MetaOops February 27, 2019 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Based on this recent post about the rat stuck in a manhole, I'm wondering what are some of your own embarrassing moments that you've been caught in. Maybe you slipped/tripped and fell, or got your leg caught in something, or ran into a door, or fell into a pond or some such thing. We all have these moments, feel free to share yours with the rest of the community to lighten the mood. As always, be kind to yourself and others. Cheers.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 8:43 AM (121 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

I was in the middle of a really awful breakup with someone, and we were sitting outside near some train tracks. I stood up dramatically, right into a concrete beam, hit my head incredibly hard, and fell over, crying because of the breakup and because my head hurt quite a lot, and laughing because I nonetheless appreciate good slapstick.
posted by ITheCosmos at 9:00 AM on February 27 [26 favorites]


I was running a few years ago and I tripped on the sidewalk and broke my front tooth, resulted in this nasty chip. I was at the end of my street about maybe twenty houses away from mine (less than a km away). Thankfully this woman was getting into her car with her teenage daughter, she saw me fall and offered to help.

Woman: “OMG! Are you ok?”
ME: “I fucked up my face!”
Teenage daughter: “Holy shit!”

I wasn't exactly the most articulate or polite in that moment. This woman grabbed some napkins that were in the back of her car and gave them to me to press up against my mouth which was overflowing with blood (I had also scraped a bit of my upper lip and hand as well. I asked her if she wouldn't mind driving me to the end of the street because I was kind of in shock and shaking. I managed to avoid bleeding all over the backseat of her car.

It was not fun and it took me about 2 1/2 months to get my smile back, it involved a root canal, and a replacement cap/tooth that attaches on top of the top half of the broken tooth that was leftover.
posted by Fizz at 9:00 AM on February 27 [16 favorites]


I was a senior in high school and a huge drama nerd. I'd developed a crush on a guy at another high school during the annual one-act play competition (as one does). I forget the exact circumstances, but I was at a competition day when my school wasn't competing (maybe it was New Englands, and we hadn't won States?), and CrushBoy's school was hosting. I managed to get a chance to talk to him, and he gave me a FLOWER. HE GAVE ME A FLOWER YOU GUYS, this was before I'd done anything with anyone but the most minor kissing, I was a late bloomer. He gave me a flower, and I was so overwhelmed and hyped up that I gestured wildly and a girl had walked over and in my flailing I accidentally cupped her breast.

Yeah.
posted by wellred at 9:07 AM on February 27 [10 favorites]


I ripped a pajama-style flap backside of my pants on a hard fall on a ski run.

I wondered for three whole runs why the chair lift felt so cold.
posted by mochapickle at 9:16 AM on February 27 [55 favorites]


At a company Christmas party I was having a weird itchy leg. My knee and shin were itchy and I was scratching and rubbing it with the other foot while drinking my wine and eating crummy little quiches and making small talk. Then the strangest thing happened, I looked down and somehow my underwear had fallen out of the leg of my pants. So I pulled my red plaid boxer shorts out of the bottom of my pant leg and was seriously confused how this could happen. What did I do that made my underwear fall off?

I replayed my morning in my mind and remembered pulling my pants and a blue pair of boxers out of the dryer before getting dressed. A-ha, I remembered that I was wearing a blue pair of drawers, not the red ones. The red ones must had hitched a ride, by the power of static cling, inside my pants and finally fell out in the middle this party. That's when I remembered where I was and realized that I was standing in the middle of a group my coworkers contemplating a pair of my underwear and everyone was staring at me. So I waved my boxers in the air, said, "Merry Christmas, y'all", and got the fuck out.
posted by peeedro at 9:19 AM on February 27 [91 favorites]


I wondered for three whole runs why the chair lift felt so cold.

The ski bum lifestyle isn't for everyone.
posted by zamboni at 9:20 AM on February 27 [58 favorites]


When I was 16 or so, I was the manager of a video store in a strip mall. In those days, it was illegal for retail establishments to be open on Sundays. However, one Sunday, I decided I wanted to watch a movie so I went into the store to grab something.

The place had a glass door on the front, and metal bars behind them that locked independently with a padlock. After grabbing my movie, I set the store's alarm and went to leave. I locked the padlock on the gate and then went to lock the door and realized I'd left the keys on the counter. I had about 45 seconds to climb the gate, grab the keys, run back to the front, open the padlock, get out, padlock the gate, and lock the front door.

I began climbing the gate and squeezing through the top... where I got stuck. The time ran out, I could hear the phone ringing from the alarm company calling for the safe word, but I couldn't get through. The phone stopped ringing and the alarm started blaring. People started coming over. Police showed up. It was pretty embarrassing.

Very glad phone camera weren't around in those days.
posted by dobbs at 9:23 AM on February 27 [16 favorites]


A long, long time ago...
I swapped-out the crappy Shimano brakes that came on my bike with a set of Avid Tri-Aligns, and took 'em out for a test spin through my neighborhood. Rounding a bend, I saw my wife talking with a neighbor while out walking. I zipped right up to them, hit the brakes, and stopped a whoooole lot more suddenly than I expected. I actually flew straight over the handlebar like in a cartoon and hit the pavement hard. The outside of my left thigh took the brunt of the impact and ended up swollen with the largest bruise I ever saw on anyone. To this day, my thigh has a slight swell in that area, I'm assuming due to a lot of internal scarring or something.

FWIW, I really love those Tri-Aligns.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:28 AM on February 27 [6 favorites]


As active as I am I'm a huge clutz and I seem to survive more with general durability than any sort of agility or grace.

A bit over a year ago I scratched my cornea very badly. I was helping a friend with her mom's estate, navigating a cluttered, narrow hallway. I needed to push my glasses up the bridge of my nose as I was walking. My elbow hit the corner of the hallway, which jammed my finger right through the left lens of my glasses. The lenses were very loose, and so the edge of the plastic lens scraped the crap out of my eyeball.

Never, ever scratch your cornea. I have experienced some really severe and notable varieties of pain and can make ER nurses wince, and scratching your eyeball has to be one of the most acute and unique kinds of pain there is out there.

I have broken all of my toes at various times. From dancing. I'm large and I dance like a total maniac. More than once at outdoor parties I've danced myself into a sizable hole. I mean, not falling into an existing hole but dancing so hard to techno or something that I dig a hole in the ground. So sometimes I forget that gravity is a thing.

I have been upside down and briefly hanging in the air thinking "Oh fuck!" so many times I can't even count them. Sometimes on bikes, sometimes on snow, sometimes on a skateboard. If it has wheels or it's a board that slides I've probably fallen off of it.

When I was a kid I used to think it was a good idea to try to climb trees... by riding a bike up them. In my defense at the time I had no idea trials riding was a thing. It worked about as well as you'd expect. I think I actually made it up an inclined trunk out on to a branch once and when I ran out of branch I put my foot down in mid air and fell over.

I once said "Hey, watch this!" and went to ride my bike and do a drop off of what I thought was a short retaining wall. I had selected the 5-6 foot tall selection of the tapered wall. I endo-ed off the front wheel, went splat like a pancake and somehow the bike did a full rotation behind me and then rolled right up the middle of my back and ran me over, leaving a comically perfect tire track right up the back of a white t-shirt. I can still hear my friends laughing and cackling at me.

I'm no longer allowed to ever say "Hey, watch this!" any more and then do anything that involves running, jumping, climbing, swinging off a rope, riding a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, pogo stick, balance board, moon boots, trampoline, hoverboard or any sort of kinetic toy.

I'm allowed to use them, I'm just not allowed to say any variation of "Hold my beer, watch this!" while using one.
posted by loquacious at 9:29 AM on February 27 [13 favorites]


When I was almost six, I was in line for a kiddie ride in Wildwood, NJ. It was the car ride, where the cars were tethered together in a circle, and the car horns made that great BZZT-BZZT sound. It was night, and the lights were enchanting and I was leaning my (noxzema'd) chin on the top of the short, black, iron fence that separated the queue from the ride. I slipped my knee in between two of the vertical rails.

The ride stopped and the line started to move. Except me, for my knee was jammed in the fence and I couldn't pull it back out. Kids started going around me. And I began to cry. The more I tried to pull my knee out, the redder and more swollen it became. Mom saw there was a problem and came to me. "I'm going to be here FOREVER!!!" I sobbed. "IN THE RAIN AND THE SNOW AND I'm going to miss my birthday and Christmas and..."

And I looked up and was in a big mom hug. I didn't realize that during my meltdown, Mom shoved my knee back through the fence. "I would never let that happen!" she said. The ride had started again, but the operator let me skip to the front of the line and I got my pick of cars. (Red, always red.)
posted by kimberussell at 9:43 AM on February 27 [28 favorites]


In high school I was playing frisbee outside during lunch with some guy friends. I was trying to be cool and super athletic (which I was not) so when one of my friends threw a long pass I sprinted after it with all the speed I could muster, looking back over my shoulder to keep an eye on the disc. BAM. I ran at full speed into the bike racks in front of the school, catching all my weight with my right thigh and also basically doubling over the rack (which only went up to about mid-thigh height). I went to the nurse's office, where I developed a dark purple softball-sized bruise, and ended up being sent home because I actually could not walk.
posted by CiaoMela at 9:54 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I think maybe I've told this before, but this is probably my most embarrassing story that has left an actual permanent scar on me. I swear I was not drunk when this happened.

I was living in my first apartment in Boston in a minorly shoddy building. I went to a party a couple miles away one winter's night, and stayed out fairly late. On the walk home, I slowly came to the realization that I desperately had to pee, and finally decided there was no way I was going to make it back to my apartment. At this point I was literally across the street from my building.

I ducked behind the laundromat that was, again, across the street from my apartment, did what I had to do, and then started back towards the sidewalk. This being winter, there was some snow and ice over soft ground, and I slipped. In an effort to keep myself upright, I jammed my hand against the brick wall. This did not prevent me from falling, but instead I dragged the palm of my hand against three or four feet of rough brick on my way down. I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and crossed the street to my building.

The elevator was out (not unusual), so I started climbing the six flights of stairs to my unit. And then I noticed all the blood I had left in the elevator lobby and the trail of drops following me up the stairs. I looked down, and gee whiz there's this nice open gash across my palm. I made it to my apartment and started running it under water to clean it out.

While standing there in the bathroom with my hand under the skin, I had the following thought process:
-I should probably walk over to the hospital that is a block away from my apartment.
-But it's like 4 am, and I'm very tired.
-Besides, only the bad doctors work at 4 am on a weekend.
-I think the bleeding is stopping (oops, no it's not).
And, finally:
-I'll deal with this if I wake up in the morning.

So I wrapped up my hand with some toilet paper and tape and went to bed. Now I have a nice scar on the palm of my hand.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:58 AM on February 27 [4 favorites]


I am fat and thus have more of these stories than are in any way funny. And even this story wasn't funny, but it's still kinda funny:

I was in a job interview, sitting uncomfortably in a conference room that had shitty, lightweight guest chairs in it. A new person showed up to meet me and as I stood up to greet him, the chair stayed with my ass and followed me up. I'm not sure whether he noticed that I had a chair stuck to my ass -- I only half stood to reach across the table so it might not have been entirely obvious -- but if he did, he was polite enough not to say.

I got a call back for a second interview, but did not get the job.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:59 AM on February 27 [11 favorites]


I guess being a mascot is by definition embarrassing? I was working in the children's department of a bookstore and often could not persuade anyone else to dress as a moose or a big red dog, so it would be me in a costume while someone else read the story. If it's not your own costume, it's usually hard to see and move around but I threw myself into the role, dancing around and glad-handing everyone until my co-worker gently guided me to a chair. This time I was Madeline and didn't realize my dress had slipped almost all the way down, revealing my underwear-- luckily long underwear, but still.

Also pro tip: people can clearly see your eyes through a lot of those mascot heads.
posted by BibiRose at 10:15 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


In high school, my friends and I were walking down a long hallway. Another friend was about …. 20ish? feet ahead of us. He turned around and whipped a gummi bear, I tried ducking out of the way, and ended up getting pelted smack dab in the middle of my forehead. I would have been better doing absolutely nothing.

Many, many years later, the same friends and I went to an all-inclusive place in Cancun, that had a bar in the pool. The problem was that the pool bar was put in an area that was 6' deep (we are all shorter than 6', and the bar stools were slippery (being tiled and underwater, natch). Guess who slipped off her stool while holding a margarita? (c'est moi). The drink didn't spill though! Somehow! A few drinks later, we decided that we wanted to take our drinks and swim over to the other side of the pool, and yeah, we'd probably be fine to do that with only one arm available. We were about five feet away from the bar when all 3 of us started sinking slowly without making much progress towards the other side. We realized our hubris, and the cackling/giggling fits started, which did not make swimming any easier. (We made it back to the bar, with no pool water contamination in the drinks). Swimming is hard, yo.
posted by Fig at 10:23 AM on February 27 [8 favorites]


I'm a huge klutz with balance issues, barely able to walk a straight line. Yesterday while walking and talking with my manager down a hallway, I careened into the wall and almost knocked a piece of artwork to the floor. But probably my klutziest moment was in high school, during three nights of performances of "Oliver!" Doling out the apple sauce to the kids in the workhouse chorus, I spilled some on the floor, three nights in a row. After that scene, I struck a tea set from the stage (struck in the theater sense) and slipped and fell on the apple sauce, damaging the tea set, also three nights in a row.
posted by emelenjr at 10:23 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


So uh... content warning for a lot of blood? This happened a few years ago. I was cooking, as you do. We only had one onion left in the onion bin, and it was a little old and rubbery, but it was still technically good and I needed an onion for whatever I was cooking so, for whatever reason I reached for the paring knife instead of the big sharp knife, and in the process of using a dull small knife on a rubbery onion, sliced into the joint of my left thumb. oh god the blood was everywhere. Ok- no biggie! I just need to clean it and bandage it! So I run in under water and put a bandaid on it, and keep cooking. later I'm eating with mom and she's just staring at me. And I'm like mom? you ok? and she's all... your hand is covered in blood! Because one small bandage- not enough. I had just rivers of blood running down my hand, i'd stained my shirt, I just hadn't noticed because I was busy eating. It took like 3 bandaids and a ton of pressure to stop the bleeding and quite frankly I probably should have had stitches. I still have on my left thumb a pale crescent scar on my thumb joint as a reminder- always use the big knife- always use the sharp knife- NEVER use the paring knife on an old onion.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:30 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I was hurrying through Leicester Square in London, in the evening when it's crowded with people out for a night on the town, dressed up because I'd just been at a live show of some kind, wearing a short-skirted babydoll-type dress and new ballet flats (it was 1998) with slick bottoms, and my foot slipped on the drizzle-wet uneven pavement, flew the fuck up over my head and I went down HARD on my back, which hurt a lot, but the more embarrassing part of this adventure was that my babydoll dress flew way up above my waist and I flashed all of London my underwear.

Thank God that was before smartphones!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:37 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


I am relatively graceful (compared to y'all klutzes), so any of my fuckups have to do with idiotic things I say.

I was at the park some years ago, with my two-year-old in a stroller. I was chattering to him, as you do. "Gosh, it must be fun to ride in a stroller! I'd love to have someone push me around all day! Wouldn't it be nice to sit down all the time and have some one else wheel me around!" And so on.

And then I looked up and saw, not a stone's throw away, a woman in a wheelchair and her attendant.
posted by Liesl at 10:37 AM on February 27 [21 favorites]


Oh, backseatpilot's reminded me of a horrible and exceptionally dumb one. And I was drunk-ish. Also blood warning.

I'd just moved into a weird art complex in Phoenix in what was at the time the totally derelict NW quarter and rough part of town. It's crazy stupid hot, and I don't have air conditioning. It's my first night in this place, so everything is still stacked up around me in boxes and milk crates.

I'm sleeping on the floor on my half-folded futon. Next to me is a pile of milk crates full of books and other boxes. The stack of like 4-5 milk crates full of books is on a rubbermaid style plastic tote.

I fall asleep. Hours later I wake up coughing and sputtering blood and wondering if someone just took a cricket bat to my face, because it felt like someone just hit me in the face with a cricket bat. I'm... covered in some things.

It's books. And milk crates. The plastic tote basically softened from the heat and dumped that whole tower of milk crates right in my face from 4-5 feet in the air.

As I sit up a waterfall of blood falls out of my nose and it's obviously broken, and I'm trying to remember what to do, and I'm wondering if I should call 911 or what and trying to get oriented.

And I'm remembering what neighborhood I live in, and how I don't have a key to the gate yet, and it's like 3 AM, I'm in the closet trans and dressed in femme clothes, I don't have insurance, my landlords/roommates are asleep and this isn't an auspicious start to this at all and I say "Oh, well, fuck it." and grab a black t-shirt and set my nose back together as best I can and sit there for ages and wait for the blood to stop.

There's like ten dumb things in there, from how I stacked up the books to where I slept to not getting keys in the case of an emergency and so on.

So, yeah, books are dangerous and don't sleep with heavy stuff over your bed.
posted by loquacious at 10:40 AM on February 27 [6 favorites]


Oh Eyebrows, I hear that. I walked over a particular Toronto grate (on College, just west of University for those who need the warning) one summer day, and poof, full Marilyn.
posted by wellred at 10:42 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Homo neanderthalensis:

I reached for the paring knife instead of the big sharp knife, and in the process of using a dull small knife on a rubbery onion, sliced into the joint of my left thumb.

I did this same cut (the meaty part palm-side), but with a cauliflower and a paring knife.

After stanching the flow of blood with a towel, I found myself in the position of realizing that this would need stiches. Pronto. I would need to hop a cab to the emergency room.

I had got my coat on (it was winter) while holding one end of the towel tight with my teeth, and then realized I had no money on me. This was before I had a cell phone, so I knocked on my downstairs neighbour's door.

Despite being initially taken aback by me with the bloody towel wrapped around my hand, he invited me in, loaned me a $20 bill and called me a cab, and off I went to the ER.

Six stitches closed the wound.

I repaid my neighbour a few days later, and gifted him some curried cauliflower soup (made, of course, with a new cauliflower, and only after a full forensic cleanup of my kitchen, which I realized looked like a crime scene when I got back from the hospital).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:42 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


my babydoll dress flew way up above my waist and I flashed all of London my underwear.

I see London, I see France . . .
posted by HotToddy at 10:46 AM on February 27 [13 favorites]


Oh, I almost forgot about bloody mess!

I was on a work trip, touring a B-52 that was in depot maintenance (meaning it was basically torn down to bare metal). We got a safety briefing from the foreman, including "watch your head!". After walking around the outside, we all start climbing the ladder into the crew compartment.

The B-52 crew compartment is very cramped, and the available entrance was a maintenance hatch next to one of the seats. I'm the last one up the ladder, and I basically throw myself head first into the bottom of the seat, banging my skull hard enough that I see stars. I shook myself if e and climbed the rest of the way up to where the group was waiting.

When I got there, everyone started staring at me. My face felt warm - at first I thought it was from embarrassment, but then I went to scratch where I bumped my head and my hand came back wet. I had blood pouring down my face. I had to leave with one of the maintainers to clean myself up in the bathroom.

No permanent damage, but I did learn just how much a head wound will bleed.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:50 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


I told this a couple of years ago, but it's still pretty funny:
When I was four years old, I went to play outside (it was the 70s). It was raining, and they were building houses at the end of the street, so I went to look at the construction equipment. I then got my boots stuck in the mud, and couldn't move. I called and called, but obviously no one else was out in the rain, so I eventually fell asleep standing there.

My mom found me maybe two hours later, still standing there in the mud, asleep.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:58 AM on February 27 [45 favorites]


We had a beautiful, epic snowstorm and I determined to cross-country ski to work. The cross street at the end of my block is a neighborhood arterial and was bumper-to-bumper full of cars at a standstill. I came whooshing down the block like a badass, made the corner, then went down in a spectacularly awkward pile of limbs and skis and poles about five feet from a captive audience of morning commuters and could. not. get. up. or even free myself from my skis and to make matters worse I suffer from hair trigger laughing fits and oh my goodness. So embarrassing!
posted by HotToddy at 10:59 AM on February 27 [6 favorites]


i was riding a childrens bicycle down a hill hella fast, failed to negotiate a stop/turn, and slid on one shoulder through an intersection, ending up resting gently against a car tire. an ambulance drove up and the drivers asked if i was ok/could move. i could, and then they called me an idiot and drove off. to be fair i had to agree.
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 11:01 AM on February 27 [8 favorites]


A phone call:
Boss: *asks me to do a task*
Me: Sure, I'll get that to you today.
Him: Great, thanks. talk to you later
Me: Love you too, Mom!

My wires got crossed and luckily we still laugh about it but this was much earlier in our working relationship and I was mortified.
posted by pointystick at 11:04 AM on February 27 [14 favorites]


Another phone call story (not to abuse the edit window).

I had a job in a real estate law office where I would call to get loan payoff amounts. I often did this on speaker phone bc my hands were full of paper & I was multitasking. Once with my office door open I did this.

I expected to hear "thanks for calling Very Common Megabank payoffs department..."

My mis-dial meant I got something along the lines of "Want to chat with a live horny slut now?"

I swear I fumbled for 100 years before slapping the hang up button.
posted by pointystick at 11:09 AM on February 27 [14 favorites]


I was once visiting a friend who lived in a room with bunk beds. She used the bottom bunk, of course, so I was given the top bunk. We went out to a bar and I consumed far too much alcohol, then we went back to go to sleep. So of course I wake up at 3 AM needing to use the toilet, but having completely forgotten that I am on a bed 6 feet up in the air. I fell splat on the floor. She woke up because I was lying on the floor saying "ow...ow...ow..." but drunk's luck, nothing was broken.
posted by Daily Alice at 11:28 AM on February 27 [7 favorites]


The people at the urgent care near my high school used to know me as Hermione, the girl who kept:

Getting wedged between classmates and pipes during drama class

Running into opening doors face first

Dropping tables on her toes and somehow still not breaking either
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:41 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


When we were around 10 and 12, my brother and I rode a ski-style sled down a big hill at a construction site toward what we thought was a large mound of snow-covered dirt, hoping to jump it.

Turns out it was a large pile of bricks covered with some dirty canvas tarps. About twenty people watched us slam into the side of it at high speed. The sled was wrecked, but amazingly we walked away with just some bad bruises.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:53 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


1987, Worcester Galleria. 14 year old gawky spotty dork me with my gawky spotty dork friends are cruising the mall when we run into a fellow GSD coming out of Record Town (or Tape World?) He's waving around a FREE promotional flexi-disc by some NEW BIG THING* metal band. We all ogle the floppy record, with it's vaguely sexy, vaguely futuristic, vaguely sci-fi illustration, but my buds look at the checkout line snaked around Record Town and say, nah, not worth it. But me, man, the word FREE is flashing in front of my eyes and if I don't need to pay I don't need to wait in line, right? Also I'm pretty dumb. So I run back into Record Town and go to hop over the velvet rope thing that is keeping the line in line and, well, it doesn't go very well. I get caught up in it and fall completely flat on my face, knock over the velvet rope thing, scatter a bunch of Paula Abdul calendars and bemused shoppers and Maxell UR-90 blank cassettes all over the place in the process. The 25 people in line, and the several employees ringing them up, they look at me with great pity as I bounce up, absolutely mortified, shake it off, and quietly grab a flexi disc from the stack and slink out. My buds found this fairly amusing.

*Pretty Maids! This record. The song turned out to be a banger, and I eventually bought the whole record and still listen to it, I mean, from time to time. Terrific bubblegum prog metal. Kind of thing you like if you like that kind of thing.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:56 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Another child of the '70s and a bit wild and accident prone. There are four that I don't even remember. I spray glued my eyes open. Jumped off my dresser and bounced off the bed and smacked the nightstand (stitches under left eye). Jumped up and down in the tub and landed on a bottle cap (smiley face stitches on my bum). And one set of stitches in my head that I don't recall. Then comes the fun bits. More stitches in my head from playing circus bear and rolling on the footstool and bashing into the hearth. Trying to stand up under a desk in first grade.

Stitches under my right eye from the neighborhood bully holding a skateboard in front of my face as I came down the steep hill. Then I finally slipped while using an X-Acto knife and put a deep, long gash in my forearm. By that time I was very blasé and calmly applied a clean washrag and went to find Mom with a plain "time for the emergency room".

We often went to the woods and cut vines to swing around like Tarzan. I swung out and back and got myself stuck on a branch that we had chopped off because it was in the way. It caught my jacket and I was just handing there in the air with no way down. I burned my retinas watching an arc welder and spent a couple of weeks blind with my head wrapped up like a mummy. Decided it was a good time to play blind man's bluff and ended up bumping heads with some other kid and seeing stars.

Due to those dangerous chemistry sets (and my peculiarities) I ended up with a big blob of molten aluminum on the back of my hand. Something else exploded and I had a burn in the middle of my forehead. Took a blowtorch to the side of my face once (luckily it was so hot and fast that it was more like an abrasion and just scabbed up instead of blistering).

I tried to jump a motorbike off a four tire high ramp. The bike had no shocks and I landed so hard that my spine went ouch and I just laid on the ground twitching for a minute or so. Then the time I was pretending to be a bunny rabbit and had socks on my hands and ran an jumped to grab the swinging on branch of the tree... slipped right off and landed flat on my back and couldn't breathe for way too long. Then I grew up. lol. At a job we had helium for balloons and I thought it would be sweet to take a big huff and run across the kitchen to say something funny to my girlfriend... made it past the kitchen doors before just blacking out and waking up on the floor.

Now I just have a wonky knee and every once in a while I'll not pay attention and step off a curb or something and plant my foot all wonky and take a tumble. Happened last week. uggh. And I tend to burn myself a lot when pulling things out of the oven. My pain reaction is slow and low enough to make the whole "on a scale of 1-10 how much does it hurt?" be a really hard thing to answer. I'm more likely to start giggling when I hurt.

I'm a little more careful now that I'm older and bruises and cuts and such just don't heal as fast as they used to.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:59 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


When I was maybe 15 or 16, my family and I were walking somewhere along a city sidewalk. I had my head turned to talk to my sister walking beside me, so I didn't see the telephone-pole-sized tree trunk growing in the sidewalk and walked straight into it just like in a cartoon, the leg and arm on one side of my body flung past it in inertia. All I could do is laugh as I pictured in my mind how it must have looked and be glad the only thing I'd hurt was my dignity.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:15 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


By the way, many of these stories are making me wince in sympathetic pain - or as my sister would say when we were kids, they "make my teeth cringe".
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:17 PM on February 27 [8 favorites]


I have two stories:

1. When I was about 6 years old, we lived in a very nice old farmhouse, which my father had painstakingly restored. It had a nice dining room, with built-in cabinets on one wall, and a lovely curved bay window opposite.

It was winter, and I was playing outside in the yard, when I spotted some yummy looking icicles hanging from said window. I picked up a rock, thinking I could probably bring one down. Well, I missed, threw it right through one of the glass panes. My Dad came and stuck his head out and said, "what the heck?"

He had to make an emergency run to the hardware store for a custom-cut pane of glass and replace it pronto. I never did that again!

2. I worked for a big company in the Chicago suburbs, in the late 1980's. We were moving into a brand new office, which was still being worked on when we took occupancy. There were stone masons and construction workers, and I made friends with some of them. One day, they invited me to party with them after work. We had a few drinks, and they offered to show me the roof.

We went up and the view was nice. I think it was 8 stories. The top was crenellated granite, like an old tower. They told me I could look down and see better if I climbed on top of one of the openings and laid flat, and they would hold my ankles. So I did. It was about 6-8 feet deep, so I was just poking my head over the edge while lying on the granite. Then I got back down, and we all went on our way. I don't even know why this was a thing, they were just excited to have someone admire their handiwork, and we were all a little happy from drinking, so I did it.

I'd gone to the grocery store earlier, after work, and cashed my paycheck, so I'd have money for drinks. Back then, I only used cash or checks, and so I'd done this before, but then deposited the cash into my account on Saturday morning.

Come Saturday, I could not find my wallet anywhere. So my entire paycheck was also missing. I lived paycheck to paycheck, so this was freakout territory.

Monday, I got to work, and my supervisor called me into her cubicle. She said, "the building manager spotted this on the roof of the parking garage. I'm not going to ask how it got there, but whatever it was, don't do it again." Then she handed me my wallet. He'd happened to glance out a window and notice it, luckily I favored red leather back then, or he might not have spotted it.

I was mortified, but happy to get my cash back, it was all there. Must've fallen out of my handbag, which I always faithfully carried on my arm, not even thinking to let one of the guys hold it before climbing onto the edge of a rooftop. That was the one and only time I partied with them, shortly afterward, the construction was finished and they moved on.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 12:19 PM on February 27 [9 favorites]


I split a butt-seam of a pair of concert pants (the black kind), full length and with a well-noticeable "scra-bam," while trying to wrangle a Broadwood Grand Piano from 1805 back into my Volvo. Some co-musicians were watching. It was after the concert, so all was well – I just drove home. No part of this story was made up.
posted by Namlit at 12:26 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


I picked up a rock, thinking I could probably bring one down.

This reminds me of the one time I threw a broom on the roof, thinking it would hit the frisbee that was stuck up there and they'd both come down. Instead, it landed about 2 feet away because I'm terrible at spatial things, and my parents were quite unhappy that they had to get out and climb up a ladder to retrieve their broom and my frisbee.
posted by Fig at 12:29 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


I picked up a rock, thinking I could probably bring one down. Well, I missed, threw it right through one of the glass panes.

Always remember to consider the backstop!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:34 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Nothin sets off a lime green, nubby wool skirt, like a large chocolate shake. That's how I handled my uncomfortable first date. Nothing was going to happen after that.
posted by Oyéah at 12:40 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


The more I read these stories, the more I cringe and half-smile. We're such a clumsy species and it's no wonder that the Darwin Awards exist. So many near misses. I'm glad all of you have survived to live to tell the tales.
posted by Fizz at 12:46 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


Back in high school, there was a trampoline in the grassy field between houses. I noticed it back there, one day, and decided "why not go there?"

Except "there" was beyond a chain-link fence that was our rear property boundary. I don't recall if I tried to pry apart the corner joint enough to squeeze through, or just scrambled over it. Either way, getting to it: no problem. Trampolining? Successful!

Getting back over the fence is where I got snagged, literally, on a part of the fence that wasn't neatly bound to itself any more. I jumped over the fence, and the fence jumped back, stabbing me in the ankle. I don't recall it hurting much, but I fell pretty badly, and had to yank it out of my foot. I have a scar there as a reminder to be more careful when climbing fences.

I also have a scar on my hand, from when I swam over coral in Hawaii, again in my goofy, dumb, high school days, when I thought I'd be fine to swim in the shallow ocean without goggles. Coral is sharp.

I don't have any visible marks from when I dropped myself on my head, after hanging upside down from a basketball hoop. I had done it a number of times, hanging on with my arms and "walking" up the fence behind the post, so I could hang from my legs off the metal bracings. But one day, my legs slipped off and I went *thunk*. I felt a bit dazed, and physically shorter.

And then I stepped on a pin in a clothing store changing room. It was a surprising sort of feeling. The folks working there were very quick to help and make sure I was OK. I don't think it even bled much, if at all.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:46 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


The year was 1997 or 98, I believe. My employer (a very well known design firm) was opening a small office in New York for a particular project, and I was going back and forth from Boston to NY on a regular basis to set up the IT stuff. One one trip, I got to the new space and set about crawling under makeshift desks and workstations to plug in some computers and such. At one point, I squatted to do something, and the entire underseam of my pants ripped open from stem to stern. Of course, at that moment the lead designer and the two consultants who would be using the new space showed up and wanted to have a meeting with me to discuss what else needed to be done so they could use the office. Luckily, we sat around a table, so my ripped-open pants were not in plain sight the entire time, but as soon as the meeting was done, I had to excuse myself, leave the office, and walk several blocks through Manhattan, with my pants split open, to find the nearest men's clothing store.
posted by briank at 12:50 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


One time I had apparently over-bleached my white dressage show breeches and at one competition the faux suede seat almost completely disintegrated during my last test. Fortunately the faux suede part is mostly facing the saddle so it wasn't noticeable until I dismounted afterwards, but at that point I, and my coach, were quite surprised to find that I was way too ventilated down there.

Also, when I was 14 years old I got to drive a car for the very first time when a friend let me behind the wheel of his 1959 stick-shift Beetle. Which I promptly backed into a tree and crumpled its little tin-foil bumper.
posted by drlith at 1:07 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Sophomore year of high school, I was goofing around with a group of friends and FLIRTING HEAVILY with one or two guys in that group of friends, and I forget the circumstances exactly, maybe one of the guys feinted at chasing me, but I blindly turned and started running while looking at the floor, focused on picking up speed, and ran face-first into a brick wall. I had built up some pretty good momentum too, so what everyone probably saw was me saying something flippant, winding up like Wile E. Coyote, and then sprinting directly into a wall 15 feet away and falling flat onto my back.

My nose got bruised and scraped up pretty good.

"AND IT WAS THREE DAYS BEFORE PROM!" my mom will always add at this point.
posted by castlebravo at 1:28 PM on February 27 [11 favorites]


I went waterskiing once, and I got up on my skis very briefly before falling face first. For some reason, I didn't let go of the towline and let the boat continue to drag me through the water, slowly realizing that I needed to let go. I finally managed to communicate this information to my hands and sat up in the water. The boat came back around and my friends were laughing at me and shouting "You have to let go!"

That was my only opportunity to waterski so I still don't know if I learned my lesson.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:33 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Also, when I was 14 years old I got to drive a car for the very first time when a friend let me behind the wheel of his 1959 stick-shift Beetle. Which I promptly backed into a tree and crumpled its little tin-foil bumper.

Oh man, when I was a kid -- maybe 10 or 11ish? I'm a little uncertain on the timeline -- my BFF's cousin came out to visit her family and brought with him the brand new snowmobile he'd just received for his birthday. People were generally riding snowmobiles around in a circuit that looped through their property and some nearby empty lots and eventually I was convinced to join in, even though I had never driven a snowmobile before, and given Brad's machine to ride. In my second circuit around the lots, I cracked it into a tree and crumpled the sparkling new fiberglass engine hood.

In my defence, I did tell them repeatedly I didn't really want to.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:34 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


OK I'm going to share one of my husband's too because it still makes me laugh and he's not on this site so whatev:

Also in high school! I watched as my husband (who had a crush on ME at the time) spotted an oversized ball in the backyard at a party, and he thought it was an inflatable yoga ball that he could launch to get some serious air. So he got a running start and kicked it as hard as he could.

It was not an inflatable ball. It was a fixed lawn decoration and made of a very solid substance, and he collapsed to the ground yelling FUCK and holding his foot as I stood in the doorway and stared.

reader, I married him
posted by castlebravo at 1:39 PM on February 27 [39 favorites]


One winter, when I was in elementary school, the snow piled nearly to the top of the chain-linked fence surrounding the playground. I say nearly as there was a good 18" of fence sticking out of the snow drift. But that was enough for me to step over the fence, so of course I did. It being winter and all my legs were numb from the cold, so I didn't notice when I cut my thigh on the top of the fence. The cold also meant I didn't bleed very much. So when I got back from recess and sat down my pants slid up enough that the cut on my leg didn't line up with the cut in my pants and I just thought I cut my pants. I didn't say anything, so it wasn't until my mom was doing laundry (several days later as I recall) and noticed the tear in my pants that the cut on my leg was discovered. At which point it was far too late for stitches. Thankfully it didn't get infected but it did leave me with a big old scar.
posted by zinon at 1:40 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Thankfully it didn't get infected but it did leave me with a big old [badass] scar.

Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 1:59 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid I was playing at a friend's house where some minor construction work was going on--nails, planks of wood and tools were everywhere and made for a great obstacle course. When it was time for her mom to drive me home we started running to the car, obstacle-course style, and my friend gracefully leaped over a 2x4 that had one of those big, thick framing nails hammered into it so it was sticking out two inches straight into the air, spike-up. I noted the nail, thought "that looks dangerous; let's live," took a much less graceful leap and landed my heel square on the nail, which went all the way into my foot and then back out as my foot came up. I had never felt such searing pain (and wouldn't again until I scratched my cornea later that year). Because I was mortified and because I had been raised never to inconvenience anyone, I said nothing. I swallowed my screams, silently got into the car, hid my pained and teary face behind a school poster board project and concentrated all my energy on not screaming. When we got to my house I sprinted out of the car without a word until I was inside where I began uncontrollably sobbing and shrieking and taking off my shoe and sock. Then my mother came in. She saw the hole in my blood-soaked tennis shoe, sock and foot and I had to try to explain to her through my hysterics how I had suddenly appeared in her house like this, which my exasperated mother eventually gave up trying to understand so she could take me to the doctor for a tetanus shot.
posted by Polychrome at 2:20 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


Polychrome, why do kids decide to hide certain things? When I was about 8, I was on a hayride. I was wearing pink rainboots that I loved. I was sitting at the wheel well and swinging my feet as we drove. Somehow my foot got caught in the wheel well, so my leg was bent and the wheel was rubbing on my boot and leg. I couldn't remove my foot because we were in motion. Rather than ask for the driver to stop, I sat there trying to act normal with the other kids, holding my foot as far from the wheel as possible and wishing the ride would end. This must have gone on for 10 or 15 minutes, at least. I, who openly argued about Catholic theology with my religion teachers at school, said nothing to anyone. Finally we came to a stop and I removed my thankfully uninjured foot. My pink boot had long black streaks on it from extended rubbing on the wheel. It was so dangerous! I could have broken my ankle or my leg doing that, especially if we had picked up speed. To this day I have no idea why I stayed silent.
posted by Emmy Rae at 2:32 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


At a middle school drama camp, we were doing a performance of a thing where we did a series of static tableaus, and had the audience close their eyes in between as we reset. For one tableau, we had to quickly move school desks from one end of the stage to another - basically running while pushing them.

I was closest to the audience, and I misjudged my trajectory and ran right off the edge of the stage. Everyone's parents were there. But at least they mostly had their eyes closed!
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:38 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


This one is a little bloody.

The storm door on the front of our house had a handle that you would push to open the door. When I was five I used to run full speed at the door, hit the handle and jump down the stairs into the yard. The last time I did that didn’t work out so well.

The door was latched shut so my hand slid off the lever and my momentum carried me through the glass and down the steps. Picking myself up I looked at my chest and saw blood and bone. It was summer and I was wearing only shorts which didn’t off much protection. Along with a dozen or so mostly superficial cuts, a large piece of glass had gone into the right side of my chest and along my ribcage severing my pectoral muscle. I screamed and my mom came running in from the pasture having just finished moving the irrigation pipes.

After quickly checking me over she ran in the house and then came out with her keys and a washcloth. She carried me to our pickup and then held the washcloth on my wound while she drove the 15 miles to the nearest hospital. When we got there they looked at my injury and said there was nothing they could do. So after giving me a shot and some basic bandaging we were back in the pickup driving the 40 miles to the hospital that could do something. Sitting watching the hazard light indicators on the dash while she talked calmly to me is a very vivid memory. I wonder how fast we were going. The limit at the time would have been 55.

Her calm demeanor at the time really impacted how I react during emergencies I think.

I spent a week in the hospital. During the surgery I remember them taking quite a few pictures. From time to time I wonder if they’re still in a folder somewhere.
posted by Tenuki at 2:54 PM on February 27 [12 favorites]


I was a snowflake in the Nutcracker for a bunch of years. Our "snow" was actually the holes that are cut when you use a 3-hole punch, just taken from a bunch of offices and stored in giant garbage bags in the back of the dance studio until it came time for The Nutcracker,when it's put in a curtain with slits cut in it that's suspended above the stage and shaken gently to make it look like it's snowing.

So it's the snow scene, and I'm a snowflake is frozen in place while the Snow Queen does her solo, arms over my head in a V, and the snow is lightly falling and all of a sudden I am hit by a HUGE CLUMP of "snow" that covers my head and goes down the front of my tutu in large quantities, and because I am sweaty and also because to make ourselves look sparkly we've sprayed ourselves with hairspray and then put glitter on our chests and necks and then sprayed ourselves with hairspray again, the "snow" just coats my body and stays attached for the entire next 4 minutes. We are all trying not to laugh and the audience is snickering. After it finally ended, I was pulling 3-hole-punched paper out of my pointe shoes and hair and tights and cleavage for what felt like the next month.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:59 PM on February 27 [21 favorites]


It was not an inflatable ball.

Oh god, I did this too. I was visiting a new acquaintance and was out on her huge beautiful lawn playing with her Border Collies, saw their ball and hauled off and kicked it for all I was worth. Only it was a medicine ball.
posted by HotToddy at 3:17 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


The business where I worked twenty years ago had among its regular clientele a family with a toddler. Said toddler was an adorable, cherubic two-year-old with curly hair, huge brown eyes, long eyelashes, dimpled cheeks, and a propensity for blowing kisses when anyone waved to her. The staff universally loved when they visited and staffers would often take a break for a few minutes to crouch down and play with or talk with this delightful child.

One day I returned from lunch and saw the family was there and that my coworker Elise was hunkered down on her haunches talking to the little cherub and laughing. Elise was facing away from me and I walked up behind her, dropped my hands lightly onto her shoulders and pulled her back just enough to unbalance her from her crouch into a seated position, so I might make the little kid laugh with some slapstick.

It was not Elise. I walked into the room and intentionally sprawled some random customer onto the floor.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:18 PM on February 27 [14 favorites]


Living in a dorm in college, one evening in the social lounge a few of my friends were doing the silly male posturing thing where they talked about the various martial arts they did and who could beat whom. Because I find it amusing to poke fun at such things, I, who am extremely unathletic, announced that I'd be able to easily defeat them all with my practiced art of Run Fu. I proceeded to demonstrate by turning to run out down the hallway.

It turned out there was a very solid, fairly heavy wooden chair right behind me, and it countered my Run Fu with Will Not Go directly to my shin as I took my first step. I instantly crumpled to the floor and had a nasty bruise for a week or two. My friends christened the chair Biogeosbane and the next year or two enjoyed telling the new freshmen the story of how it got its name.
posted by biogeo at 3:20 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


I lived in LA during college and Mudd Dude's family owned a ski cabin up in Wrightwood. We used to leave after class on Friday with all the other skiers and folks going to Vegas and sit in traffic for what felt like hours. One time when traffic was particularly bad I got incredibly bored in the passenger seat (this was the days before smart phones and Spotify streaming over Bluetooth) and managed to pull my legs through the chest belt of my seat belt while it was still buckled, which proceeded to do that collision lock thing so that I could not get myself untangled. I tried unbuckling the belt but that just caused it to retract even tighter into the collision lock. Mudd Dude had to pull over and get me untangled.
posted by muddgirl at 3:21 PM on February 27 [8 favorites]


I once raised my hand, very excitedly, to answer a question in an undergraduate Evolution course... and then had a very loud and very much verbalized crisis of conscience about whether ferns were plants or not, with all 120 fellow students' eyes still on me. (They are, for the record; I had confused them with seaweed.)

Once I was teaching and had a student tremulously tell me, twenty-five minutes through a fifty-minute class, that my fly was down and she could see my underwear. I looked down and sure enough, it was right down into the base of the zipper. Zipping it up and continuing teaching while I died of embarrassment over and over again in my head is one of the proudest moments of my career.
posted by sciatrix at 3:45 PM on February 27 [23 favorites]


I was in a high school production of Romeo and Juliet where the set was just a staircase with about 8 stairs, spanning the width of the stage. During curtain call we were supposed to start at the top of the stairs and then walk down them, then bow at the bottom. Instead, on opening night, I fell down all eight stairs, tearing my dress and ending up in a pile at the bottom in front of ~500 people. It was great. (I also got a concussion during a production of Wizard of Oz when I had to run into the "storm cellar" and instead banged my head on the top really hard...)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 3:48 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


I don't know why I continue to keep things in my chest pocket on my labcoat. Maybe because of the field I'm in currently, where there's lots of gizmos I need to keep on me. But because I keep things there, and I have a female body, things will not stay there if I lean over. Things will fall onto patients or the floor - obviously 'onto patients' is worse - at the worst possible moment.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:14 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Y’all jinxed my shit. I was reading this thread while eating, drove home, slipped on a spot of glaze ice in the alley behind my place and went down. Not even a little traction. My feet just went out from under me.

Fortunately I don’t think anyway saw (I know, doesn’t fit the criteria), and I had a couple bags I was carrying that actually broke my fall so ego bruised but thankfully no more.

Also, you are all my people.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:14 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


I've shared this story before on Twitter and so many people "liked" it I was afraid this was what I was going to be famous on the internet for and wanted to die.

I was working as an administrative assistant at my own little desk, and dropped a pen. When I bent to retrieve it I noticed my shoelace was untied and bent further to fix that.

My rolling chair slid forward over the security badge hanging from my neck and my head was jerked down, bouncing off the edge of an open drawer. Stunned, I fell out of my chair and rolled under my desk. Then I immediately tried standing up and brained myself on the underside.

Then to add insult to injury, I got rug burn on my knees while crawling out from under my desk.

It remains the most ridiculous moment of my life.

I wanted to die when I sat back up and my boss was staring at me from across the room.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 4:18 PM on February 27 [41 favorites]


scratching your eyeball has to be one of the most acute and unique kinds of pain there is out there

Indeed.

I once slept in my contacts (old fashioned hard lenses) and knew the moment I woke up that I had abrasions on both eyes and needed to go to the ER. While stumbling around the apartment getting ready for the trip, I stepped on a double edge razor and the blades had such a grip on my foot that I had to kick my leg to shake it off. I then stepped into my Dr. Scholl's sandals (the ones with the solid wood soles) and struggled to keep the shoe on my slippery foot as my boyfriend led me to the car, then into the ER, all the while shielding my eyes from light, tears streaming down my face from the pain caused by the abrasions.

I was surprised when the admitting nurse immediately focused on my foot—all the blood was annoying, but my foot didn't hurt. Or, more precisely, the pain in my eyes was over-riding all other neurological inputs.

Given the choice of repeating the barely medicated delivery of my 10lb 5oz son or the ~18 hours following waking up with the abrasions, I would go with the former. Without a doubt.

(Just reread the post and I realize this isn't the mood-lightening story you all are expecting. I apologize for that. But having written this on a most annoying tablet screen, I am loath to delete it.)
posted by she's not there at 5:04 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Do weird misunderstandings count as Oops? While I was homeless way back when I partnered up with a girl for many months (long story redacted). Then one day in the park while we were discussing plans some dude blurted out that I must be getting something good because I was "whipped". I looked at him and said: "Dude, she's a lesbian." and she looked at me and went "WTF?". I explained that months ago when she came into town and we discovered that her and him were brother and sister during the welcome to our bum-land encounter... That dude had immediately hit on her and she had said something like "I'm not into guys" which I took as meaning "yay, a new dyke friend". (I get along really well with punks, lesbians, and dykes (long story redacted)). So, I spent months urban camping, bum partnering, being all domesticish with a small shaved head girl that I thought was a dyke. Oops. Somehow, that's *so* me.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:17 PM on February 27


I once slept in my contacts (old fashioned hard lenses) and knew the moment I woke up that I had abrasions on both eyes and needed to go to the ER.

My dad did this a few times. When he goes to see a new optometrist, about thirty seconds into the first exam they invariably ask, "Did you used to wear contacts?" He invariably replies -- truthfully -- "Yes. In 1973."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:20 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Now, the most embarrassing moment I ever experienced got me on Photoshop Disasters (RIP). I was working at a costume and party supply ecommerce company, and I made a composite image, and I was not watching very closely where I was placing cut out models (in costume) for a front page ad. I ended up making a really inappropriate image of two children in costume because of accidental hand placement. (Can be seen here on archive.org)

When my coworker across the aisle turned to me and said "OMG, we're on Photoshop Disasters!" It didn't sink in yet. He then told me to look. I mean he could have shown me on his computer, but I guess was much better if I looked. I turn my chair, and pull up the URL as my stomach drops and my ears are burning. I actually don't remember much about the next few minutes? seconds? hours? Time froze so I have no idea. As I realize what happened, I get severe tunnel vision and everything starts to black out. The world was just gone for a moment as the realization that I DID THAT dawned on me.

I didn't pass out, thankful, but I did have a few moments of trying to decide if it would be better to walk out right then and there, or what kind of lie could I make up to explain how it got that way. I don't lie about shit like this, so it was really weird that was my instinct. And they were weird, impractical lies that popped into my head (I don't recall what they were, just not appropriate for any explanation). I wasn't even (consciously) worried about being fired. I just wanted the EXTREME discomfort I was feeling to go far far away.

The image was replaced and I don't think it was up more than an hour or two, replaced in about 10 minutes once we knew it was happening and cleared from our CDN in about 20. We even got a bit of a traffic boost and joked about doing it again the following year, but you know, planned and maybe not quite so bad.

But oh my gosh. I've never since felt that level of embarrassment/shame in or out of my professional life before or since. I can still remember the just raw terror I had in that moment.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:44 PM on February 27 [24 favorites]


I am not a naturally athletic, or graceful person. Coupled with the fact that I only have one eye, and no depth perception - well, me and sports do not make for good teammates. So I have several stories. Also, my head is a magnet for sports equipment.

Back in middle school, we were playing hockey. For some reason, there was a rogue puck that ended up hitting me right between the eyes. Laid me out in the middle of the gym. I woke up to the gym teacher and two of my best friends crowded over me going "she's still breathing!"

In college, my friends were playing frisbee as I was sitting to the side watching. I stood up to brush something off me, and I heard them yell "DUCK". Naturally, I turned towards them and said, "What?", only to have a frisbee fly right over my head and miss me my centimeters. It's been over 10 years and my friends STILL tease me whenever there's a frisbee nearby.

In college again, my first (and only) time skiing. I was doing ok on the kiddie slopes, and decided to follow up my friend to a "real run", as he called it. He turned left. I went straight -- straight off a bluff. I woke up strapped to a stretcher, apparently I skiied off an 8' cliff, and tumbled about halfway down the mountain before I stopped.
posted by alathia at 5:44 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


I made a Tumblr to record some of mine.
posted by saladin at 5:55 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Ok I asked Mudd Dude and he said we were actually on our way back from Northern California and stuck somewhere near Pasadena, which explains why it felt like I had been in the car for hours.
posted by muddgirl at 6:25 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


So, this weekend, I went for my first bike ride in a while (besides commutes). I decided to ride up to a state park on the other side of the mountains north of town. It's a generally nice ride along bike paths, about 20 miles each way. And then the comedy of errors began.

I took a wrong turn just before reaching the park (I have never gotten all the way there without a wrong turn). Oops number 1. Then, once I got back on track, I went under the last underpass before the park, and it turned out to be full of thick mud left over from our recent snow and rain. It was so thick I barely managed to keep my bike upright as it robbed me of nearly all forward momentum. At this point my bike and, to a lesser extent, my body, are covered with gross mud. Oops number 2.

Naturally, I decided I didn't want to come back through the underpass and the mud. So I went another way, which required going through a parking lot of a shopping center before getting back on the trail (actually, the trail I took the wrong turn onto). There was a large puddle covering the pavement on the junction between the parking lot and the bike path, so I thought "hey, perfect: I can roll slowly through this puddle and maybe rinse a little mud off of my tires."

Unfortunately, the puddle obscured the edge of the pavement. As my front wheel slipped off that edge, my bike went to the right and I went to the left, landing in two inches of frigid water.

What could I do then? I rode the 20 miles home with the right side of me and my bike still muddy, and the left side cold and soaked.
posted by egregious theorem at 6:30 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


When I was in high school I was at the grocery store with my mother, but we had split up to get finished faster. Some kids bumped me in the aisle, and I was fairly oblivious and in my own head a lot of the time anyway, so did not pay too much attention to the people snickering as I went by, until I met up with my mother and she told me that the kids had put a sticker (pulled off a melon) onto my back which said "Ripe and ready to eat" (I still get embarrassed thinking about it, all this time later.)
posted by gudrun at 7:08 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


I've told this story before, but:

You know that cartoon slapstick trope where someone is walking along and there's a rake lying down in their path and they step on the prongs of the rake in such a way that the handle comes flying up and goes whang right into their face?

Well: I was once heading into a storage closet in a theater to scope it out as a possible dressing room for someone who needed an on-the-fly midshow costume change. And for reasons I am unable to ascertain: there was indeed a rake lying right in the middle of the floor, right where I stepped into the room.

It hurt like hell, but along with it hurting I was also cracking up and marvelling "I thought this only happened in cartoons."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


I have admitted previously that I am in possession of an emergency room receipt which indicates I was treated for a self-inflicted hammer wound. To the head.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:59 PM on February 27 [20 favorites]


Once I was teaching and had a student tremulously tell me, twenty-five minutes through a fifty-minute class, that my fly was down and she could see my underwear. I looked down and sure enough, it was right down into the base of the zipper.

Sciatrix, you are not alone! I taught an entire class period that way and no one told me my fly was down and you could see my pink underwear.

Another time I was enthusiastically writing things on the board (with my back to the students) when one of my students came up and gave me a blank piece of paper, necessitating my turning around to face her, and said quietly, "I'm just pretending I have something to give you so I can tell you you have a [menstrual] pad that is working its way out of your back pocket." I thanked her profusely and quickly corralled the escaping pad!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:59 PM on February 27 [8 favorites]


....Oh gosh. I thought of one from when I was in a play, in junior high. It was a musical version of Alice in Wonderland; I played The Duchess, and had a whole big song-and-dance number with Alice, after which we spoke for a few more minutes before I then made my exit, pushing a pig in a pram ahead of me as I went. We staged it so that my exit was down a ramp center stage and then out down the center aisle of the audience itself.

This being a junior high production, the budget was pretty.....tight. My "pram" was an old bassinet with collapsible legs which had little wheeled feet. It was a little unsteady, but as long as I hung onto it with both hands to push and steer it worked. My costume was something my mother fashioned out a couple of her old prom dresses, with a petticoat she had turned into a bustle that could be fastened around my waist under the dress. However, the fastening she had was only a single hook-and-eye clasp. I also had a hat that we fashioned out of an upside down lampshade; it looked great, but sometimes was a liiiiitle unsteady on my head.

One night, Alice and I went through our dance number as usual, and then stood to have our brief chat before I made my exit. And about 30 seconds into our chat - I suddenly felt the hook and eye on the petticoat give way, and the bustle start to veeerrry slowly slide down my hips towards my legs. But it was moving slowly enough that I managed to catch it by crossing my arms very tightly over my stomach real fast. We went through the rest of our scene, me still putting on a brave face while quietly panicking.

Because....I was going to have to make my exit soon. Which meant that i was going to have to sacrifice at least one hand to push the carriage. Frantically, while we did our scene, I was trying to think of some way to subtly shed the petticoat; but that moment never came, because of course Alice and I had this scene standing dead center in front of God and everyone. (Also, I was only twelve and hadn't quite learned the art of the graceful "excuse me one moment, I need to powder my nose" temporary exit in emergencies.)

So when the time came to push the pram down....I moved one hand to my lower back to hold the petticoat up, and started pushing the pram down the ramp with my other hand, hunched over the pram with a hand to my back looking like I was having massive back spasms. Because I was only using one hand, the pram was harder to control, and was wobbling side-to-side wildly because I wasn't able to steer as well one-handed. All I could do was move down slower than usual; and I was already making this exit slow in an effort to keep my hat on my head. I crept down, the audience politely applauding my exit - and then when the front legs of the bassinet hit the lip of the ramp where it met the floor, something in them gave way and the front legs folded like an exhausted camel.

I couldn't pick it up with both hands because the petticoat would fall down. I blindly flailed at it with my one arm, trying to pick it back up and put the legs back up - while also trying to keep my hat on my head. After I struggled with it for several seconds, the audience member sitting next to where I was struggling got up and jimmied the legs back into place for me, as the audience applauded in sympathy. I was relieved, and even had enough presence of mind to say "thank you, young man!" in character.

And then I moved forward precisely three inches before the legs on the bassinet collapsed again.

....And then somehow I achieved a Zen state of "fuck it". I stared at it a second, and then crouched beside it briefly to adjust myself; while I was crouched down, I jammed my elbow against my waist to keep the petticoat in place, which freed up both hands. Then I picked the bassinet up into my hands, smiled sweetly at the audience, and carried the damn thing off, to laughter and applause. When I was backstage I pulled the petticoat out from under the dress and threw it in a corner and told the director that I would be carrying my pig in my arms for my second scene instead, thankyouverymuch.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:07 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


I have admitted previously that I am in possession of an emergency room receipt which indicates I was treated for a self-inflicted hammer wound. To the head.

I'm sorry but I am dying to know how this happened, if only because it sounds exactly like something I could do to myself as well.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:20 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I just remembered another one. I played trumpet in high school and college marching bands, which was fun and eventless except for one particular college halftime performance that involved the following:
- In the middle of the song all the band members line up on the yard lines
- We put our instruments carefully on the ground
- We march to halfway between the yard lines
- We do a ridiculous little drum-section-led dance routine that was universally (and justifiably) reviled by band members as being, in a word, dorky, but that the band director was tickled pink for having dreamed up
- We march back to the yard lines, pick up our instruments, and continue with the rest of the song
- We take a bent-knee bow at the end

Okay fine, but during the actual halftime performance, because we were wearing the twee little white cotton gloves that were part of our uniform, when I went to pick up my horn I completely failed to grip it and came up empty handed.... (I guess I should have gripped it by the husk?)

Luckily my reeling mind went into high gear and I remembered two things: (a) It was an ironclad rule that one must absolutely maintain discipline and never do anything so gauche as to, say, break ranks to go pick up a dropped horn; and (b) I realized that by chance I'd be coming back to that exact spot at the end of the song (and nobody would be in a position to trample my precious trumpet in the meantime) so that I could just furtively grab it while on bended knee before standing up with it and marching off-field. Miracle of miracles, I thought, I can actually pull this off!!

So I mimed holding a horn to my face for the rest of the routine...or would have, except that a well-meaning (imagine me gritting my teeth as I say that) fellow band member panicked, broke ranks in a glaringly obvious way to scuttle over to my horn, grabbed it, and scuttled over to hand it to me before scuttling back to their position.

*sigh* My genius is so misunderstood.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:20 PM on February 27 [13 favorites]


self-inflicted hammer wound. To the head.

I worked for a while as a skylight installer. This particular job was in an old house with age-hardened rafters, and as I was nailing in the retainer for the skylight, my hammer grazed a rafter, turned sideways, smacked the roof and rebounded into my forehead.

I am nothing if not graceful.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:57 PM on February 27 [12 favorites]


Oh shit, I just remembered the time I was being forced to go shopping for bras with my mom, and being a reluctant/embarrassed 14-year old was lagging behind and dragging my feet and grumpy and not really looking where I was going and I walked face first into the edge of a clothing rack and broke my nose.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:32 PM on February 27 [10 favorites]


Each weekday, at the newspaper I where worked during the '90s, we had a news budget meeting to decide what was going into the coming day's edition. This meeting was held in a little room into which a table and plenty of chairs had been squeezed. Tight quarters. This day, I sat as far from the door as I could. At the end of the meeting, I'm one of the last ones out, largely of necessity. I gathered a couple of handfuls of things and tripped over a chair leg. I fell into and over a few other chairs and hit the carpet. I immediately popped back up and with much gravitas announced, "I meant to do that!" Three higher-ranking editors are still in there, and there was much laughter. The boss folded himself over the table.

I left the little room with what remained of my dignity. One of my co-workers asked, "What's so funny in there?"

"I don't know."
posted by bryon at 3:55 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


You know that cartoon slapstick trope where someone is walking along and there's a rake lying down in their path and they step on the prongs of the rake in such a way that the handle comes flying up and goes whang right into their face?

When I was a kid I came upon a rake laying down and for some reason decided I would reenact those old slapstick scenes, but would catch the handle before it hit me.

It turns out that the rake handle moves faster than you would think, and nope, I didn't catch it. That one hurt both my face and dignity.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:11 AM on February 28 [11 favorites]


I was living in Malawi, in a rural area an hour outside of Zomba. It was market day, and I was wandering around the nearby Trading Centre in the heat. It was the hot, dry season--that's important. Probably 105 to 110 that particular day.

At the edge of the village I noticed what appeared to be a dead rat at the side of the road. I walked up to it. Everyone was sitting around on their porches watching me. FOR SOME REASON I kicked at the rat lightly with the tip of my sandal. In an instant, its thin membrane of skin ruptured and the rat LITERALLY EXPLODED, as boiling-lava-hot liquefied rat guts rained down on my foot. I shrieked and ran to the river to cool my feet as a group of kids howled with laughter. Also, I slipped and fell on my butt in the river. The end.
posted by duffell at 6:17 AM on February 28 [23 favorites]


Once I was teaching and had a student tremulously tell me, twenty-five minutes through a fifty-minute class, that my fly was down and she could see my underwear. I looked down and sure enough, it was right down into the base of the zipper.

Me too! Except my student waited until after the entire seventy-five-minute class, saying he would have told me earlier but he couldn't think of a non-awkward way to bring it up in the middle of class. Which is fair enough.
posted by egregious theorem at 7:39 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


I'm a Disney princess. For some reason, little animals (mice, lizards, birds...) that I've rescued from an impending death tend to cling to me afterwards in a usually cute way. So one day my colleagues and I were going to lunch, in a very busy street of a big city, and what do I spy with my little eye? An itsy-bitsy mouse scurrying on the sidewalk, in great danger of being flattened by passerbys. I squatted next to the mouse to have a better look, and, without much hesitation, the little critter jumped on my shoe, and went right into my pants' right leg. So now I'm in the middle on the sidewalk, with a mouse climbing inside my pants, inching its way up to my underwear (and what would it do once it reached my belt and couldn't go higher? Go Nineteen Eighty-Four on me?).

The mouse was now past my knee and I had three options at this point: 1) I could keep on walking as fast as possible, enter the restaurant, go to the bathroom, take off my pants and release Ratatouille there (not very nice for the restaurant though). 2) Take off my pants right now (at the risk of being caught for indecent exposure and zoophilia). 3) Start doing some sort of Techno/Fortnite dance moves, strong enough for Ratatouille to lose grip. I chose 3), and after some very long and embarrassing seconds, the mouse let it go (couldn't hold it back anymore). I picked it up an released it in a nearby garden. The mouse was pretty much unfazed by the whole adventure (unlike the one I once saved from a cat: that one kept on playing dead for a while). Toxoplasmosis is a hell of a drug if you're a rodent.
posted by elgilito at 8:07 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I sometimes have a difficult time looking back on my own embarrassing moments with enough remove to get the humor out of them, or there was something sort of dark about them so they don't make good stories. I think one of those ones that I was involved with was that time we were playing disc golf a few days before my birthday and my sister (aka Wild Arm West which is actually what she was called BEFORE this all happened) managed to toss one of the discs fully behind her, directly towards where I was standing maybe ten feet away and right into my face. Ultimately, though my nose bled dramatically, I only wound up with a pretty crazy looking black eye. My sister was chagrined but got over it. We got to spend the rest of my 50th birthday weekend either with me wearing movie star sunglasses or looking like I'd maybe lost a prize fight. It was funny because she's my sister and everything is basically funny with her and me (also I was fine), but also sort of dark because there were of course a lot of "Hey is everything safe at home?" sorts of looks/queries which is NOT funny but was also an amusing part of all of this. It was a weird birthday all around (I had shingles, which, wtf) so that part of it just added to the overall weirdness.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:15 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I don't think I've ever written this one down, so here goes.

The year is 2007. I'm at home with my extended family, watching TV. My aunt mentions that the last Harry Potter book is being released tonight, and wouldn't it be fun if we went to one of the release parties to see everyone in costume, etc.

I get very excited because now I have something to do tonight and I honestly do enjoy the books, so I run downstairs to go get dressed. However, I skip several steps on the way down, crash down on my ankle in the wrong direction, and roll off the open side of the staircase.

Wracked with pain, I call out to my family, who do nothing until my older cousin comes to the door (yelling is routine and the house is huge) and sees me and goes 'uh, I think there's a problem.' He carries me up the stairs and I go to the ER. My ankle is the size of a regulation softball.

They ask what happened and my family CANNOT RESIST telling them that I love Harry Potter so much that I ran too fast and forgot how to use stairs.

On the bright side, while I was waiting for x-rays, my aunt went and got a copy of the book for me to read.

And that's the story of how Harry Potter caused me an ankle fracture.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:53 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


It's a first date via a dating site, at a club with live music in Boston. We meet, say hi, and head inside. The bouncer cards us and I realize I left my wallet (with my ID) in my car, a 20 minute round trip walk away. Sheepishly I tell her this and literally speedwalk there and back like a madman. The date otherwise goes well*.

It's a second date and it's pre-GPS and I take a wrong turn despite her living only like 15 minutes from my place along a very easy path and I have to call her because I'm lost and tell her I fucked up and eventually I make it to her place nearly an hour late. The date otherwise goes well.

It's a third date and I managed not to fuck it up and I'm dropping her off at her place and I reach into the back seat to grab her leftovers to give her. Only after she gets out of the car do I realize that the way I reached back looked like 99% identical to as if I was going to lean in to kiss her for the first time and I didn't and what the fuck is wrong with me**? But she later agrees to another date despite me being a dumbass.

Reader, I married her.

* Much later she told me she thought I was running away after meeting her in person and was convinced she'd just paid a cover to get into a club that nobody was joining her at.

** Her best friend (who she lived with at the time) later said she wondered if maybe I just wasn't that into her because these things kept happening ...

posted by tocts at 10:11 AM on February 28 [12 favorites]


I am so clumsy and accident-prone that when my eye doctor asked how one of my corneas got such a gnarly scratch on it I legit couldn't begin to guess which incident was to blame. But my most embarrassing episode was 100% injury-free:

At 5 or 6 years old, my cousin and I were wading behind our parents, who were on a paddleboat, in a lake somewheres in upstate MI. The floor of the lake was covered in plants, so we couldn't really see where we were stepping. And somehow, I got my foot stuck -- a big branch or maybe some random garbage, I still don't know. But all I could SEE were the plants, and being 5 or 6, I started to panic and began shouting that the plants had "grabbed" me.

My mom thought I was screwing around and told me to get up on the boat, but I legit couldn't move. So I had to wait there, crying, until they could turn the paddleboat around and pry my foot out of whatever.

My mother has never stopped making fun of me for the time I thought I would get eaten by lake plants in 3 feet of water.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:54 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Also, I can check off an embarrassing number of other goofs in this thread, including running into various things, hitting myself in the head with a hammer, stepping on shovels and rakes and more.

My hitting myself in the head with a hammer incident involved working on a skateboard ramp with my brother. I was trying to knock a 2x4 out of the back of the ramp, and so I decided to swing upwards. Which worked ok until I missed the 2x4 while swinging up with full force.

Which led to me whacking myself right square in the forehead with a rather large framing hammer, which my brother found immediately hilarious, which it probably was, but that just made me really mad and even more embarrassed, which I deserved.

This thread jinxed me, too. Yesterday I had a horrible case of the dropsies and kept fumbling all the things. I dumped a whole pot of coffee on my floor, at which point I just walked away and downed tools for an hour because I was done with trying to be functional for a while.
posted by loquacious at 11:20 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


I love bowling as a kid (still do, honestly, but can't really do it well since having knee surgery a couple of years ago). Once, when I was probably 7 or 8, I was so eager for my turn that I reached *into* the covered ball return machine to grab my ball and ended up with my thumb jammed between the returning ball and the sharp, hard plastic edge of the ball return cover, with the return mechanism trying its hardest to push the ball past the obstruction blocking the exit.

Shut down two lanes, probably took 20 minutes or so to get things so that I could extract my now-swollen-and-very-very-painful thumb.
posted by hanov3r at 11:21 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Except my student waited until after the entire seventy-five-minute class, saying he would have told me earlier but he couldn't think of a non-awkward way to bring it up in the middle of class. Which is fair enough.

I mean, mine accidentally blurted it out in front of the entire class while I was in mid sentence, so you know, fair enough indeed.
posted by sciatrix at 11:33 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


And the coffee dumping incident reminded me of a barista mode workplace goof.

It's summer tourist season, I'm working a poor old two head machine and I have a line about 15 deep out the door, and I'm already back logged 6-8 orders deep and I've been at it for a solid 3 hours already.

I'm running out of room for cups and starting to have to stack them to keep track of their order. I am, as they say, deep in the weeds. This is about the time I probably set my personal record for most number of steamed milk drinks in an hour, and it was something like 40-45 orders. This is crazy fast for a solo barista on a two head machine, like pulling shots with one hand and steaming milk with the other Bruce Lee as a barista fast. (Yes, I've seen the great comic that references this, almost every barista has!)

So I'm slamming out drinks, and I one point I grab a cup and pour yet another pitcher of latte froth and I'm watching the extraction on the next set of shots I'm pulling and... why is my foot suddenly scalding hot?

And I finish off the pour and look down at my hand and there's no cup there. My foot is very hot. I'm still very confused about where the cup in my hand went and I finally realize I'm only holding a java jacket cup sleeve and I just poured steaming hot milk right through it and mainly all over and into my shoe.

At this point it dawns on me my favorite coworker is standing there staring gawking in awe with both hands over her mouth trying not to explode in laughter and customers at the front of the line are staring at me with a mix of dubiousness and concern and they had all seen the whole thing much more clearly than I did, because I was monofocused on the shots that were pulling... and now spilling out over the shot glasses and are very dead shots.

At this point all I can do is stand there and freeze for a few beats and frown at the empty coffee sleeve in my hand before turning off the pumps on both heads of the machine.

"You ok there?" Coworker finally asks, trying to stifle her laughs.

"Ow, that was really dumb. I need a break." I shrug and say, tossing the wet sleeve over my shoulder for a no-look dunk in the trash.

"You got it!" she said, and so I did.

Foot was fine, though. Barely even scalded. One of the super powers you pick up as a barista is being basically fire/scald proof to just about anything short of the live steam wands - which, danger, insta-burn because live steam is no joke. But I used to rinse off my hands and fingers in the steam dump which is just shy of boiling hot.



And throwing things in the trash like that was secretly one of my favorite parts of being a barista. I could throw almost anything into the trash from anywhere behind the counter. Empty milk cartons, balled up receipts or patty papers, straws, anything. I didn't even have to look, I could just toss an empty carton behind me over my shoulder in a perfect arc and sink it every time.

I got so good at this I used to be able to take a crushed beer can and throw it through the roughly can sized hole in the recycling station at this dive bar I used to go to. At bars or other places where I'm on familiar terms with the staff or owners I'll still throw out my own trash just by tossing it over the bar right into their trash bin, often at crazy narrow angles.

I still suck at basketball, though, oh well.
posted by loquacious at 12:01 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Which led to me whacking myself right square in the forehead with a rather large framing hammer, which my brother found immediately hilarious, which it probably was, but that just made me really mad and even more embarrassed, which I deserved.

I forgot the really hilarious part to this.

I whacked myself hard enough to leave a perfectly circular diamond-grip imprint of the face of the hammer perfectly centered in my forehead, highlighted by a cartoonish bump. So my brother kept cracking up every time he saw it.

This is the same brother that once tossed a baseball up in the air in an underhand arc only to have it come down square on my head where I was standing (for whatever reason) on the picnic table in our backyard.

And for some inexplicable reason the impact startled me so much that I yipped and sort of popped off the table and sort of leap straight out in a perfect arc and belly flop on the ground from about 3-4 feet in the air and knock the wind completely out of me.

He thought this was hilarious.
posted by loquacious at 12:45 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Which reminds me of another one - and this one's for Wordshore.

We used to go skateboarding down dirt hills, before dirt boards were really a thing. Just regular old 80s ramp and street boards.

One day I launched off of something - as intended - but ended up eating shit and landing on my ass so hard I probably chipped my tailbone or something.

Like, it hurt so bad I came up off the ground like it was a hot skillet and was feeling around my ass certain that I was going to feel my tailbone sticking out and I'm running around in circles grabbing my ass going "ow ow ow ow ow."

I don't know what happened but apparently my body's reaction to this was to start farting. A lot. Very loudly and almost continuously while I'm running around in crazy circles grabbing my ass like it's a rocketing balloon and I'm trying to get the hell away from it.

My brother thought this was hilarious, too.
posted by loquacious at 1:22 PM on February 28 [17 favorites]


Ah, self-inflicted head injuries. I once gave myself a concussion by accidentally hitting myself over the head with a chair.
posted by Ruki at 5:38 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


As an acne'd 7th grader and a voracious reader a library sale was always my happy place. Unfortunately this photo of me was printed front page above the fold in the town newspaper. If you look closely you can see the spot on my right cheek where I've scrubbed at my acne so hard that I actually took off a layer of skin.

In elementary school, my parents decided I should skip a couple of grades and of course that made me a target for the other kids. In fifth grade, a kid sitting next to me told me they'd show me a trick. I was supposed to trace a quarter with a pencil and then roll the quarter all across my face. You should try it, it's fun.

In fourth grade - 1977 - I was wearing a very fashionable polyester long sleeve blouse over a denim jumper. Polyester is pretty slippery and it would bunch up around your neck and shoulders as you moved around. I was walking down the middle aisle of the classroom towards the teacher when without warning she reached up under my jumper and pulled the hem of my blouse down to smooth it out. WTF Mrs. Hennis.

I lost a spelling bee once by spelling stage stee-a-g-e.

In 1990 or so I was going through a shoplifting phase. I worked at the Gap for a manager that I really liked and respected. One day on my break I went next door to the CVS and pocketed a dumb little plastic toy and went up to the counter to buy something else. The cashier didn't say anything but a few minutes later my manager called me into the back room and told me the CVS guy had told her what I'd done and that she was very disappointed in me. (In retrospect my biggest mistake wasn't getting caught, it was that I was wearing my Gap pin.)

I've had a half slip drop around my ankles in public at least twice.

All of my adult embarrassments involve drunken endeavors and this text box isn't large enough.
posted by bendy at 5:57 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Mine happened just last night! I lost control of my car coming round a corner (no one is sure why; police thought my back wheel might have caught on some loose stones in the road, or it could be an issue with the car; need to get it checked out today), and in trying not to drift into the oncoming lane I over-corrected and planted my car neatly in a ditch/hedgerow kind of area, wheels stuck in thick mud and the front end stuck in the hedge.

As far as accidents go I was super lucky - I wasn't hurt at all, the impact was slow and the car didn't crunch on anything, the airbag didn't go off etc. The front bonnet is scratched up a bunch and the passenger side wing mirror got torn off either going in or while the rescue guys were pulling it out again, but otherwise the car seems fine and I was able to drive it home after they'd towed it out of the mud.

This event was also a contender for the faith in humanity thread, as I had such a great experience of making a dumb mistake - 15-20% of the people who drove by stopped or slowed down to see if I was okay, including one amazing person who gave me a bottle of water. The daycare across the street let me use their bathroom. There were also a few less-good samaritans (notably the guy who started laughing as soon as he saw where my car was stuck). I think I made the day of all of the schoolchildren who drove past (including three full school bus loads, all of whom were staring out the window making the WHOA HOLY SHIT face at my car).

I also had an incredibly pleasant interaction with the cops, which was interesting as I'm generally very wary around the police. I do feel weird about how much of the fact that the interaction went really well is predicated on me being white, obviously sober, very polite and articulate, and in business dress. The nicer of the two officers also read as queer to me (rainbow lanyard & tragus piercing), which helped given that I am a lot more visibly androgynous these days. The interaction was almost a parody of rural British policing - they even offered to drive me to the next village in the police car so that I could buy snacks and drinks, then drive me back to my car while I was waiting for the rescue truck.

I still feel somewhat dumb for doing this, but pretty happy overall given that my only losses were the money I'd already paid for the therapy session I was on my way to when I planted the car in the ditch (annoying but I'm fortunate that I can eat the cost), the wing mirror and paintwork (annoying but I'm fortunate that I can eat the cost), a few hours of my time and a few shreds of dignity.
posted by terretu at 12:51 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]


This is not my story, but one I think about often. In high school, I went to Disneyland with my girlfriend, my mom, and another mom from our cul-de-sac. On the drive back, the neighbor was talking to us about how she had started dating her husband in high school, which eventually led to her talking about her relationship with his parents. To illustrate how they had always been good to her, she told us about how when she was in her early twenties, she got extremely stoned with her future husband. He had to go somewhere, leaving her alone. To this day she is amazingly prone to boneheaded mistakes, but the sheer mechanics of this situation are inexplicable (and, indeed, were not explained). Somehow her braces got stuck on a doorknob. Incoherently high and attached by the mouth to the door of her apartment, she managed to phone her boyfriend's parents, who came over together and removed her from the doorknob.
posted by vathek at 3:16 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


Just this past fall I was seaside on the last morning of vacation. I’d waited all week for swimable conditions, it was my final opportunity but seas were still rough. The sun was rising and I had the beach to myself.

I entered the water tentatively and failed to negotiate an overhead roller which tossed and tumbled me back onto the beach. Instantly, sand filled my suit. It entered pockets, panels, facings and layers, infiltrating even closed areas, most dramatically collecting in the suit’s crotch. My body was covered in sandbags which dragged the suit downward and I sported at least a pound between my legs. The sensation of so much fine, wet sand, studded with itchy bits of shell, had me reaching right into my suit with both hands to try and scoop it out as I laughed and coughed and blew sand out of my nose.

It’s unclear when the morning regulars arrived to watch the sunrise. I was trying to turn my suit crotch inside out in knee-deep water when I saw them watching silently. Waddling ashore, I declared, “Thanks! It’s been a great week!” I’d like to think the lack of applause was due to everyone having coffee in their hands.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:35 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Ohhhhhh, I know I must have told this story before, but this is a good one:

I was having my lunch at work once - at my desk, as is my habit. I'd packed a leftover tomato soup for lunch, and at some point I managed to knock the whole bowl off the desk and into my lap. And I was wearing khaki pants that day. The soup got all over; I looked like I'd just slaughtered a pig or something.

I got up, went to my boss's door, and simply announced, "I'll be in the bathroom for a while" - she took one look at me, her eyes widened and she said "absolutely, go ahead". And then I dripped my way to the ladies' room to clean up as best I could.

I grabbed a bunch of paper towels, wet half of them and soaped them up, and got to work. The wet-towels-with-soap method actually was working, but the splotches of soup were just so big and it was taking so much time, and it was so awkward getting at all the spots while I was still wearing the pants, that I realized that I'd have to take a more aggressive approach, and actually remove the pants somehow. So I ducked into a stall, removed the pants, waited until the last couple people in there left, and then raced out to a sink, wet down all the spots, soaped them up, and then ran back into the stall. And amazingly, after about three minutes, I'd managed to get the spots out! I would have big wet patches all over my pants for the next couple hours, and I'd still have to give them a proper wash, but at least I could get through the day without looking like an animal had given birth on my knees. I just needed to rinse the soapy patches out. I poked my head out of the stall, saw the coast was clear, and then raced to the sink again, juggling my pants under the faucet.

I was still standing there when the door opened a few minutes later. And that is how I ended up mooning the head of Latin American legal affairs.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:19 AM on March 1 [9 favorites]


Getting envenomated by a water moccasin was no fun.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:09 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


It was my first year of college. I had an early morning class, the dining hall was over a mile from my dorm, and I could never eat enough breakfast to sustain my eighteen-year-old metabolism. My solution was to grab a large roll of dense fruit-and-nut studded bread from the dining hall bread basket and smuggle it away in my bookbag.

One morning I was overcome by hunger while in the library. I decided I simply must eat, and damn all of the prominently posted signs saying not to consume food. But where could I eat in privacy? I made my way into the least-used section of the third-floor stacks (historiography of the Ancient Near East), peeked around to make sure no one was hooking up, and crouched down to start my snack.

Outside its natural habitat, the roll had developed an even tougher carapace, and I confess there was some gnawing involved. As I squatted there, the motion-sensor light timers went off, and the stack went dark. "Well, fuck it, I don't need to see to eat, and this makes it less likely I'll be caught," I thought.

Suddenly a graduate student approached the stacks, innocently seeking knowledge on ancient Sumeria, and was horrified to discover, as the lights flickered on, a scrawny, pale, feral undergraduate, squatted down amongst the books and gnawing on a crust of bread, skittering backward as she tried to make her escape.

Even as I fled I knew how post-apocalyptic the entire situation must have looked.
posted by Hypatia at 6:49 AM on March 1 [40 favorites]


I was biking with my friend along a small river. We discovered an old suspended footbridge - the cables and the railings were all rusty and some planks were missing. There was a two-by-six foot hole right in the middle, narowing the deck to less than a couple of feet. Of course I decided to pick up some speed and ride to the other side. As I approached the hole, I tried to veer to the right to avoid falling into it.

It turns out that when you try to turn a bike while riding on a small suspension bridge, the bridge sways to the opposite side, and since turning a bike relies on balance, I couldn't turn at all - the reflexes which keep me upright kept me also going straight ahead and into the hole.

I didn't have the time to think, I only had the time to try and grab the rusty railings, which did nothing to stop my fall but cost me the skin on my palm. Then I was in the air, rotating, going back first into the shallow water. While falling, I had time to imagine broken bottles embedded into the river mud bottoms down, with sun glinting merrily on jagged shards of glass. Luckily I must have missed them all.

Unfortunately my friend was too surprised to even take a single photo.

Oh, and anoter time, we were sitting by a fire which over the last couple of hours has grown into a respectable pile of embers about three feet in diameter, when I decided to break a particularly stubborn branch by leaning it against a stump and jumping on it. It didn't break, instead it catapulted me into the fire. To this day skin on the heel of my left hand is more sensitive to heat and touch where it hit the embers, saving me from falling bodily into the flames. I spent the night with my hand immersed in a bucket of water standing by my bed, and on the next day went to the hospital with fever and an impressive blister.
posted by hat_eater at 7:18 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Getting envenomated by a water moccasin was no fun.

Saddest 9 word story :(
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:30 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]


When my various college music ensembles (band, orchestra, etc) went on tour, one of the traditions was that each night after dinner, awards were given out for categories like the Gunner (going the extra mile to get something done) or the Turtle (for egregious lateness). The previous day's award recipient decided on the next recipient, with the award presented in the form of a humorous skit or song.

The award relevant to this MetaTalk is the Space Cadet award, given out for something clumsy or forgetful. One night on tour, I received the Space Cadet for some sort of luggage mishap, so I gave out the award the next night. I did so with a skit. I got pretty into the skit, and I didn't notice that a small child from the audience had wandered behind me. I jumped backward, bowled the kid over, and she fell down crying.


I got to keep the Space Cadet award that night.
posted by bassooner at 11:53 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


As a female high school exchange student I once accidentally joined an Austrian men’s water polo team. Sometime during the embarrassing practice, the pool staff locked the doors to the women’s locker room. The only exit I found went directly through the men’s showers, where a dozen naked men were standing in a circle, talking and shaving their balls. I put the hood up on my jacket and walked though, only to realize that my host mom had arranged for me to ride back to town with the coach. I sat on the steps outside until he finished shaving his balls and then endured an excruciating conversation on the way home about North American eagles.

For some reason I went back the next week (18-year-old me was led to believe that some more women would attend - they did not). I refused to ride home with the old man coach but instead ended up in an even crazier situation involving a 12-year-old driver that would have been less scary if I knew how to drive stick shift.

I did not go back a third time.

Later that year, the story became legend amongst the exchange students, and I was forced to tell that story to a bunch of old Austrian male Rotary Club members because they wanted to test my German language skills in public. Everyone was sufficiently horrified.
posted by Maarika at 12:41 PM on March 1 [16 favorites]


I fell out of bed a couple nights ago. I have never fallen out of bed before, at least not while asleep. The SO was freaked out. Maybe even more than I was. I am not a child. This should not happen. I guess I'll chalk it up to the deterioration that comes with old age. And maybe sleep on the floor in the future.
posted by Splunge at 12:43 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Oh fall-out-of-bed-stories! My now-wife and fellow mefite and I were staying in a youth hostel in Trondheim ten years or so ago. We shared an otherwise empty multi-bed room (it was before the tourist season). I chose the upper level and she was below, and in the middle of the night my part of the bed just gave way and I ended up sort of on top of her, splinters and all. Shaking with laughter we tried to repair, re-bend and make the bed sleepable again, finally gave up, and I moved on to another pair of beds.
No mefites were hurt during this experiment, but every time the Trondheim youth hostel comes up we dissolve in hapless laughter.
posted by Namlit at 3:23 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Hm, also in Trondheim. I work at the largest food distribution center in the Trondheim region, and 5 minutes before my and most of my coworkers's shift ends on a Friday I drive a forklift with an entire pallet of blueberries too fast around a corner. The pallet tips over. "Anyone wanna help me pick these seven hundred million berries off the floor. No? I'll still be here when you get in on monday then. Have a great weekend!"

(They did help me, and we all got an hour of overtime out of it, but yikes.)
posted by Dumsnill at 4:44 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


I was in marching band in college, in the color guard. One of our shows involved a kick-line. We were instructed to change into stretchy pants for every single practice, but as my preferred jeans were quite stretchy and I had to basically run from my prior class to make it to band practice on time, I didn't change. This was fine as my jeans were indeed stretchy. Or rather, most of my jeans were stretchy. Midway through an outdoor practice, mid-kick, I heard a distinctive RIIIIIIIP and felt an invigorating breeze between my legs. I locked eyes with my coach and she mouthed, "GO." Fortunately I had a long-sleeved shirt to tie around my waist while fleeing from the football field. Campus was fairly deserted and I don't remember even seeing anyone else up close as a sped back to my dorm.
posted by esoterrica at 5:12 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


One of my worst roller derby injuries came when I was not on skates. I was at home, getting ready to leave for practice. I usually tie my skate laces together and sling them over my shoulder to carry them. On this day, I slung them with a little more oomph than usual and smacked myself hard in the temple with one wheel. Headache, dizziness, possible mild concussion. Had to sit out practice (and explain to my teammates why I was sitting out).
posted by coppermoss at 7:15 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


In high school art class, I finished up on the potter's wheel, swung my leg up and over the wheel to get off the stool... and sunk my foot mid-calf deep into the 5 gallon "slip" bucket of watery clay.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:32 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


In college, my roommate and I, for some reason, decided to get all dressed up to... go to class. I don't know why. Not like "let's go clubbing" dressed up, like Easter-Sunday church dressed up. (Why??)

So, I am wearing a long, floral dress, pantyhose, and pumps with a low heel, and of course since we had decided to get dolled up on a whim that morning, we were running very, very late, and this was a class with a very strict attendance policy. (Perfect attendance meant you got to skip the final, and there was no way we were missing out on that!) So we were hurrying along Marlborough Street in Boston as fast as we could, all dressed up, and the heels on women's pumps can be quite slippery, and... my foot slid out from under me, and I did a very ungainly split before falling on my ass on the sidewalk, skirt hiked way up above my waist, pantyhose ripped pretty much in half, one shoe flying four feet away. Someone in a passing car actually stopped to make sure I wasn't hurt, after he saw my shoe flying through the air. (I was mostly fine -- sore leg muscles, and scrapes on my ankle and the palms of my hands, and severely bruised dignity. And we still made it to class on time!)
posted by sarcasticah at 1:14 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


Oh, God, my favorite one: at my old library job, sitting at the Reference Desk, notarizing a document for a patron. The desk was sort of normal-seated-desk height, but had a tallish... wall? around the front, with a surface at the top, so patrons who were standing had that surface to lean on or whatever. So he was standing, and I was seated, filling out my notary journal thing. He went to hand me his ID, and accidentally fumbled it, and it ended up falling on the floor by my feet. I bent down to get it, forgetting that the seat of the chair sloped a little bit at the front, and also that I was wearing very slippery pants, and slid right out of the chair and under the desk. And the chair shot backwards and crashed into a loaded book truck that had been parked behind me, which then hit the wall. I was fine, not even bruised, so I popped back up into the chair as various library staff and patrons came running to see what the clamor was. And the guy I was helping? Was distracted by his phone and didn't notice a thing.
posted by sarcasticah at 2:06 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


Way back when I spent a year teaching hi-school physics, and one of the things I bought to look the part was a nice brown leather satchel to carry my papers and books in - the kind that hangs off your shoulder on a single strap. First time I use it, I go to class and at some point realize every time I turn to face the blackboard I get a lot of laughs and giggles from the audience. In the moment I try not to think much about it and be cool & professional; later in the evening I went home to discover the dye must have not properly set in the leather, because I've been going around all day with a huge brown stain all across the butt of my jeans from where the leather was rubbing as I walked.
posted by each day we work at 5:34 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


The outside of my left thigh took the brunt of the impact and ended up swollen with the largest bruise I ever saw on anyone. To this day, my thigh has a slight swell in that area, I'm assuming due to a lot of internal scarring or something.

Feeling you.

Cycling home from a friend's a bit after midnight through city streets. It had been raining, I crossed a set of tram tracks in Smith St at an angle slightly too acute, and the wheels slipped out sideways underneath me. Came down on my left thigh with my whole weight on top of the huge bunch of keys in my left pocket: a bunch which also had a broken-away solid brass mooring ring off a dinghy attached to it, a souvenir from another embarrassing incident I might regale you with some other time.

This hurt. It hurt a lot. I unclipped from the bike, picked it up, staggered over to the kerb and waited for the pain to settle down a bit. After a few minutes it was actually getting worse, so I figured I had no real option but to get back on and try to make it home while I could still use my leg.

Naturally I was shitscared of coming off again. So with plenty of space before needing to turn right from High Street onto Cotham Road, and seeing the Cotham Road tram tracks curving off to the right ahead, I jinked ever so carefully over the left-hand pair of tracks well in advance.

As anybody with a brain in working order would instantly understand, that's a terrible plan because tram tracks don't split in half - they run both ways on both those roads. Before I had figured out that this would necessarily involve tracks converging in front of me, I was on them.

And of course I came off again, and of course I landed in exactly the same way on exactly the same spot on the same bunch of keys which of course I had not had the wit to shift into my backpack.

It was excruciating. But it was also the wee hours of the morning, mobile phones were not yet a thing, I had no money and the bike was the only way I was going to get home, so off I went again.

By the time I got home my left thigh was quite badly swollen and throbbing like a bastard, but I was completely knackered from pedalling mostly with one leg and just went straight to bed. When I woke up the next morning it looked like somebody had inserted a whole grapefruit under the skin and I could not bear weight on that leg, not even a bit. It took two weeks to heal to the point where I could begin to walk on it again and displayed quite a spectacular range of colors along the way.

That was about 35 years ago. There's still a puckered little dent in that thigh. I think a few layers of me are still stuck together in there.
posted by flabdablet at 7:26 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Yesterday: Noted hoe leaning in awkward place by the porch, thought of this thread and "wouldn't it be ironic if..."

Today: Stepped on hoe. Managed to catch handle just before being fully whacked in the face.

Two days ago: Was tending to a pan of potatoes in the oven. Heard sizzling noises. Smelled meat. Shrugged. Did it again. Wait, meat? I'm not cooking any meat. Argh, that was my bloody arm!

I can't really feel heat on my forearms and hands, likely from barista, cooking and other hot work. I didn't realize I was brushing my outer wrist directly on the upper heating coil of the oven. Apparently I smell like bacon.

The burn is slight. Barely past a first degree burn and I've got some aloe on it. It can go with the scar where I fell asleep hugging a fireplace heated pig iron brick I was using as a hot rock and slow cooked the other side of my wrist.
posted by loquacious at 3:24 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


I'm subject to minor stupid injuries, but mostly no-one sees them. The most embarrassing public accident (not injury) was when I was working in a busy office in the middle of town. I and another worker, both carrying large shoulder-bags of paperwork, were talking animatedly as we went into the building from the street. Without thinking I followed her into the same section of the revolving door, where my bag got caught in the door and we both remained stuck for about 15 minutes while the doorman wrestled to open the thing. Both of us were quite large, and wedged pretty firmly, and passers-by obviously found us hilarious.

The oddest minor injury was when I was peeling potatoes with the knife in my right hand, dropped a bit of peel, bent to pick it up and managed to stab myself quite deeply in the back of my left elbow. Still no idea how that happened.
posted by Fuchsoid at 3:57 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


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