Let's face it: We all have moments when we space out.
But these moments are especially hilarious when they happen to people whom we otherwise assume to be super intelligent. Note: Just because someone is intelligent doesn't mean they're incapable of overlooking the simplest and most obvious solution!
People lined up to share their stories after Redditor Metamule asked the online community, "What is the most complicated way you've seen a smart person solve a simple problem?"
"I set up an experiment..."
I set up an experiment with my ex-roommate when I was moving out.
She was needing to grab something off a shelf in the garage so I could move something that was mine.
I placed a ladder right next to the shelf, hoping she'd use it and it'd be easy for her to find. Her brother bet that she'd actually get a chair from the kitchen. My brother bet she'd get my step stool from my car outside (she knew it was there because she put it there).
She actually went and got a little milk crate from her bedroom, at the other end of the house, to use as a step stool. Nobody saw that coming.
"One cake was supposed to..."
My mom makes cakes for friends and coworkers. I help with decorations. One cake was supposed to have a tree drawn on it in icing but Mom didn't have brown food coloring. We spent over an hour trying different color mixes before settling on orange with a little black. The next day after delivering the cake we realized that we could've used chocolate icing.
"I was living..."
I was living with my then boyfriend and his father, both with degrees in engineering and all that. One day the big chest freezer packs in, after being neglected for years and building up tons of ice (none of this self-defrosting luxury back then). Once all this started to defrost there was a problem, where to put the big lumps of ice? I am a fairly practical type, so I suggested throwing it in the garden and the problem will solve itself, as the temperature was mild. This was met with horrified expressions of what would the neighbors think. So next I suggested the bath tub, idea which was also scoffed by these supreme beings. After that I gave up and watched quite bemused as these supposedly intelligent guys got out black bin liners and put the melting ice in and threw them out to the wheelie bin... I dunno, I just feel like there could have been a simpler solution here?
A former neighbor had an upright freezer in his basement that was not self-defrosting. Twice per year he'd ask to store his frozen food in our frost-free freezer while his defrosted.
The guy's "method" was to unplug his freezer, leave the door open for several days, and let the water run all over his basement floor, creating a mess that lasted for days.
Finally, I suggested that he store his frozen food in insulated bags then use a hair dryer on the inside (unscrewing the drain plug in the rear of the unit, allowing the melting water to flow into a catch basin).
Voila - problem solved! The entire thing in under one hour instead of several days.
"I see variations on this theme..."Giphy
I'm a (good) software developer, I see variations on this theme pretty much all the time. One from last week:
There were two radio buttons on the webpage.
Dude looped through all the elements of the page, then in that loop looped through all the elements that were inputs, then in that loop looped through all the radio buttons, then checked the name, then checked if they were selected, then checked if they were not selected, then determined if they were selected do one thing, then determined if they were not selected do another thing.
When all he had to do:
Is A selected? Do this. Otherwise do that.
"I had a buddy..."
I had a buddy in high school who was a fantastic piano player. He could play anything by ear after hearing it once. Which is why it surprised me that during band class he kept asking about the key signatures in music we were reading for the first time. (For those of you who don't/can't read sheet music, a key signature is like a formatting guide for the piece.)
It turns out that instead of reading key signatures like everyone else, he would count the number of sharps/flats in the key signature and then compare that number to the circle of fifths, which he had memorized. This usually took him a while, so he'd ask me because I could "read them faster".
"So they give a test."
I didn't witness it personally, but the story has always made me laugh: My dad worked as, basically, a stationary engineer for a large automotive factory. He repaired the machines that made the smelting/iron pouring processes possible.
Anyway, for whatever reason, the plant changed some policy and brought in these huge tanks of (I think) hydrochloric acid and my dad and the guys he worked with had to take a class on what happened if there was a leak. Like, how to patch the tank, how to put on this like hazmat suit and respirator, etc.
So, they give a test. Dad writes down one sentence and hands it to the instructor.
"Check direction of wind and run."
"He stared at me..."
My room mate spilled some detergent on the washer lid. It was open and upright so it went inside the bottom bent edge portion of the lid. He was using a small spoon to scoop it up and put in to the clothes. I told him to take one of the dirty clothes, wipe it off and put the cloth back. He stared at me and burst out laughing.
"He literally was trying..."
This is an oldie, but I went to a university known for its engineering program. Back in those days the best Internet connection available on campus was via a 19200 baud modem built into the phones (you know, the kind that sit on a table or desk). In most cases you'd have to go buy a serial cable to connect to your PC (9 pin female on one end going to the PC and 25 pin male on the other going into the phone).
Most folks could handle it. Guy across the hall comes over to ask for help. Him and his roommate both studying to be engineers. I go over to find his roommate with a pair of pliers -- trying to reshape the phone side of his cable so that it would fit on the phone. (For those unaware, these things are 2 rows of pins, 13 on top 12 on the bottom, so it's slightly trapezoidal). He literally was trying to plug it in upside down and was going to bend the plug end to make it fit.
"What did I do instead?"
Graphic designer here. Linked graphic was completely the wrong colour when exported to PDF. Changed colour setting and all that. Nope. Still green when it's meant to be red. This graphic is linked to other documents and it's fine there.
What I should have done is made a copy of the graphic and save it as a jpg and relink it throughout the document. 1-2 mins max.
What did I do instead? I recreated the 64 page document.