Mistakes are essential to the human experience. Our failures teach us what doesn’t work, and enable us to grow with the benefit of valuable new insight. Mistakes can also often lead to new innovation. Penicillin, printers, x-rays, the microwave, Post-its, potato chips, and more were all “happy accidents” that ended up changing the world. If you think potato chips didn’t change the world, I don’t know what world you’re living in.
Sometimes mistakes can be a little embarrassing, and for every failure that became a famous invention, there are a million more failures that we made alone in our own homes and vowed never to tell anyone about. Unfortunately, some mistakes can even be fatal. There’s a reason your parents are always going on about seatbelts, helmets, not talking to strangers… and everything else. It’s because just one misstep has the potential to be your last. Here are some stories that could have gone a lot worse.
A father always knows his child’s… hair?
Climbed onto one of those underpasses that allow river water to flow through when I was like, 5. Got swept in the current and taken down the river. The only reason I survived is my dad saw my long hair barely under the current and jumped in to save me. - Kobo56 Those are some incredible dad instincts. Also, I’m never getting a haircut again.
It’s all fun and games until someone drops a dumbbell on your head.
Playing with the laundry chute in my childhood home when I was around 5 years old. My cousins and I took turns dropping things down the chute while someone else stood at the bottom and dodged them. For the most part it was things like washcloths, stuffed animals, a clothing item, etc. Just so happened that when I stood under the chute, my cousin dropped a 5 lb dumbbell down and I, expecting something harmless, didn't get out of the way. That ended the game real quick. I now part my hair in a way that hides the bald spot scar on my head. - mssDMA Everyone has that one cousin that just takes things too far.
This kind of M&M doesn’t melt in your mouth.
3 years old. Love M&Ms. Find blue ones behind the stove. Yum. Rat poison. - AceD3sign3r You can’t blame a three-year-old for trying to eat floor candy. But how did they even get behind the stove? Where were their parents? Maybe some mysteries are better left unsolved.
Near death by a rogue toilet.
Carrying a toilet by myself after having painted the bathroom. Got caught up in the drop cloth and fell on the toilet smashing it and a piece of the porcelain cut into my knee. My father was there with me and immediately took me to the hospital as the bleeding was pretty decent. The doctor told me that the piece missed an artery by 1/4" and that if I had been a smaller man I’d have bled out before I made it to the hospital. Being a very large man (6’2" and 350lbs at the time) saved my life. - LochNessMansterLives This would have been a tough legacy to leave. Once again, thank goodness for quick-thinking dads.
In the hot seat.I nearly fell into a f**king volcano leaning on a rope fence … I was 8-9 at the time, and I managed to catch myself on that same fence after I nearly keeled over it (I never let go of stuff when I fall). This was in Italy, hence the lack of actual safety procedures. - montyfatcat Can’t believe this really happened and it’s not a scene from Indiana Jones. Yet another great argument for never leaving the house.
If this was a movie, it would totally be a superhero origin story.
Unfortunately, this was not a movie, and this guy is totally lucky to have survived near electrocution: Many years ago I owned a pub. I went upstairs to the house area to find all the lights were off. I flicked the trip switches to turn the lights back on; which they did. I then heard running water from my co-owners fishtank in the lounge, turns out the protein skimmer had flipped over and was spilling water over the wall socket. Instinctively, [sic] (and very stupidly) went to turn off the plug and as soon as I touched it got sent flying over the back of the sofa. Don’t know how I’m still alive to this day. - exjay
Mom knows best.
Especially when it comes to wearing a helmet. Yeah, they might look a little dorky… but it’s clearly worth the few moments of embarrassment: Not wearing a helmet while on a bicycle and stupidly turning left just as a car overtook me. Somehow I only got a neat scar through my eyebrow and some torn up kneecaps from it. But the look on my mother's face when she picked me up from the hospital...That made me realise how profoundly stupid I was that day. Edit: I did make a turn signal with my arm, but the driver apparently didn't see it. He later went over to the hospital to ask if I was OK and to apologize for hitting me. - FamousSquash
That escalated quickly.
I fell down my friend's basement stairs when I was 8 (hit my head on the concrete floor) and ended up being airlifted to a major city hospital after being knocked out and still screaming. Ended waking up a couple of days later and found out I was missing a tooth and I was told that as they were putting a breathing tube in, it knocked my tooth down my throat which scared the docs more. But I was super happy cause I paid [sic] melee for the first time in the game room and ate jello [sic] for meals. Turns out that I was actually in a comatose state and gradually got worse over 48 hours until I had 0 brain activity for about 6 minutes. So I guess I did die but I didn't find out from my family till afterward, because who tells an 8 yr old that they died. - spikeflare All’s well that ends in Jello, I guess.
When a story starts with someone peeing off a cliff, there’s a strong chance it’ll end badly.
… especially when Jack Daniels is involved: Pissing off a cliff, wasted on Jack Daniels. My girlfriend at the time pulled me back by my sweatshirt, or that would've been it. - MW2713
A nearly fatal wipeout.
Tubing behind a speedboat. Pulled myself too far forward. It submarined and popped up in the air. I was flung forward and got tangled in the towrope. - readerofthings1661
This is proof that cleaning your room is far too dangerous.I remember organizing my room when I was 10 or so. I had a lava lamp on the verge of falling off my cabinet, I didn’t notice until I heard a loud shatter on my floor. For some reason, my brain thought it would be a good idea to pick up all the shards. I jabbed my foot with a huge piece of glass and passed out from the pain. Woke up in a hospital bed thinking it and realized the shard was gone from my foot (was stitched back up) and getting relieved looks from my family. Turns out when I passed out, I hit my head on the cement floor (I was living in my parents basement) and cracked my skull partially open and was bleeding profusely. I got taken to the hospital. My family thought I was dead. - Leelch
Actually, maybe all house chores are too dangerous.
Retensioning a garage door spring and the tension tool popped out. The door crashed with enough force to crack the pavement. - GotMyOrangeCrush Apparently, this is not uncommon. Be careful under garage doors, y’all.
They say weed doesn’t kill people...
...but some of the things people do while high definitely can. As teenagers we used to smoke pot in the garage in the car with it running for hours. No idea how we didn’t kill everyone in the house multiple times over. - healthyharvestdotcom
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks, I don’t care if I ever come back...
My dad got trashed and tried to jump over the fence at Yankee Stadium with his friends. He failed and an iron spike punctured him. He remembers being rushed to the hospital and bleeding everywhere. Everyone thought he was going to die of blood loss. Didn't die but he also made several more stupid mistakes such as riding a motorcycle without a helmet and breaking several ribs etc. Honestly he is still stupid and I'm surprised he hasn't died yet. - Skerivo
When a wild party ends with you waking up… in the actual wild.
Passed out in the woods after running from the cops. I was at a party in college and decided I was done so I started walking home. Got like half a mile from campus when a cop pulled over to talk to me (It was like 3 AM and my drunk ass can't walk in a straight line on the sidewalk) My instant drunk reaction to seeing the blue lights was to bolt into the woods at full speed. Naturally, I can't see what obstacles are in my way, so at some point, I had tried to either climb a fence or run through thorn bushes. Eventually, I ran head first into a tree and fell down. I had probably the most absurd thought I've ever had. "If I hold my breath the cops can't see where I am". So I did that and passed out while lying on my back in the woods. I woke up a few hours later as the sun was coming up and realized I had shredded my clothes and my face/arms looked like I had been attacked by an animal with all the scratches. The worst one being a vertical cut that went lengthwise down the interior of my forearm, starting at my wrist. This was 12 years ago and I can still see the scar from that particular cut; the rest have healed and faded but that one is still prominent. Had that been a little deeper I have no doubt I would have bled out while lying on the ground in the woods (If I didn't already die from alcohol poisoning). There were probably 3 or 4 things that should have killed me that night but didn't. - Allarius1
Protect your neck... especially when drinking near a pool.
Dove into a pool and broke my neck at the C2 level (hangman fracture it's called). I was so drunk I thought I just pulled a muscle or something so I kept partying. there's pictures of me with a bag of frozen peas on my neck grilling, taking a shot from an ice luge, etc. all while my fucking neck was BROKEN. once the disc popped out because i was PLAYING CHICKEN WITH SOMEONE ON MY SHOULDERS IN THE SAME POOL HOURS LATER, that's when I realized that maybe something was wrong. one emergency spinal fusion surgery, 5 days in the hospital, 3 months bedridden, medical discharge from the Army (RIP that career) and I'm good as new. I totally should be dead or paralyzed. - PublicDirt
There’s a reason your mom always screamed at you for not wearing a seatbelt.
Car crash at 80km/hr, I hit a car that was going through a red light perpendicular to my direction of travel came to a dead stop after hitting the back quarter panel/wheel of their car whilst they barrel-rolled three times into the nature strip... I hit the windscreen with my head because I'm 6'5" and wasn't wearing a seatbelt because I thought I was top shit. Both I and the other driver walked away unscathed which was the most surprising of all. I was taken to the hospital because of my collision with the windscreen but was released shortly after some scans that came back okay. I don't know what saved me or the other driver that day, but I thought I died for several seconds after the impact and airbags went off only to realize I was a bit dazed but generally fine, which followed with moments of disbelief and joy. - Nagotachi
Which came first, the chicken or the nightmare camping trip that almost killed everyone?
When I was in high school me and a few friends all lied to our parents and told them we were spending the night at each other's houses. What we had really done was backpacked up a snowy Idaho mountain in the middle of winter without telling anyone where we were going. We were all fairly inexperienced in winter backpacking. The friend in charge of bringing food brought chicken he'd cooked at home so we could eat it cold in case we couldn't start a fire. Luckily I'd brought a can of chili and didn't partake in the chicken… - joebenman There's a lot more to this story after the jump, but TL;DR: The group got super sick from eating raw chicken, had to find their way down a frozen, snowy mountain, and then got in trouble when they got home.
Stranger danger is no joke.
Young, carefree, and narrowly escaping death. The good ol’ days.
One time when I was young and carefree I was riding a motorcycle for maybe the second time, like 30 mph, and just had some wires in my brain misfire. I was like, 'I wonder what would happen if I crossed my arms and held the left handlebar with my right hand the right with my left?' I'll tell you what happened. I just narrowly missed oncoming traffic and smacked right into a wall. - KnuckledeepinUrethra
All-terrain vehicles don’t make a great alcohol chaser.
“Rolled an atv at night very drunk and somehow didn’t break my neck, sold mine and the quad I was fixing for my brother the next week." - meatwoodflac27 Sounds like it only took once for this rider to start playing it safe.
Not your typical Christmas story.
Christmas Eve many many years ago and I couldn't sleep so I took two sleeping pills, was impatient so I decided to take two more heavy duty allergy medication on top of the sleeping pills. Being a young, naive boy, I had no idea of the consequences of mixing medicine like that. That’s maybe 3x the normal dosage for a 12-year-old. I felt extremely "off" for the following week or so. - PoontangSaints_69
A key takeaway from these stories is to never mix alcohol and steep cliffs, as fun as that might sound.
Trying to climb a slippery cliff face whilst stoned and being more preoccupied with not spilling some cheap alcohol. About 30 feet up I slipped and slid, stopping about a foot from the edge. And I spilled my alcohol. - wiggaroo
A person with this many near-death experiences should really just write a book.
I grew up in the rust belt, too many to mention. Playing in the industrial ruins, I've smoked pot inside an abandoned coal mine, slept in a beehive coke oven, jumped off barge loadouts to swim in the river, the list goes on. That I'm alive is nothing short of luck. - faceeatingleopard What is a beehive coke oven? Do I want to know??
Who among us has not jumped into the deep end without knowing how to swim?
When I was four I went to a hotel swimming pool with my brother and I said I could swim so I jumped in the deep end like any four years old but then I started drowning my ten-year-old brother jumped in and saved my ass. - jj700991
Construction can be a dangerous job.
Cutting a piece of plywood on sawhorses with a skill-saw that had the guard wedged up. Of course, that piece of plywood broke before I was finished cutting. The saw fell and landed blade side up still running and I fell on to that. My arm saved my face from getting Sawchucked. - goblu33
You had me at knife-rocks.
Day hiking Mt Rainier around the Sunrise area. I went off the trail and started to walk up a slope of sharp, broken rocks. (I mean, the edges were like dulled knives.) I was half way up, and a big chunk of ground started to shift under me. Then it looked like the entire hillside started to slide. I freaked out and ran sideways as fast as I could, hearing this wall of knife-rocks slide down behind me. - asdf072 The next time someone invites me to go hiking, I’m reading them this story.
The Jack Black effect.
17 years old, driving down country roads at like 2 am with a friend. We had just left the movies seeing The Pick of Destiny. Went and bought the soundtrack right after and we were blasting the cd, and I was driving like a maniac. My car was older so the speedo only read up to 85 but it was pinned the whole time. I didn't see a turn and there was about a 8ft drop off right next to the road. Jumped over it and ended up in the middle of a field. After we calmed down we went and looked and my car split right between 2 trees, hitting either one would've killed us both, we didn't have seat belts on. - iiitsbacon
An accidental game of Russian roulette.
Buddy of mine cocked back a shotgun thinking it was empty, pointed it at my back, pulled the trigger. Nothing. His dad came in the room fuming at his son, took the gun, shot a hole through the garage door. It misfired. - Blown_Resistor
Mom literally always knows best.
My mom took me to the hospital by force (i didn't want to go) because I had a pretty big fever. Turns out, i had a seizure at the hospital that night and i got moved to urgency. Turns out i had Salmonella and i would've died if my mom hadn't taken any precautions that day. Had I not gone, I probably would've died while sleeping. - ChepeSV_ Thank goodness for the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, or supernatural forces that protected all these insanely lucky people. Be careful out there, everyone.