Accidents happen, as Forrest Gump once observed in somewhat more colorful terms. To err is human, but some boneheaded blunders are so egregious that the only reasonable thing to do, it seems, is to laugh to keep from crying. People from all walks of life make gag-worthy gaffes, many of which are unintentionally amusing—or would be, if they didn’t cause inconvenience, pain, humiliation, illegal expenditures of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and worse. As these ten incredibly ironic accidents prove, some mistakes are bigger than others, not to mention costlier, in one way or another.
10 Windows Update Mistakenly Sabotages Its Own Products
The Windows Insider Program releases works in progress, or “builds,” to techies who just can’t wait to get their hands on the latest, if not always the greatest, Microsoft Windows 10 features. All Microsoft asks in return is feedback from program participants concerning the previewed programs.
Sound too good to be true? In a manner of speaking, insiders found it was, when a Windows 10 update released exclusively to them in 2017 effectively sabotaged the company’s own product, causing some “issues” for the Insider Program’s volunteers. The recently released build, identified as number 16212, was never intended for release, even to insiders. It was an in-house project that somehow slipped through the cracks. Microsoft’s solution? Affected reviewers should wait for the next update or use Microsoft’s Recovery Tool to get back on track.
Windows Mobile insiders weren’t able to update their smartphones. When they tried, the update caused their phones to reboot in an endless loop, restarting over and over again. The only way they could break the loop was to unplug their phones from the Internet while the update was in progress. Otherwise, they’d have to use the Windows Recovery Tool to reset their phones, which would result in the loss of all their personal files.
We can only imagine the Insider Program volunteers’ feedback regarding Microsoft’s incredible gaffe.
9 Waitress Inadvertently Spikes Cop’s Drink With Cocaine
If he hadn’t been out of uniform, maybe she’d never have been busted. Unfortunately for her, the police officer was off duty when the Chattanooga waitress inadvertently spiked his water with a bag of cocaine in 2017. Jekievea Monchell Yearby’s mishap got her arrested on charges of assault, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The officer of the law called his colleagues to the scene, and they watched the surveillance video of the incident with the restaurant’s manager.
Caught red-handed, so to speak, Yearby admitted the bag of cocaine was hers, as was its twin, secreted in her bra. She’d accidentally dropped the drug in the officer’s glass of water when she’d served him. She said she doesn’t take drugs and isn’t addicted to them, but she does have other problems. Not only was she arrested, but she’s also now unemployed.
8 Stuntman Accidentally Punches ‘Spider-Man’
“Spider-Man” says it was his fault he got hit in the head. His Spidey sense must have been on the fritz, although the superhero blames his peripheral vision. Actually, it was his alter ego who took the blow for him—not Peter Parker but actor Tom Holland. The 21-year-old thespian was filming a fight scene, and his adversary, gigantic metal gauntlet in hand, let Holland have it.
The actor was supposed to dodge the blow, but he said he never saw it coming. His vision was restricted, and he lacked peripheral vision entirely. At first, Holland blamed the stuntman, but he quickly realized it was his own fault. The blow looked good on film, the actor admitted, and he expressed hope that it would make into the final cut of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
7 Mom Bakes Phallic Cookies For Her Kid’s Birthday Party
The proud mom intended to bake her one-year-old bundle of joy cookies shaped like the number “1,” but something went way wrong. It’s hard to know exactly what she was thinking, but the cookies came out of the oven shaped more like phalli than ones. “I don’t think they came out right,” her husband quipped. The cookies were, in fact, not just phallic in appearance, but ithyphallic (the state opposite of flaccid).
The husband posted a photo of his wife’s confectionery calamity on a website, generating some “predictably crude comments,” but some of the site’s visitors also offered baking tips that should come in handy for baby’s second birthday celebration.
6 Rhode Island Unwittingly Legalizes Prostitution
Although streetwalking, like pimping and trafficking, continued to be illegal in Rhode Island after 1980, when state legislators revised the law against prostitution so it wouldn’t be broad enough to “infringe on First Amendment freedoms,” prostitution itself became legal. Legalizing the practice had been unintentional, however. Legislators had unwittingly deleted the part of the statute declaring prostitution to be illegal.
As a result, prostitution was no longer a crime, as frustrated police officers discovered when they conducted Operation Rubdown, a sting operation against the vice. It wasn’t until six years later that legislators corrected their error, and prostitution, once again, became a crime in Rhode Island.
5 Kodak Accidentally Discovers Atomic Bomb Tests
In 1945, when customers began to complain that the X-ray film they’d bought from Kodak bore “black exposed spots,” or “fogging,” Julian Webb, a physicist in Kodak’s research department, thought the fogging might have resulted from accidental exposure to radium in the cardboard and paper the company used to pack the highly sensitive film. The salvaged packaging materials had been made in a wartime factory which also worked with radium. Perhaps it had contaminated the X-ray film.
It had not, Webb discovered. The problem had originated from a production run of strawboard, a stiff material used to separate sheets of film. The strawboard contained a type of radioactive material Webb had never seen before: Cerium-141, a fission product of nuclear bombs. His 1949 report on the matter concluded, “The most likely explanation of the source of this radioactive contaminant appears to be that it consisted of wind-borne radioactive fission products derived from the atom-bomb detonation in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.”
Two years later, when Kodak threatened to sue the US government over the “considerable amount of damage” to their products as a result of the nuclear tests, the parties agreed that the Atomic Energy Commission would notify Kodak in advance of when and where atomic bomb tests would be conducted. In exchange, Kodak would not divulge this information. Kodak had accidentally discovered the government’s atomic bomb tests, but the truth remained top secret.
4 Demolition Team Mistakenly Destroys Wrong Home
In Maryland in 2017, the Baltimore City Department of Housing condemned a three-story row house after inspecting it. They had received complaints from neighbors that the residence was unsafe because of its bowed wall and a crack between it and its adjacent row home. It was so unsafe that it was slated for emergency demolition.
City contractors went to work, pulling the building down. In the process, part of the roof of the building collapsed, falling onto the adjacent row house, damaging it beyond repair. As a result, the city condemned it, too, characterizing it as “an imminent danger.” Tyler Banks, who owned the damaged row house, had planned to renovate it. Now, he says, he will rebuild it. The city hadn’t notified Banks or any of the other neighbors of the demolition.
3 Professor Unintentionally Shoots Himself In The Foot
In 2014, an unidentified professor at Idaho State University shot himself in the foot when the small-caliber handgun he carried in his pocket accidentally went off while he was teaching a class in the physical science building. The professor had a concealed-carry permit. The incident was reported to the Public Safety office, and the injured professor was taken to a local hospital, where, after receiving medical treatment, he was released.
The professor was allowed to bring his gun to school as a result of legislation signed by Governor Butch Otter. Although the legislation was opposed by most students and educators, the National Rifle Association, a “powerful interest group” in the state, supported the bill.
2 Girlfriend Accidentally Notifies Boyfriend She’s Cheating On Him
I’m literally so anxious right now . . . I’ve been seeing this guy behind Jordan’s back . . .
Zoe thought she was sharing a secret with one of her friends. Instead, she accidentally sent her self-incriminating text message to her boyfriend of two years, Jordan McNelly, explaining how she intended to keep a date with her boy toy the next day, a plan that was endangered when she discovered Jordan, who was “suppose to be at work,” texted her with a message informing her that he had the next day off.
1 SWAT Team’s Raid On Wrong House Ends In Shootout
Mistakes made by police can end in tragedy. In Minneapolis in 2007, a SWAT team armed to the teeth stormed a terrified family’s two-story home. The team, acting on false information from an informant, believed they were raiding the lair of a violent offender. The team had hit the wrong house, all right—in more ways than one.
At almost 1:00 AM, Vang Khang was fast asleep, when his wife awakened him, and Vang, believing his family to be under attack by armed thugs, grabbed his loaded shotgun and fired through the master bedroom wall, striking two of the officers outside the room. Fortunately, their vests and helmets protected them. Thinking themselves under attack, the police returned fire, but no one was injured. Vang’s 12-year-old son told his father, who is Hmong and didn’t speak English, that the men Vang thought were thugs were actually police officers, and Vang stopped firing.
Vang was arrested but later released. No charges were filed against him. Police Chief Tim Dolan later apologized for his officers’ mistake. Vang said, “Things could’ve been very tragic.” Fortunately, for him and his family, they weren’t.
Gary Pullman lives south of Area 51, which, according to his family and friends, explains “a lot.” His 2016 urban fantasy novel, A Whole World Full of Hurt, available on Amazon.com, was published by The Wild Rose Press. An instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he writes several blogs, one of which is Chillers and Thrillers: A Blog on the Theory and Practice of Writing Horror Fiction.