How Stupid Can You Be?

October 10, 2011 6:58 p.m.

Here’s what I want to hear about. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done? Just plain stupid — wtf was I thinking, thing you’ve done? Why? No reason in particular. I’m just curious and I’d like to share some of your stories — initials only of course. Now, to be clear, I’m not looking for major life decision dumb or tragic dumb. So if you spiralled into drug addiction and destroyed your marriage, no. This is not remotely meant to belittle or make light of that. But that’s not what we’re looking for in this case. We’re looking for just really dumb, make you drop your jaw but hopefully we can get a laugh out of it in retrospect kind of dumb. And what were you thinking?

So with that introduction here’s mine.I don’t remember the exact year. I think I was probably sixteen or seventeen — maybe 1985 or ’86. And I’m out with my friends, I think going to a Halloween Haunted House or something. There were some girls with us from another High School. So that added an element of possibility to the evening.

Now I’ve never smoked cigarettes. But I do very occasionally smoke a cigar these days and at this point if memory serves I occasionally smoked a pipe (yep, no idea …) So we’re out heading to the Haunted House. And we stop for gas. And I’m filling up my tank and I figure, hey, why not light up?

So I take out my pipe — or maybe it was a cigarette? the whole pipe memory is sort of shaky for me. But I am certain that whatever it was I tried to light it up while the tank was filling.

Now, few moments go by.

Then the slacker looking 20-something in the pay box comes barreling towards me from across the pump stations screaming “Du-du-du-du-du-du-du-du-dude dont’ light matches here!!!!!! Don’t. Don’t just don’t.”

And I’m like, “Really? Sorry, didn’t know. Totally. Whatever you say.”

So what was I thinking? I remembered this tonight when I was filling up the tank of the family car at the end of a long weekend. For whatever reason, despite being almost an adult at the time I think I’d just never heard that you couldn’t light a match at a gas station. And I think I figured they had the technology down well enough that a stray match couldn’t just blow the whole place up. I distinctly remember being a surprised by the whole thing in addition to feeling kind of stupid. So it wasn’t that I was being reckless and to the best of my recollection it wasn’t a matter of being thoughtless either. I just didn’t know. New fact. And I guess it could have been the last fact I ever learned. But luckily it didn’t turn out that way.

What’s your stupid story?

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: