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The Best Examples Of Someone Going From 'Genius' To 'Idiot'

Reddit user saigalaxy asked: 'What’s the biggest example of from “genius” to “idiot” there has ever been?'

confused man in blue t-shirt

Sander Sammy on Unsplash

My Father was considered a genius.

At 16 he graduated high school as Valedictorian, joined the United States Navy as soon as he turned 17 then was promptly recruited by Admiral Hyman Rickover's team converting the Navy from diesel to nuclear power.

He served as a nuclear and electrical engineer on naval vessels after the conversion project ended, then as a reactor inspector for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after retiring from the Navy.

He also needed a full time babysitter in order to survive. Things like paying bills, buying groceries, feeding himself all escaped him. He lacked any semblance of common sense.

Really smart people doing very unsmart things isn't uncommon.

And sometimes a person is labeled a genius who's really an idiot with good brand marketing.

Reddit user saigalaxy asked:

"What’s the biggest example of from 'genius' to 'idiot' there has ever been?"

Gerald Ratner

"Gerald Ratner—made two ill-thought statements during a speech in 1991 in which he called his own products crap and lost half a billion GBP (1991 GBP at that!) off the value of his company overnight!"

"'Costs less than a prawn sandwich from marks and spencer, and probably lasts just as long'.”

“'People say, how can you sell it for such a low price, I say, because it’s total crap!'.”

"He said this to a room with a high number of journalists which took the story and ran with it. After this, anyone buying anything for a gift for a loved one from one of Ratner’s stores branded themselves as cheap, so sales plummeted.

"He was ousted as chairman within a year and they had to change their name!"

"Shooting your own company in the foot like this has since became known as 'the Ratner effect' or 'doing a Ratner'."

~ Taran345

Kary Mullis

"The guy that invented polymerase chain reaction (PCR)—which was ground breaking in early DNA research, got a Nobel Prize, though most probably remember it from the Covid days—went off the rails, denied that HIV caused AIDS even after it was scientific consensus and spent his time talking to a glowing racoon in the forest at night."

~ Lawsoffire

"The whole story behind him coming up with PCR was about him driving around San Diego while on an acid trip and while going through traffic he pictured DNA unwinding."

"Dude definitely took way too many drugs."

~ ChesterComics

"I've heard from people who worked with him that he was always pretty out there, did a lot of work drunk or high in lab even when a graduate student and post doctoral."

~ erehin

Linus Pauling

"Linus Pauling. He went from being a preeminent chemist and biochemist to a quack who wrote books claiming that megadoses of vitamin C cured all disease and was the key to an insanely long life."

~ battleofflowers

"He went on to promote crazy Vitamin C supplements that you just peed out."

"If you're taking Vitamin C for a cold, it's probably because of him and peer-reviewed research shows as long as you're not Vitamin C deficient, it's useless."

~ adenovir

John McAfee

"John McAfee. Not sure of the genuis part, but the downfall was legendary."

"He wrote and marketed the first commercial antivirus software after cutting teeth at NASA, Univac, and Xerox as a coder. Might have peaked around 100 million dollars."

"Then he sold his stake, told everyone to uninstall his company's product, retired, got into recreational drugs, lost tens of millions, possibly murdered a man in Belize...ran for President of the US, and then was arrested in Spain for US tax evasion."

~ Worried_Place_917

Elizabeth Holmes

"Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos."

~ Random-Username7272

"She went all in on 'fake it til you make it' until enough people asked tough questions and it became obvious she was just faking it."

~ MossyHarmless

"Simple, it was pure hubris. Elizabeth Holmes, who didn't have a degree in any sciences, let alone a PhD didn't believe the experts when they told her what she wanted was physically impossible to achieve."

"She thought that she was gonna prove all of them wrong by duping lots of people out of their money and throwing it into her company. Then throwing money at lawyers to intimidate whistleblowers into fearing for their lives."

~ sharraleigh

"This is one of the situations where anyone with a science background looked at what that company promised and realised it was all a mirage."

"'We can fit the operation of a whole lab, and tests that take atleast a day into a little box, and it can do it all in minutes!! Please invest'."


~ Konnichiwagwann

Elon Musk

"Even now that it's become more accepted to say Musk is an idiot, people still get incredibly offended when I compare him to Elizabeth Holmes even though 'autopilot' is clearly the same sh*t as Holmes' Edison."

"His other promises are also bullshit, but FSD is very much so Edison where the realistic timescale is anywhere from a decade away to literally never, but that hasn't stopped him from saying it's coming this year every year for the past 6."

~ Mezmorizor

"This is pretty much how a lot of people look at Musk's claims but thousands of people will get offended when you say it."

~ dbag_darrell

"Elon Musk comes to mind immediately. Well, he was probably an idiot the whole time but he had the veneer of a genius for a while."

~ crispier_creme

"I'll give him credit for his personal branding when he first became a household name. He had most of us fooled. I remember telling my wife, 'This dude is a genius! He's going to get us to Mars!'."

"Then he started posting on Twitter."

"And then I found out who he really was."

~ keep_it_kayfabe

"I was fooled as well. I can remember the exact time the veil started to lift too."

"It was when he called that cave diver a pedo just because they didn't use Elon's dumb idea for rescuing those kids in Thailand. It was all downhill after that."

~ Sabatorius

More on Musk

"Musk should be an example to never trust a hype man. Regardless of how sucessful they are, they are at the end of the day just a face to the actual work being done by hard working and intelligent people."

"People like Musk don't really do anything."

~ TacticalSanta

"He's only smart enough to hype someone else's vision and have other people complete it but then he takes all the credit, making it seem like he does all the work."

"For example, he keeps saying he founded Tesla when he didn't join until a year after it was up and running. And even then he joined as an investor not as an engineer or anything like that."

"He's constantly spouting his political opinions on Twitter as though they were facts and he's even getting involved in geopolitics by cutting crucial internet access to Ukraine when they need it the most."

"And speaking of Twitter, he had to eat his words when the SEC forced him to buy the platform after he kept trying to get out of it."

"Now 'the genius' is stuck with a 40 billion dollar company that's losing value because of his mismanagement and can't turn a profit, no matter what idiotic policy change he implements."


"Why on earth would you remove the brand name off a brand you paid 40b for? The name Twitter, and Tweet, has value so you discard it for a name that will only ever have the suffix 'formerly Twitter'."

"It's like buying Coca Cola and changing it's name to X—it devalues the brand."

~ Monday0987

"Nah, he doesn't even have the vision. He just had money and says, 'let me get in on this'."

"Legit all his own ideas have been terrible. Hyperloop? A tunnel in which you can ride in your Tesla."

"Cybertruck? Looks terrible and he wants the metal panels to be at a smoothness that's physically impossible to achieve."

"Twitter? Well, just look at how big the dumpster fire became after he threw gasoline on it."

~ panatale1

William Shockley

"William Shockley led the team at Bell Labs that invented the transistor. That breakthrough yielded portable radios and hearing aids, and made computer microchips possible in the decades that followed."

"He essentially allowed computers to go from filling a room in a building to eventually fitting in a desktop and then in your pocket."

"He received a Nobel prize along with his team, and then spent the rest of his life spewing racism and eugenics garbage."

~ DoctorGarfanzo

"Oh, the BEST part is he wanted to set up sperm banks where people like him (the 'smart' ones) could donate and then women from the 'lesser' classes would be able to get some good smart boy juice."

"He was so full of himself he was overflowing."

~ The_Bred_Loaf

Rudy Giuliani

"Rudy Giuliani went from 'the man who saved NYC' to 9/11 'America's Mayor' to henchman sidekick—a la Renfield or Igor—overnight."

~ Yagsirevahs

"He was the media darling to win the 2008 Republican nomination. Turns out, people just didn't like him and he had to drop out of the race."

~ kevkos

Lech Walesa

"Lech Walesa—he posts the stupidest sh*t you could imagine on social media, always speaks about himself as a sole savior of the entire human race, everything, EVERYTHING is happening thanks to him."

"He is posting this on a Polish equivalent of Reddit, so people are just teasing him there to post even more of such stupidities and he always falls for that."

"On top of that he posts there his naked photos in a bathtub full of beer, posts poorly photoshopped posters of himself with other historical figures… basically the guy made a walking meme out of himself."

"And he is still giving lectures on European Universities as a special guest somehow."

"He is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the face and one of the leaders of the Polish solidarity movement and a former president of Poland."

~ JustYeeHaa

Alexander Hamilton

"Alexander Hamilton"

"Genius by playing a deep role in developing robust mechanisms for the US government to operate from the ground up."

"Idiot by tarnishing his political career with openly admitting to cheating on his wife with a prostitute for months."

"Also stupid by agreeing to duel with someone who wanted to kill him, putting on glasses to show intent in winning, then pointing his gun away mid-duel and getting himself shot and killed."

~ RamblinGamblinWillie

Steve Jobs

"I think Steve Jobs was a marketing and sales genius."

"Then when it came to his treatable cancer ... well I wouldn't call him an idiot, but he placed his faith in the wrong person and his 'I always win' attitude cost him his life."

"He was unlucky to get cancer, but lucky that it was treatable at the stage it was discovered ... but he ignored his doctors and thought that changing his diet would heal him."

~ ClownfishSoup

Ben Carson

"In a previous job, some of our dumbest and most frustrating clients were doctors."

"I'm sure most of them were great at being doctors, but they couldn't seem to read or understand the fairly basic info we sent them and often asked the most stupid questions."

~ MildlyUnusualMax

"Ben Carson is the perfect example of the idiot doctor."

"He is legit one of the world's best brain surgeons. If you need brain surgery you'd be very lucky to have him as your surgeon. He's probably top 25 surgeons on the planet."

"However, the man put every skill point he has into brain surgery, and into no other skills of any kind. He's a moron in every other field aside from brain surgery."

~ Hyndis

"I'm still pretty convinced Trump thought 'urban development' meant 'secretary in charge of Black people', and that's why he picked Carson for HUD."

~ suitcasedreaming

Sam Bankman-Fried

"Don’t understand how Sam Bankman-Fried isn’t on this list yet."

"Dude was in magazines being called a prophet and genius, turns out he was just a f**king idiot the whole time."

~ strapped_for_cash

"The entire Forbes Thirty Under Thirty list is pretty much a bunch of smooth-talking scamming idiots."

"Sam Bankman-Fraud was also on there in 2021."

~ bart416

"It pisses me off that media still refer to him as a former billionaire. In what way was he a billionaire? The money he spent was all other people’s; FTX and Alameda Research didn’t even keep financial records, even Bankman-Fried had no idea how much money he had access to."

"Like if I take a piece of paper and I write on it that it represents one billion fudge tokens, then I take another piece of paper and write on it that it represents one fudge token and I convince my friend to buy the second piece of paper for a dollar, does that mean I’m a billionaire?"

"That’s the only sense in which Bankman-Fried was ever a billionaire."

~ superfudge

"To me that is such an Emperor’s new clothes scenario. It seems like he was never really that bright, but a roomful of investors thought he was a genius for no apparent reason and pumped him up."

"The story of how he took a call with investors while he was playing video games and half paying attention comes to mind. Apparently they took it as a sign that he was a real silicone valley whiz kid and invested heavily."

~ Anonbrowser22

Thomas Midgley Jr.

"Thomas Midgley Jr.—All his inventions—leaded gasoline and CFCs—were thought to be great contributions to mankind until we found out they were dumping crazy amounts of toxins into the atmosphere and burning a hole in the ozone layer."

~ creepysink77

"He f*cked up so much sh*t. All that lead screwed up several generations to brain damage."

"And its STILL effecting people. Lead gets trapped in your bones and as you age and your bone density decreases that lead is re-released back into their system."

~ Grogosh

"This is probably the best answer there is. They guy really, really was considered a genius, and now he's probably on the top five list of people without military or political power who has done the most harm to the world."

~ Imsdal2

These are pretty well supported examples.

Who would you add to the list?

The Absolute Best Ways To Subtly Mess With Someone's Head

"Reddit user theary18 asked: 'What is the best thing to say someone to subtly fuck with their head?'"

Close-up of a man wildly smiling with his face painted like the joker
Photo by Mihail Tregubov

Sometimes it's fun to toy with someone.

Especially if it's an enemy or a loved one who simply deserves a good ribbing.

Some cryptic sentences can send anyone into a tailspin.

And oh the fun that can be had.

You have to be as vague as possible and as sincere.

You have to sell the sincerity. That's vital!

And then just watch them implode.

Redditor theary18 wanted to hear about the most creative ways to throw somebody off their game, so they asked:

"What is the best thing to say to someone to subtly f**k with their head?"

I love to come up behind someone and say "I can't believe they would treat you this way. I got you girl!"

Then I scurry away.


It's YOU!

For Me GIF by Liz HuettGiphy

"Just tack on the phrase 'given your history' to any question you ask someone."

"Are you sure you want another drink? Given your history?"

"Do you mind driving? Given your history?"


Mean Kids...

"I moved to my elementary school in the 5th grade. Mid-year, a boy came up to me and said, 'I really thought you were gonna be somebody.' I'm now 45 and I'm still like, what the f**k was he talking about?"


"Likely something they heard a parent say to someone. Kids love to repeat the dumb stuff you say the next day at school."


"All jokes aside he probably thought you were someone else. I've done the same things countless times and it's happened to me a few."


"I would interpret this as this kid hearing there's gonna be a 'new kid' and then their imagination ran wild as to who this new star is going to be, that it will be like in some kid movie or something, but you turned out to be just another kid student."


I Like You

"I don't get why other people don't like you."


"Another variant is..."

"I don’t care what everyone else is saying. I think you’re great!"

"They’ll take it as a compliment at first but then they’ll think about it and it’ll eat away at them."


"A guy I work with says this time to me every time I help him 'I don’t care what everyone else says about you you’re alright. Literally everyone else. We did a poll.' XD guy says some crazy s**t. When he started he tried to convince us he was a flat earther. He just likes fucking with people."



“'I heard about you.'"


"Whenever I hear this I always respond with 'if it’s all good, it’s all lies.' Usually shows my sense of humor and if it is bad things they heard it usually lightens the mood."


"Years ago I worked at a cafe and function venue which was sold after a few years to a new catering company. The first time I met the new restaurant manager I introduced myself and she exclaimed 'Oh, you’re winoforever!' and I was a bit weirded out. Then not long later I met the new owner and she also said 'Oh, you’re winoforever!' I still wonder twenty years later what they’d both heard about me."



Drunk Party Girl GIFGiphy

"Go up to someone at a party and say: 'I just want you to know that personally, I have no problem with you being here.'"


"I once got drunk and effectively said that to a girl at a wedding. 'I don't care what everyone else thinks, I always liked you' or something like that."


Parties are the perfect setting for these shenanigans.

Especially with the drinkers.

But get them at least semi-sober.

I got You

Okaay What GIF by ABC NetworkGiphy

"If you are chatting with someone and another person walks up look at them and say 'I just want you to know that I was defending you' then turn and walk off. It's a good 2fer."



"'We know, but don't worry, we'll keep it a secret.'"


"A friend in high school (actually still a current friend) said something similar to me and it definitely f**ked with my head. 'You know you're not fooling anyone, right?' He wouldn't elaborate and it took me the rest of the day to figure out he was f**king with me. As a guy with imposter syndrome, especially as a teen, that had me turned for a bit."


You Again

"If it’s someone you interact with repeatedly, always introduce yourself as if you’ve never met before."


"I keep doing this to a guy I see very occasionally. He's a friend of my sister-in-law, but I've introduced myself to him at least four times. Right now, I'm trying to picture his face and I totally can't, so if I see him again, I'll introduce myself again. He remembers me though. And I don't have this issue with anyone else, I just can't remember this guy's face for some reason."


Big Mouth

"You really need to brush your teeth."


"Somebody jokingly left a message on the 'tip' line that said 'Take a breath mint.'"

"I'm like 90% sure it was just the first thing that came to his head but it f**ked with me for weeks. I was self-conscious when talking to people, being close to them with my mouth open, and I'd constantly be brushing longer/harder taking mouthwash a couple extra times a day, and using mints."


Head Issues

Think About It GIF by IdentityGiphy

"Give all your friends a few dollars to compliment their hat if they’re not wearing one. When 50 people insist you’re wearing a hat, you start to think you’re wearing a hat. It will drive them insane."


Hats off for that last one. That's harmless but devious.

Do you have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments below.

Couple laughing
Photo by Devon Divine on Unsplash

Part of the fun of dating and being in a relationship are the unexpected, impulsive moments.

What's funny is how these could be equally arousing moments, too, even if they're moments that we never expected to make us feel that way.

Redditor thann3 asked:

"What is the weirdest thing your partner did that turned you on?"

Backing Up

"When he backs into a parking spot, he puts his right hand on the back of my seat when he looks behind him."

"Hnnnngggggghhh. Gets me going and I don't know why."

- evilpinkmoney

"Every time someone mentions this, I am reminded of the time I did it and accidentally backhanded this girl in the face."

- kingoflint282

That Reading Voice

"In high school, this girl had a soothing voice. Every time she read out loud, I had goosebumps and she gave me butterflies."

- donbruh

Overwhelmingly Happy

"I can’t think of anything weird my husband did, but the first night of our honeymoon, we were talking about the wedding and our future, and I started crying because I was so happy (and told him that’s why I was crying)."

"He was smiling and gave me a kiss and then whispered, 'I don’t know why, but you crying just now turned me on.'"

"Lol (laughing out loud), it didn’t turn me on, but it did make me laugh, and I thought it was weird-cute."

- snarkylarkie

Safety First

"On the first date, he put my seatbelt on. It surprised me because I heard of men opening doors for their dates but not putting their seatbelt on. It just showed a very caring yet masculine side of him."

"The tension of knowing we wanted of each other but agreed to take it slow just made me go feral in my head."

"A year and a half later, he still does it to this day. He even gets 'mad' when I don't let him. I still blush when he does it, especially when other people are in the car with us."

- eeeeriemarie

Certain Accessories

"It wasn't my girlfriend, but over a Skype call maybe a decade ago when I was a teenager, I was on a call with a female friend I had the hots for."

"I casually mentioned that I had a thing for girls in glasses."

"She gasped, told me to wait there, and scurried downstairs. About 20 seconds later, she rushed back up, jumped onto her bed with her jaw resting on her fists, and low and behold, she was wearing glasses."

"We laughed, I didn't know what to say, but that was the cutest and sexiest way of letting me know she liked me."

- GemoDorgon

Good Chemistry

"I know it sounds weird, but her breath is intoxicating. It’s naturally somewhat sweet, and of course, she thinks I’m crazy."

"Edit: We know it’s not diabetes, ketosis, or any other medical issue. We’ve been together for over 30 years and it’s just good chemistry."

- yoooozername

That Deep Stare

"An ex-girlfriend of mine looked at me in a certain way every now and again that just did something to me, like a bit of a stare deep into my soul knowing she wants all of me. Every day I hope someone will recreate and enhance it."

- SamCham10

The Perfect Sweater

"When she wears THAT sweater, I'm powerless."

- wastedmytwenties

"Can someone link a pic of this type of sweater? Asking for a friend."

- schnaizer91

The Sleeve Roll Trick

"My boyfriend rolled up his sleeves kind of slowly the other day, and I felt like I couldn’t hear anything for like a solid minute, lollllll (laughing out loud)."

- farrah_barra

The Corniest Jokes

"This man will make the corniest joke in the whole world, and then his whole face lights up as he giggles at it. Gets me every time."

- Hobbbitttuallly

The Perfect Wine Pour

"We had our honeymoon in Italy and he noticed the waitstaff poured wine really beautifully, so he replicated it. Now I have him pour all my drinks for me."

"For some reason, the way his wrist moves when he pours really gets me going."

- chicken-and-awfuls

Specific Arm Movements

"Two things."

"When he's working on something mechanical and he starts getting serious, he'll flip his cap backward. It's an absent-minded thing and F**K is it sexy. And when he's working overhead, the way his arms flex. Watching him lift things into our attic is an instant turn-on. It's f**king weird, but godD**N does it do it for me."

"Also when I wear something sexy or low cut and he's not expecting it, he'll stutter if he's mid-sentence. We'll be talking from another room for instance, and I'll toss on a revealing shirt and walk in there and he'll lose his train of thought. Or shake his head like he needs to clear it. Your man making you feel sexy is the ultimate sexy move."

- shimmydownnow

Love Language: Physical Touch

"It's the gentle physical touch in public. That little 'Love you' touch as they scurry away to do a thing. Those random touches turn me on so quickly."

- 1beeratatime

Totally Saved It

"He fixed the shower in my truly horrible, low-rent grad school apartment and changed the oil on my car. Not sure why, but that just did things to me."

"If you were to ask my husband, self-deprecating humor would probably be his answer."

"On our first date, he and I went to see this stage production of 'Jekyll and Hyde.' At the bar, they were selling these cute little shots of Bailey's/Kahlua, with each liquor on separate sides of the glass. Me, being incredibly graceful in all things always, completely dumped the Bailey's half onto my blouse."

"His eyes got all big, not sure how to react, and I just sighed, turned to him, and reintroduced myself like, 'Hi, I'm (my name). This kind of thing happens a lot.'"

"He busted up laughing, I ordered a scotch, and we've been together for the past 11 years."

- anyesuki

Simply Existing

"Exist. My girlfriend could literally just stand there and I could and would get a chill down my spine."

- andytheloser12

While we were expecting these responses to be, well, weird, most of these were actually pretty cute or heartwarming.

Sometimes when it comes to relationships and intimacy, something can feel weird simply because it's unexpected, but maybe the unexpected moments are among the best parts of the relationship!

Shocked woman
Alexander Krivitskiy/Unsplash
Extroverts love conversation.

Unlike introverts who tend to shy away from engaging in random discussions, those who are comfortable–or too comfortable–in their own skin love to get all chatty.

That doesn't mean they have anything significant to say.

Strangers shared their bizarre interaction experiences when Redditor AlexanderKeef asked:
"What’s the weirdest thing someone casually told you as if it were totally normal?"

People whom you don't know tend to overshare as these Redditors experienced.

A High Request

"A story from a friend - in Colorado, someone once asked, 'Could you watch my wolves, I can pay you in weed.'"

"There's a lot to unpack in that question!"

– surlymoe

"You don't unpack wolves, you keep them together."

– hwarang_

Unsolicited Prediction

"Husband (30) and I were pushing our shopping cart out of the grocery store when a random man (who honestly looked like dumbledore) looked at my husband and said 'take my hat, you're gonna need it, you'll be bald very soon.' Obviously my husband didn't take it. It was super odd of him to say because my husband had a FULL head of hair."

"Three months later, my husband was diagnosed with a condition that made him lose all of his hair. Weird coincidence."

– hollyjollyaf


"A guy once told me how he loved the feeling of wearing casts, so he'd put casts on himself- for days or weeks on end. Even if it meant he couldn't drive and would be stuck at home the entire time. He'd use vacation time just to wear full leg & arm casts."

– Present_Dust_2308

Homophobic Homosexual

A homophobic guy I know: 'Being gay is a choice.'"

"I said something like - ok, choose to be gay for a day, an hour, a single minute if you can."

"Guy - That's easy, I'm attracted to men all the time, I just choose to only like girls because I'm not gay."

"Me - Ummm..."


Longheld Grudge

"Once, an older woman came up to me on the street, took hold of my wrists and simply said 'they ripped out my afterbirth', and then carried on walking."

– JennyW93

"It's strange to grab strangers. But one day in Walmart, my granny walked ahead of me, and reached to grab me to show me something, without looking and she was pulling on an old lady's arm obliviously, and the old lady's eyes were like O.O."

"My grandma didn't even apologize, she just let go and yelled at me to stay closer."

– chzygorditacrnch

A Hairdresser-In-Training

"I was getting my hair done this last weekend by my daughter at her cosmetology school. One of her fellow students was excited to meet me. She talked nonstop and eventually told me that she has hemorrhoids and that she has her husband push them back in. So much TMI from a stranger!"

– Digjam823

You never know about the personal lives of people you see on a regular basis.

Squeaky Clean

"I had a college professor on the first day of class say that she is obsessed with Q-tips and cleaning her ears and that her family has to limit her to 3 a day-"

– lokeilou

Here's The Story...

"That they have 6 kids, all with different dads & each dad is in prison."

– ChyCgx2

"I once had a coworker who had seven kids with five different women and he'd constantly complain about how most of his paycheck went to child support. You uh, dug your own grave, pal. I'm really not sympathetic to your plight."

– apocalypticradish

It's the end of the world as we know it.

End Of Civilization

"I know a guy, we don't talk often but due to business we cross paths on occasion. More or less every time we talk he asks if I'm ready for the total societal collapse coming next week, or Tuesday, or at the end of the month.. and so on."

"I just tell him that it's not gonna happen; he usually then asks about my "crystal ball" so I remind him that I've been right every time."

– rkpjr

Zombie Apocalypse

"I went to a ComicCon type event in my city years ago(Walking Dead was a new show, first season for reference) and went to a panel about zombies. They talked about historical zombie lore, the first zombie movies, and the exciting first season of the new show Walking Dead, with some actors on the panel. When they opened it up to the audience for questions one of the first ones was, 'what kind of zombies do you predict we’ll have in a real zombie apocalypse? (Fast vs slow)'…panelists don’t really know how to answer, each gives their personal favorite or worst case scenario. Then we get to, 'What do you think the timeline is for the start of a coming zombie apocalypse?' Panelists are kind of like….? Talk about how things usually play out fiction."

“'No, but exactly WHEN do you think we’ll need to be fully prepared for zombies in real life?' Like, guys, these are actors and media studies academics, first of all they don’t have the level of belief you do and second, the people you should be asking about this stuff are probably biologists."

– AlternativeAcademia

Whenever I feel threatened by a homeless person who is pressuring me to hand over them cash, I tell them, "I''m allergic to corn."

The random phrase throws them and in the brief moment they assess what they heard I'm afforded more time to distance myself from them.

It always works, especially when they realize I'm all kinds of crazy and not worth targeting.

Doctors in medical scrubs walking down a hallway.
Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

Generally speaking, if we have a cough, headache, or runny nose, we assume it's nothing to worry about in the long run and don't bother seeing a doctor.

Most of the time, this proves to be the case, as our ailments and symptoms tend to go away after a few days.

Other times, however, what we thought was a minor illness ended up being more serious than we could have possibly imagined.

In some cases, had we gone to the doctor any later, we might not have lived to tell the tale.

Redditor mothermurder88 reached out to the Doctors of Reddit to hear shocking stories of minor illnesses that turned out to be far more serious, leading them to ask:

"Doctors of Reddit - what is your craziest story where a patient present with mild symptoms thinking it was nothing and it turned out to be a serious life or death situation?"

The Cause Of Severe Back Pain...

"My dad woke up with severe back pain one morning after not doing anything strenuous the weeks/days leading up to it."

"My mom flipped her sh*t and finally put her foot down that he had to go to the doctor after him putting off going to a doctor for years even for a routine check-up."

"That appointment showed a broken rib from a huge tumor on his spine, along with tumors around his buttocks/pelvis and upper back."

"Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer."

"5 years and 100 treatments later he’s still kicking it."- vulpesvulpex

An Antacid Won't Cut It...

"Saw a patient with minor cardiovascular symptoms and a slight pain in his upper back."

"The senior debated back and forth whether it would make sense to run a CT to rule out anything more serious."

"She finally decided to do it and it turned out he had a massive aortic dissection and was basically wheeled right into the OR."- Beneficial-Bee7765

A Parent's Worst Nightmare

"My son."

"6 weeks old."

"He was also 6 weeks premature."

"Only symptoms at the time of me bringing him to the ER was inconsolable crying and wouldn’t drink his breast milk."

"Was told by others that I was just being a paranoid first time mom…he probably has gas or was colic."

"My instincts just told me otherwise."

"Brought him to the ER."

"Triage asks me what my concerns are."

"I told them he won’t stop crying and I can get him to eat."

"A couple hours later my 6 week old baby coded blue and went into respiratory failure."

“'Code blue pediatrics' will forever be the most haunting thing I ever heard."

"Since he was so tiny they were having incredibly difficulty intubating him."

"Was being kept alive in between attempts with that bag thingy (unsure what it’s called) and compressions."

"His diagnosis was late on set group b strep, sepsis, and bacterial meningitis."

"Had I not brought him in when I did and waited, my son would not be alive today."

"So yea…listen to your instincts, you have them for a reason."- PokemomOnTheGo

Mints Won't Cut It...

"A man came to the hospital because his wife always complained about his bad breath."

"Long story short, I met him because they consulted my department when the tissue biopsy came back as esophageal cancer."- TeamMiserable

Never Underestimate The Importance Of A Check Up

"I'm a dentist."

"New pt came in with what he thought was a mild ache in his teeth."

"Thought it was a toothache."

"Hadn't seen a dentist in years."

"Took a radiograph and the jaw bone around the teeth looked strange."

"Had him see an oral surgeon that day."

"Turned out was a very aggressive metastatic bone cancer and died a few weeks later."- jakeology_101

A Second Opinion Never Hurts

"I’m a nurse, not a doctor, but we had a guy come in years ago asking for a medication to 'help him stop sweating'.”

"He said he had had a sore throat for about a week, went to a walk in clinic, was diagnosed with strep throat and put on antibiotics, but he was so sweaty and just wanted a break from it."

"He looked pale and was indeed sweaty, so we took him back and ran some blood tests."

"His white blood count was the highest I’ve ever seen and he was diagnosed with leukaemia."

"We sent him to another hospital for immediate treatment, but we were informed he died literally hours after arriving. Incredibly sad, I couldn’t believe it."- madicoolcat

"I am a nurse, so naturally my mother called me one day when she had strange symptoms."

""'Earlier today, I had this feeling like there was a squirrel running around in my belly'."

"I reassured her that it was probably gas."

"It happened again a few days later when she was in the car with me."

"Something made me take her right to the emergency room."

"The doctor evaluated her and basically accused her of making things up."

"I asked for a different doctor, because she is not a complainer or a drug seeker."

"Turns out it was a malignant brain tumor (glioblastoma) that was manifesting itself as abdominal seizures."

"They said she had 1-2 years to live."

"It is now 7 years since surgery, chemo, and radiation and she is still alive."- feistynurse50

Some Things Need To Be Seen

"Patient’s wife called."

"Patient had a temperature of 98.6."

"No other symptoms."

"I explained that was a normal temperature but the wife said 'that’s a fever for him'.”

"She said she felt like something was wrong, despite no other symptoms."

"I told her that I respect that and that if she feels something is wrong she should get him checked out in the ER."

"The ER doctor called four hours later and said they did all they could do for him but he died of sepsis."

"He appeared to be normal when he got there but rapidly declined."

"That gave me a new appreciation that we truly can’t evaluate someone thoroughly over a telephone."- DisastrousNet9121

The Cause is More Important Than The Symptom

"8 year old girl gets brought in complaining about back pain she'd had for 3 months, several different doctors had given her painkillers to no avail."

"After about 5 minutes I asked her if she had any problems going to the toilet, she says it's 'foamy' when she pees."

"Bone cancer."

"She made a full recovery, and from what I know is in her 20s now, but to this day I hate how she'd been suffering for 3 months and no other doctor had bothered to even ask any more questions as to why an 8 year old girl was getting severe back pain."- PalpitationAdorable2

Never Fault A Doctor For Being Thorough

"Still in school and I was not present for this patient’s initial admission but rather her clinic follow up."

"However, patient was healthy 50-something year old who had an extended nosebleed after a long hike."

"It wouldn’t stop so they went to ER to get it cauterized/impacted (happens all the time)."

"Anyway, they did a CT scan as protocol and discovered she had a 20+ cm tumor on her uterus that was wrapping around her right kidney."

"She was immediately referred to a serious academic hospital and had a specialized oncology surgeon remove it."

"Amazingly, They got it completely removed without even having to damage the kidney."

"She had an amazing outcome and about a half a foot scar running around her abdomen from the surgery."

"I do not believe the CT scan was due to the nosebleed itself but rather I imagine as they looked further into her blood work and coagulation studies they found something that warranted further work up."- KocoaFlakes

Most of the time, a cold is just a cold, and an achy foot is just an achy foot.

Even so, should you have even the slightest bit of doubt, there is no shame in consulting your doctor about it.

As doing so may turn out to be a literally life-saving decision.