Every Monday we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:
What’s the Dumbest Thing You’ve Done to Yourself Lately?
Rules are simple: everyone does stupid things and everyone does things that aren’t in their own best interest, but when have you last combined the two mistakes to form a delicious fusion mistake? You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts.
I went to Dallas last weekend on a last-minute trip. I booked the tickets just a few days before leaving because I originally wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to go or not. In my haste to do so I apparently booked a trip that left Chicago on February 20th and returned from Dallas on March 24th. I discovered this when the helpful woman at the Spirit Airlines desk alerted me to what month it is. Turns out that I don’t know what month it is, and Delta Airlines was happy to take $200 from me to fix my stupid mistake. I briefly considered lying when retelling this to make myself look better, but no, I sincerely just booked the stupidest plane ticket of all time. No need to sugarcoat it. I can’t believe I can dress myself (most days, kinda, debatable).
I’ve done some stupid stuff in my life. Most of it as a result of drinking. But since I’ve slowed that down and started to become an adult, my dumbest thing I did was probably go through this ridiculous Chicago winter without a hat and gloves. I got a new winter coat courtesy of my girlfriend and I never decided it would be necessary to cover my hands and head for the rest of winter. Which was really smart, because it’s February 26th and we STILL had subzero temperatures when I left the house this morning. Definitely not the brightest move in my book, but now it’s nearly March and I’m too stubborn to get them at this point.
Recently, shit got real, and I started smoking again. Worst. Mistake. Ever.
Thrillist put out a list of the best pizza places in Chicago by neighborhood and I was dumb enough to read all the idiot fucking Yelp reviews about them. Yelp reviews are the smallest step above right-wing blog comments sections except I rely on Yelp for restaurant ideas while comments sections are mostly avoidable. I read this one particular review that gave a place two stars because it wasn’t as good as the pizza they grew up with in NYC and what they had when they traveled to Italy. The person that wrote it should have their Yelp posting privileges revoked by court order, their computer thrown off the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the pieces of the computer baked into a thin crust pizza they can shove up their ass.
I think if there was a way to win the tough question I actually may win this one. The dumbest thing I did to myself happened right before I came home from Korea and I was going to my new job to maybe meet my new employers. I was cleanly shaven and honestly fresh to death, as they say, but I had one problem… My nose. Specifically, my nose hairs had grown to unruly lengths as my trimmer had broken and I hadn’t picked up another one. I was alone in my apartment and — I have no idea why I thought this was a good idea — I decided that the best way to to handle the problem was to channel my inner military tactician and “burn the fields,” so to speak. I grabbed a lighter and proceeded to burn the nose hairs in one nostril and then, as the smell of seared hair filled my nasal passage, I dropped the lighter and said “What the hell is wrong with you? Are you an idiot?” Luckily, I managed to hit only the nostril and didn’t sear off my eyebrows, but I had the smell of cooked nose hairs for a few hours to remind me that spending that much time alone can be dangerous to your health.
Of the myriad dumb things I’ve done to myself recently, I’d have to say pissing off the checkout lady at my regular Walgreens takes the cake. I simply asked if they had more iced tea, but after ten minutes of searching, she said she could look in the back. As I was on my way to school, I blurted out, “No thanks, I’m in a hurry.” I realized as I said it that I had officially pissed her off. A blizzard passed between us in those ten seconds following. Fuck, I thought. So now I have to go to Walgreens the night before, when all the weirdos are out.
I recently went to a movie downtown. Finding parking in DC is usually mildly time-consuming, not terrible. I found a likely spot, left my car, and walked away as I pulled up the parking meter phone app. When I clicked “pay,” the program said “parking not available in this location at this time.” I have no idea why this information simply made me shrug my shoulders and keep walking to the movies, but it did. Come time to go home, my car is gone. My wife calls the number on the parking meter, and the dispatch lady tells us it was deposited at 10th and G, a block away from where we are standing. We walk down a ways, find it, and there’s a 100 dollar ticket for parking in a rush hour lane, a 100 dollar charge for the tow, and a pink sheet itemizing the damage the tow truck did to my car. You know the amazing scene in Forrest Gump where he tells Jenny that he’s not a smart man, but he knows what love is? The first part of that, only the first part, was playing on repeat in my head for a while after that night.
The dumbest thing I’ve done to myself lately was to take what I like to refer to as an “unfamiliar bus.” The bus is terrifying to me, but I figured what the hell, I can do this. I decided that I would take a bus route home from work, rather than the train, so I could stop off at a Best Buy to get a new video game. I had the entire thing planned out hours beforehand (I Googled several routes) and knew what I was going to do. Then I ended up on the wrong bus. So I got off after one stop and got on another one. It was also the wrong bus. Five minutes later I realized this and got on another bus. Spoiler alert: It was not the right bus. After a total of five buses I got where I was going. The best part of the story is that, at 30, I got this lost trying to buy a Donkey Kong game. At the very least, I earned the adult equivalent of a participation ribbon.