, still frozen. Only halfway through did he realize that it was one of those individually packaged breaded and stuffed chicken  that was frozen. He’s a surgeon now.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Pexels

18. The Beeping Means It’s Working

My sister, my wonderful sister, is so intelligent, so educated…but dang did she mess up BIG on this one. They had their house inspected and the inspector found an issue with their gas heat and told them to get it fixed immediately. Called in a repairman and it turns out they were having low levels of carbon monoxide leaking into their home.

When my mom asked her why she didn’t have several working detectors she answered, “Well I did, but one just wouldn’t quit beeping so I got rid of them". This was 10 years ago and we still bring it up all the time. Thankfully everyone turned out to be ok, but that wouldn’t have been the case much longer.

Embarrassing Stories FactsUnsplash

19. There Is Nothing Correct About This

My dad’s an actuary. Which is basically a cross between a mathematician and an economist. He even wrote a textbook for his field, and has been CEO of several very large companies. I came home many years ago to hear Age of Empires blaring at a million decibels. That’s odd. I wander downstairs to find him playing the game, with headphones on...but unplugged.

He had the sound turned up on the speakers because he couldn't hear it over the dampening of the headphones. To top it off, he had the headphones on backward. To this day, it still makes me smirk.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

20. Everything Is Different In Hong Kong

My buddy works in IT, has for over 20 years. He went on a work trip to Hong Kong in which I took care of his apartment while he was gone. We met up at a restaurant when he came back in order for him to retrieve his keys from me and buy me dinner and drinks as a thank you for watering his plants and feeding his pet snake while he was gone.

While we were eating, he showed me these intricate photos of what he did while on his trip, pics of him wiring machines and a brief description of him trying to tell me what he was doing over there (I was somewhat impressed at his knowledge on the subject). Anyways a few days have passed when he insisted I gave him the wrong keys back, that he couldn’t lock or unlock his apt door.

So, I met him at his place and had to reteach him how to use his keys on his apt door. ????. I most certainly gave him the correct keys and he just forgot how to use them.

La Toya Jackson FactsShutterstock

21. It Goes On The Front

The owner of the company I work for is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. If you know someone who has had a hip replacement, odds are he is the one that engineered it. He owns something like 15-20 patents on products he has designed. He has created company after company and sold them after sweeping through whatever market.

He does have some blind spots. One day he came to me and asked what side of the envelope the stamp goes on. He had never mailed anything before because his mom and then his wife took care of everything for him.

I’m Outta Here FactsShutterstock

22. Who Caves To Peer Pressure At 50?

I have a remarkably intelligent, talented, and sensitive friend. He's well-educated, an accomplished musician, very knowledgeable about practical stuff like car repairs and investments and plumbing and programming and carpentry and cooking. He is a very, very hard worker. Exercises and eats properly. Has probably never been more than 5 pounds over his ideal weight.

He is in his mid-60s. Around the age of 50, he started enjoying the luxury of a gentlemen's pastime to enhance his image. Did the whole thing of practicing in front of a mirror. He lights up once or maybe twice a day, with a drink in the evening. But who in the world starts to light up at 50?

man sitting on chair beside tableAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

23. Not All Math Is Equal

My friend is really good at math. She literally minored in it for fun. One day, we were walking along, and she said, "Guys, I saw something on Facebook this morning—we're only 81 years from the year 3000". (This was in 2019). I thought she was making fun of the silly Facebook people. Then she said, "Isn't that crazy?"

And then I realized that my friend who enjoyed calculus...genuinely thought that 2019+81=3000. I had to break it to her gently. I will never let her live it down.

Awkward Moments FactsShutterstock

24. It’s Better Than No Call

My mother: Oxford mathematics graduate with no parental leg up shall we say (aka not from a posh family or anything). Had her IQ tested officially in a proctored exam and got 163. She was a Mensa member until she realized what kind of person joins Mensa. This woman CANNOT understand time zones. Which is ironic because her family lives in Australia, Hong Kong, the UK, and the east and west coast of America.

She never knows when it’s appropriate to be calling anyone and you may get a random call from her at 3 AM. But we love her anyway.

Multiple Time Zone ClocksGetty Images

25. Laundry Is Very Technical

Had a roommate who was working on their PhD in psychology get mad at me for leaving the washer on the hot water setting. She was upset because she didn’t think she could get her jeans to stretch back out to fit her. When I said they’re cotton so they should stretch back she said, “They’re denim not cotton!” Denim is made of cotton.

I even asked her to check the tag but her thumb was covering the 1 so she said, “They’re 00% cotton!” Eventually, I got her to move her thumb. The look on her face was priceless. Really nice roommate and a lovely person. She finished her PhD just fine and I’m sure she’s a great psychologist just not the best at laundry.

Cruel Betrayals factsPexels

26. Karma Gets You In The End

I have a grandfather who was an extremely talented crook who used to rob store safes. One time he robbed a safe while posing as an inspector without even being noticed. He eventually turned himself in after starting a family (having my mom) then summarily escaped from incarceration, and managed to create a fake identity with a loophole that has now been closed.

He lived with a fake last name for several years until he was eventually caught. However, he managed to negotiate for a pardon by explaining the loophole he used to create his fake name (It was either the mayor or the governor, I forget). He went free and got a job as a maintenance guy. Then he retired and gave all of his money to a scam televangelist and now lives in poverty.

Secrets FactsWallpaper Flare

27. All It Takes Is Elbow Grease

My roommate did three years of mechanical engineering before deciding he didn’t like it. He’s almost finished an accounting degree now and barely put any effort in. The guy is extremely smart. We’re doing dishes together one day (he is brilliant but absolutely never cleans up after himself or does any dishes or other chores).

When drying a stainless-steel pot, he says to me, “Man, I think we need some new pots soon, the bottom of all of them is wrecked". I look into the pot in his hands and notice some water spots/calcium buildup and clean it in 3 seconds with steel wool. This genius actually thought the pot was ruined and was ready to throw it out over water spots/calcium.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

28. One Wrong Choice Is All It Takes

The smartest guy I ever met was in high school actually. When you think of the phrase “photographic memory” he was a real-life example. Seemed like he knew everything because he read seemingly everything and kind of just absorbed all the information presented. He’d ace every test but never came to class. He put in zero effort and got amazing results.

He took the ACT hungover and scored a 36 (which is a perfect score for all you who don’t know). Literal genius in every sense. The dumbest thing he did was drop out of school. Had a full ride to anywhere he wanted. Now I think he works at a Walmart as a stocker. Best guy I ever knew.

Madonna FactsShutterstock

29. That’s Not My Job… Oh Wait

I got stuck with the awkward task of explaining the facts of life to my husband's little sisters because no one else in the family was willing to do it. I thought I did pretty well, giving them the basic information, with the help of an age-appropriate book, and then I asked if they had any questions. This is where it got real uncomfortable. One of the questions (quite reasonable since they were in middle school at the time) was if pregnancy could result from participating in a non-reproductive intimate act.

I said no and explained why it was impossible. And then they asked what actually happens to sperm when you swallow, and I was like, "Um, well, it goes into your stomach and gets, um, digested the way food does when you swallow food.".. They stared at me for what felt like eternity as they tried to wrap their little brains around this concept.

Then the younger one (I think she was 12 at the time) demanded in tones of absolute outrage, "Then what exactly does the girl even get out of it? VITAMINS?" When my husband came home that evening, I had a cup of untouched tea in front of me and a thousand-yard stare...My husband’s parents are biology teachers. Human biology teachers.

When I asked them about why they hadn’t had this conversation with their daughters, they explained that it made them feel awkward and they didn’t know the best way to approach the subject…so they just didn’t. Again, they taught biology for pay.

Raised a Monster FactsShutterstock

30. Computers Don’t Use Batteries?

My roommate was a PhD student in Computer Science. Brilliant guy. Explained to me how asymmetric cryptography works using a regular lock and key. He was also afraid of anything mechanical. One day I heard him talk over the phone about getting his car towed to a mechanic. I asked what the problem was, he said his car wouldn't start.

The mechanic said $70 to tow the car, $140 for a new battery, and $120 for labor. I told him if it is a battery problem, we can get one for $50-70, and I'll put it in for him. At first, he was like, "Are you sure you can do it..".. then he reluctantly agreed. We went to Walmart, got a battery for $55. When I got the car started, he was like a little kid, clapping his hands and saying, "Yaaay!"

He took me to dinner, and gave me a gift card. I said all I expected was a six pack, so next day he gave me a six pack. I miss him.

Creepy Experiences FactsUnsplash

31. That’s The Opposite Of What He Wanted

I dated a guy who was really pretty brilliant, in a brilliant savant kind of way. He knew all kinds of programming languages, he even quit his Big Name gaming company job to work on his own game. The contracts they have you sign say that whatever you create while under their employ belongs to them. But he had some mental health issues and some serious jealousy that would color his view of things.

Anyway, we broke up and part of my coping being bored left me making a dating profile. I included "lurker" in my username, set my stats as being like 6"8, bald, obese, and said explicitly in my profile that I wasn't actually looking for anyone. I was just looking. Made my profile "not searchable". A couple hours of browsing later, still having received a few inquiries, I decided I wasn't into it and tried to delete my profile.

They were like, "Can't delete until profile is active for 24 hours," so whatever. I went to bed. Still somehow got messages from the masses. Woke up the next morning to roughly 150 notifications. Turns out, my ex had tried to get revenge. He had hacked into my email, saw the welcome email from the dating website, and decided to get into that. He uploaded all the sexy pictures I had sent to him…

He changed my stats and made me discoverable via search. So, while he was all salty that I was scouting for men in his absence, he literally made my profile the most appealing thing ever and men would just fall into my lap. He really was a smart guy, but his emotions made him pull some stupid stuff.

Smart People Stupid FactsPexels

32. It’s Like Free Money

I'm a senior in engineering and I’m even being paid to do some fancy research that we hope will easily eradicate third world diseases. My dad has always managed my finances and never really taught me much. I just got a credit card and had a $500 limit. Spent $492 in a month and got confused when during the next calendar month after the statement, my credit card was still being declined.

I thought the limit reset every month regardless of if you paid your balance. It just made sense to me. When I called my dad asking why my credit card hadn't reset yet he laughed at me for a solid hour and told all his business partners. I laughed it off as being an engineer not a finance person like him but my lack of real-world experience with economics/money is also sad.

I'm a living case of why we should have useful life skills classes in high school...

They Can Never Get Over factsNeedpix

33. The Oven Makes Things Hot

My beautiful wife of seven years just finished up her masters in accounting. She roasted a chicken yesterday and as the timer rang, I yelled to her remember to use a hot pad to take the lid off the roaster pan, because like the pan, the lid handle is hot. I get a sarcastic "no duh" back from her. I watch, from a mirror with a good angle of her, as she takes the pan out with two hot pads on the side handles of the pan.

She then sets the pan on the stovetop, puts the hot pads back in the drawer...then grabs the handle on the lid of the pan. She burned her hand, dropped the lid to the floor loudly, and then ran to the living room to see if I was laughing. I was. Dumbest smart person I know. I love her.

Haunting Embarrassing Moments factsShutterstock

34. A Smart Man Admits When He’s Wrong

My SO was assigned a group project to write about how their major works in different countries of the world. My SO's group was assigned Africa. Yes, as in the continent of Africa. They tried to tell the professor that obviously Africa is not a country, but the professor was adamant. They eventually just decided to pick one country inside Africa to base the whole project on.

The professor gave them a hard time about it, talk about doubling down. The kicker...this was at HBCU. It’s a historically Black College/University with a renowned African Studies program.

Dumbest Patient FactsShutterstock

35. Videos Aren’t Peer-Reviewed

My older brother is super smart. He's been building PCs since he was a teenager in the early 90s. There's basically no job on a car he can't do, from changing gearboxes and engines to installing wiring looms. He also knows all about home DIY, including plumbing, electrics and carpentry. He’s the true definition of a renaissance man.

He has a master’s degree and owned his own lawyer’s practice when he was 33. He's one of those people I feel like could basically do anything he tried. ...but he doesn't believe Covid is a "big deal". He claims to have had it despite not having any test to prove that. He refuses to get the vaccination, and when we argued about this, he cited random videos.

He's been claiming things like, "Doctors are being paid to diagnose Covid". When I pressed him as to why governments and scientists would make such a big deal of it, he basically said it's just a way to control us—effectively saying that people are gullible for going along with a lockdown, and saying that track and trace is a big monitoring/spying kind of scheme.

He says all this stuff despite the fact that he voted for this government, and despite the fact that he's literally never cared about privacy and online tracking before. Honestly, when I had that discussion with him, it was one of the most frustrating conversations I've ever had. He's been my mentor and role model my whole life.

To hear him spouting this kind of nonsense was just so disappointing. It honestly felt like one of those "don't meet your heroes" kind of situations, except obviously I've met him before. Now I just don't want to discuss anything Covid with or around him, I just can't deal with that kind of frustration.

Smart People Stupid FactsPexels

36. To Be Fair, It Does Look That Way

My sister was top of her class wherever she went and went to one of the best colleges in the US. While touring one of the colleges, we saw a car with Alaskan license plates. She proceeded to ask how the car got to the continental US. Puzzled, my dad let her know they likely drove or got it delivered through a tow service.

My sister responded with, “How can you drive a car from an island?” Apparently, all these years looking at maps in school, my sister thought Alaska was an island near Hawaii.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

37. He Had The Best Of Intentions

I work with this dude, degrees coming out of his ears, speaks multiple languages fluently, smart as can be. I found him in our office one day scratching his head and looking at the laminator. Turns out, he'd wanted to laminate a sign, and when he pulled out the laminator film, he noticed it has a shiny side and a matte side.

He decided he wanted a matte finish so put his paper inside with the matte side facing out. Yeah, the matte side is the glue. He laminated the inside of the laminator. In the same week, he decided it would be rude to chuck his tuna tin straight in the trash and stink up the office for everyone so he rinsed it the emergency chem shower and triggered the fire suppression system on the whole floor.

Karma's a Witch FactsShutterstock

38. Make It Rain

Second largest oil company in the world hunted my friend for a decent position with fantastic pay. He refused because he didn’t like British weather and decided not to move. He then refused an offer from another large company with relocation to Moscow and then another with relocation to Siberia (that one I can understand).

He didn’t apply for a grant to move to Saudi Arabia for the same reason. It’s hard to grasp, given the opportunity I’d chase it with no second thoughts. He now writes lame articles about cybersports, barely earning minimum wage. He hates cybersports and always mocked people interested in cybersports. “The most likely to succeed” guy messed up all the chances he had because he didn’t feel like moving.

The last time I saw him I didn’t feel comfortable being around him, he had become a very unhappy person and I can’t help but to think he would have been happier in England, despite the rain.

Parenting Mistakes factsUnsplash

39. Questionable Choices

My father-in-law has multiple post-grad degrees in engineering and business. In addition to a career in finance, he's a former mechanic, a pilot and one of the handiest people I know. A few years ago, he was working on some project at the house and needed some trim paint. The paint he had wasn't sealed properly and had hardened.

He was sure that if he heated it, it would return to the proper consistency. So, he heated the metal the microwave. The microwave exploded and the door blew off about 20 feet across the kitchen and the living room. Thankfully he'd walked away to do something else rather than watch the paint in the microwave, so he wasn't decapitated even though he had acted like he was.

Nightmare Co-Workers factsWikimedia Commons

40. Play Terrible Games, Win Terrible Prizes

My dad is a chemist and a brilliant guy when it comes to chemistry, but once he makes up his mind on other things, he will rarely reverse course. To the point of us all thinking there is something seriously wrong with his head. He got very invested in a bunch of Covid conspiracies. My parents, who are known in the family for being one of the cutest, most in love couples around, are now getting divorced.

He started saying crazy things like viruses didn't exist at all. My mom, a doctor who treated covid patients the entire pandemic, saw many people die and lost two siblings. She would have to come home from the ICU and get gaslit by her husband every day until she just said enough was enough and left and understandably so.

Recently, he broke down and admitted the disturbing truth to me. While sobbing, he said that he just didn't like wearing masks and that he didn't believe most of what he said. He even got the vaccine without telling her so he could travel for work. I told him he got what he deserved and that he needed to get help. He probably won't.

Smart People Stupid FactsUnsplash

41. How DO You Light Fireworks?

I have an uncle who is legit a stereotypical genus. Designed some AI on programmable calculators in high school. Turned down positions created for him in favor of making obscene amounts of money starting small super successful firms. That kind of thing. Anyway, one particular 4th of July, some moons ago now, child me had to yell very loudly at him.

I told him all about how all the careful smart prep work he did to make sure the family can set off fireworks safely would be pretty pointless if he kept reading the instructions printed on the fireworks by lighter light.

Fireworks  devicesJudgefloro, CC0, Wikimedia Commons

42. That Would Have Been Painful To Watch

I know a very smart person who is very good at engineering, developing, programming, and anything technical that you can think of. I have seen them struggle with everyday problems multiple times. They were getting a big sheet cake out of the oven. The stovetop is filled with hot pots and all sorts of debris and they could not put the cake on the counter next to it, since it is too hot.

So, they stand there, cake in hands, turning right, turning left, turning right. I grab a pair of oven gloves to help, get shooed away. This highly intelligent person rearranges the pots by pushing them with the cake tray, then places a little edge of the pan on the stove to rest their hands. They then open the oven again, and try to reach more stuff they could not handle.

They look even more baffled. I grab the cake, place it on the (wooden, so heat resistant) table, close the still open oven, get the heat resistant mats, and put them on the counter for my friend to place the other stuff.

Smart People Stupid FactsUnsplash

43. At Least She Tried

A friend of my sister is a Doctor of Chemistry and doing cancer research. At the time I was still in school and struggling with that subject in particular, so I had a lot of respect for her. One day Microsoft released yet another faulty Windows 10 update and her laptop bluescreened. Knowing I'm a computer guy she came to me to check it out.

I quickly determined it needed a reinstall and said I need a hard drive to copy all the data to so nothing gets lost. She said, "Oh, I even brought a hard drive with me, it's brand new and not used yet!" That's good news, and I was impressed that she was so smart to think about bringing a hard drive. She brings it to me, it's still in the package. It was kind of heavy, but whatever. I unpack it and it turns out she brought a power bank.

Crazy neighborsShutterstock

44. We See Ourselves Differently

I know people much smarter than me but generally I am pretty good at my assigned profession, which is paramedic. I had profuse sweating, a high pulse rate, a blood pressure that was originally high and then suddenly dropped to dangerously low, pain in my abdomen that was reproducible by stomping my foot up and down, and a fever of 103.

Give me those symptoms and I will tell you that it is a ruptured appendix and peritonitis and a speedy trip to emergency. For three days, I sat there, trying to convince my wife that the food had made me sick. By the time she finally tricked me into going to the hospital I was very close to dying from sepsis. The best part of the whole story is the way she tricked me was she asked if I wanted to get it on.

When I said no I feel too sick she just kind of gave me that look. It was at that point I knew I had messed up.

Self diagnosisPexels

45. We Can’t Be On All The Time

My wife is one of the smartest people I know, very level-headed and logical in all the things she does…On this particular morning, her brain shut off. She was on a cleaning spree outside in our backyard, happily hosing down all the windows and the deck. I was adding mulch to our garden beds a couple meters away from her.

Just as I look up from my labor, I see her lift up the plastic cover on the GFI receptacle (this is an outdoor electrical outlet to plug stuff into for those that are not aware) and start happily hosing it all for a while. I was frozen not even able to speak as I witnessed one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen…

Once I finally broke from my trance of amazement, I yelled, “Babe! What on Earth are you doing!??” She stopped spraying and just looked at me and went, “Oh my god I honestly have no idea what I was thinking". Luckily, she wasn’t zapped and we had a good laugh. The receptacle is blown and I still need to replace it. For some reason, it will not reset.

Smart People Stupid FactsShutterstock

46. Habits Are Hard To Break

One of my mom's best friends growing up has a brother who was absolutely brilliant. This is a guy who graduated top of his class, got a perfect score on the SAT, and went to and graduated from Harvard. Some time into his adult life, he decided to go to the grocery store a few blocks away. Ordinarily, he walks, but he decided to drive this one particular time.

He went to the store, got his stuff, and proceeded to walk home. The next morning, he went to get into his car, only to discover that it was missing from his driveway, so he filed a report. A few days went by, and he had to go to the grocery store again. He walked like he normally does, and found his car exactly where he left it a few days before. This is a Harvard graduate.

Jerk Moves FactsShutterstock

47. Some Things Don’t Mix

Me and some buddies were tailgating before a football game. In a rush to make kickoff, one friend (who graduated from Princeton) put the BBQ grill, still containing the heated charcoal previously used for cooking, underneath the back end of the car so nobody would see or take it. It was placed directly under the gas tank.

After the game, we came back to a terrifying sight: A van that was unrecognizable. The hood blew off, and the tires on the cars parked next to us had melted along with the rubber window trim. “Tailgating Gone Too Far” was the headline on the evening news. Fantastic!

black charcoal grill not in functionIsaac Taylor, Pexels

48. It Sounded Like A Good Idea At The Time

I have a neighbor; he is by far the smartest person I know. A couple Fourth of July’s ago he got a quarter stick of dynamite, and strapped it to a remote-controlled boat with a detonate button and a timer. He sent it out on the lake at night, flipped the switch and it didn’t go off. That was already dumb—but then he made a terrible mistake. He took it back into the house to fix it.

But he had never actually turned the detonate button off. So, when it was fixed the 7-second timer started going. It ended up going off in the house and blowing out all of the windows. Luckily everyone was safe in the end.

Shocked Man With GlassesKarolina Grabowska, Pexels

49. Wash Your Food Before You Eat It

My brother is an EMT/firefighter that spends his free time exploring the outdoors, traveling, and reading every book on the planet. Super interesting to talk to and the amount of knowledge and experience this man has had in his young life is absolutely mind-blowing…that being said when we were teens at a party, he was absolutely incredibly inebriated.

Someone dared him to eat some grass (who knows why) and he grabs as much as he can in the backyard and starts munching away saying, “Oooh so good so good might be the best thing I’ve ever had all night". Then, his little "joke" took a horrifying turn. That’s when I saw that he also had a mouth full of dog waste that must have been on that grass he grabbed. When I told him, he puked on the spot. I love that intellectual idiot.

Weird kidShutterstock

50. You Knew It Was A Bad Idea

My dad was a maintenance manager at a very large chemical plant. He built cars, motorcycles, and our home after it burned to the ground. One day many years ago our old beat-up lawnmower that he refused to get rid of because it "still worked fine" had the handle snap. Now we had something like 3 acres of yard to cut...with this push mower.

Also, this mower had a gas leak, so instead of calling it a day my dad says he will just tack weld the handle back together and finish the backyard. See the issue? As he is preparing to weld, a gas puddle is present on the deck of the mower, he looks at me and says, "Now this is a dumb idea, never do this," and then he starts welding.

The deck ignites and he yells for me to run and get the hose, I grab the hose, run back and squeeze the handle. Nothing comes out as the hose was disconnected, my dad runs and grabs a bucket of water he had by his garden and puts the fire out. That was 25+ years ago and I can still see the look of pure confidence in his eyes. I laugh so much when I think about this.

Smart People Stupid FactsFlickr

Sources: ,

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.