People Share The Best Ways To Mess With A Telemarketer
Nobody likes dealing with telemarketers, even the ones calling from legitimate businesses. The last thing most of us want is to be interrupted during our favorite TV show just to hear about a great new insurance policy. Even worse are the scammers who are calling from "Microsoft" because "Your computer has a virus!"
In search of ways to deal with these callers, Reddit user u/conno85 asked:
Have your own sales pitch ready.
"Hey, you know what? I'm glad you called so we can share this time together. Speaking of sharing time, have you heard of a timeshare?"
I usually hit them with a pyramid scheme. They offer their stuff and im like, "Definitely interested, while I have you on the line, let me tell you about a great selection of Herbalife Products that are available for purchase"
If you have access to a toddler, give the phone to the toddler and tell them that the nice person on the phone wants to hear all about their day.
The counter-tactic is to pitch your product to the kid. Guaranteed sale if you can get him to bug his parent about it for the next month.
My dad once got a call from a clearly scammy dental insurance company. He just yelled in the most twangy voice possible "I ain't got no teeth!" They immediately hung up.
I had like, a college debt consolidator call me (something like that, anyway). "Oh, yeah! I totally have student debt!", I said. They asked me how much, i told them $152.37, and they hung up and never called back.
My mom answers the phone, "sheriff's department, fraud division."
Immediate dial tone on the other end.
Just had the thought, "FCC, how may I direct your call?"
"Thank you for calling the FBI! Please listen closely, as our options have changed. To turn yourself in, please press one. To confess to crime, please press two."
I tell them to hang on a second. I'll hit redial on the last telemarketer I got and add them to the call. Then I just hang up and let the two of them try to sell stuff to each other for the next minute.
When they ask me if I want to hear about their product I say "Sure, but first let me tell you about our lord and savior Jesus Christ."
I ask them to hang on for a sec and I then just put the phone down. They hang up after a minute or so.
Depending on the call center, they may prefer that. Gives us a few seconds to breath and relax.
I figure it puts the pressure/call on them. They can hang up when they see fit.
As a former telemarketer, just hang up the phone.
We hate it as much as you do. It's impossible to be a telemarketer without hating your life.
EDIT should add that some telemarketing people will call you again in a few days anyway, so make sure to say "don't call me again" and they should take you off the call list
The definite exception is the "Microsoft Internet Support" type calls. They deserve every bit of time wasting you can give them.
Telemarketers generally have KPIs consisting of three things, dials, contacts and closes (sometimes follow-ups).
They hate the job just as much as you do, the best thing to do for honest telemarketers (distinct from call centers operating as a front for a scam disguised as a legal business) is to say "Sorry, no opportunity here, no reason to follow up." and hang up as soon as possible. Then you can get on your life and they can get onto their next dial and you add less toxicity into the world.
Alternatively, tell them your Michael Dorn and do your best Worf impersonation.
If it's a scam call, I always ask them what they tell their parents they do for a living.
"Do your parents know you steal money from old ladies for a living?"
"Are your parents proud of you for being a thief?"
Answer the call with "Hello caller, you're on the air!" elee0228
"Hello and good morning, you are live on the air at radio 98.4 theee Weaaasel!" MrBananaStorm
I use this regularly and it works everytime:
TM: hello, this is so and so with xyz, I'm looking for mr. X.
Me: Oh sure, he's taking a crap right now, hold on I'll pass the phone to him.
Usually at this point they hang up... if they don't, I proceed in talking to them with intermittent aggressive grunting.... by this point they 100% hang up. nwrcj90
I'd give the signal, my son would start screaming, and I'd say "sorry, my son is on fire." and hang up. MadWhiskeyGrin
I always tell them that this is a business line, and then politely ask them to put this line on the do not call list. Usually, people say no problem and hang up. Once in a while I get an a**. I then ask for the supervisor. Then they hang up.
However, when I was getting the "Apple Support" scam numbers literally every half-hour, I finally hit the button and got a real person. I told them I had no Apple products and I knew this was a scam all, what would it take to get them to leave me alone. The woman (you could hear the boiler operation in the background) said $100. No way that was going to happen.
So, the next time, I went through until I got a human being. I spoke very quietly, telling them I was worried about my computer. The guy asked me to speak up several times. When I was sure they had turned up their volume, I blasted them with my basketball referee whistle. I did that twice. Calls stopped. delnorteduck
I usually pretend that I'm an old man rambling in Spanish and arguing with his wife. Need_Coffee79
My guy is usually Japanese or French. I don't know those languages, I just make up words that sound like they are in those languages and mix in some confusing English statements. mschwartz33
I tell them to hang on a second. I'll hit redial on the last telemarketer I got and add them to the call. Then I just hang up and let the two of them try to sell stuff to each other for the next minute. codered434
i often get calls like WE HEARD YOU WERE IN A CAR ACCIDENT THAT WASN'T YOUR FAULT so i like to waste their time and tell them a really detailed story about how i was drink driving and I crashed while the police were chasing me and it wasn't my fault because the police shouldn't have been speeding and my wife and kids are dead now and i want compensation because i cant drink drive anymore. kill_the_wasps
I always "sell" what ever they are selling for a living.. need duct cleaned? oh i own a duct cleaning business.. need your lawn care.. i own a landscaping company... water filter... oh i own a water store.. shuts them up.. not rude.. not long.. done. rackem222
I usually try to say something that would bewilder them. Same goes for people on the street... For example:
Them: Can I interest you in the chance to win £500? Me: Oh, nah. I've got loads of money.
Them: Are you against animal cruelty? Me: No.
... In saying that, those were the only two times I came up with something fast enough. ana1ytics
My favorite way is the way Jerry Seinfeld did it in one episode.
T: "Hello I was wanting to see if you're interested in purchasing (blank)?"
J: "Yeah that sounds great, but I'm actually really busy at the moment. Can I get your name and home phone number and I can call you later tonight?"
T: "Sir we can't do that."
J: "Why not? You don't want random people calling you all day?"
T: "Well, no."
J: "Well now you know how I feel."
Hang up! drewisawesome14
Medicine is a difficult profession. Thanks to the wonder that is human nature, healthcare workers are subjected to incredible Darwin-award-winning scenarios daily, so it’s no wonder that many of them feel the need to go home and scream into their pillows at night. From self-inflicted injuries to dangerous prescription misuses, these Redditors revealed the most facepalm-worthy patients they’ve ever encountered.
But be warned: They’ll all leave you wondering how we’ve survived this long as a species.
There Is No Plan Cwhite and red cross signPhoto by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
I’m a pharmacist. One evening, I was working a relief shift (not at my usual pharmacy). A man comes in looking distressed. He tells me, “I had intimate relations with a woman I do not intend to pursue a long-term relationship with”. Yes, he said it just like that. I say, “Okay. I’m assuming there was an accident, or it was unprotected. How long ago did it happen”? He answers, “Last night, at 7 PM on the couch”.
Woah, TMI. I just needed to know the approximate time so I’d know if Plan B would work. I start to tell him, “We have this medication called Plan B, and since the incident happened within 72 hours—” but he interrupts me and I was thrown completely off guard: “Oh yes, I got that for her already yesterday, right after we finished. We want to know if there is anything we can do to know if she is pregnant now”.
I answer, “Unfortunately not. She’ll have to wait three weeks or so to see if she gets her period, and if she doesn’t, she can do a pregnancy test then. Theoretically, you could do a blood test for faster results, but that would also not be until a couple of weeks, at least”. He responds, “We’re just really anxious because she doesn’t want to be pregnant. Is there anything that she can take to prevent the pregnancy? Any multivitamin? Minerals? Food”?
I tell him, “She’s already taken it, which was the Plan B. There are some other options, but those are prescriptions. And no, there are no over-the-counter products she can take”. Then he asks, “What about me? Is there anything I can take now to prevent the pregnancy? Any multivitamins or minerals”? A little bemused, I just answer, “…No sir. There isn’t anything you can take now”.
Get A Load Of This Guy
I’m 73, and I’m a former clinical microbiologist from LONG ago. Still, I found myself all over the clinical lab at times, not just infectious diseases. So, one day, this 20-something guy (with his wife and mom in tow) walks in with a paper request for an analysis of his “swimmers”, pre-computer era. Okay, not the most comfortable encounter, but I’m a professional, and I’d done this drill many times.
It turned out he had not been briefed by the doctor and had no idea how establishing infertility in males was done. Well, okay—this would be a challenge, then. I took him aside and, using standard medical terminology, told him how a diagnosis is made and what he needed to do to provide a specimen. He couldn’t believe that I was asking him to “do it” into that container.
Astonished! Then he played dumb as if the concept was unfamiliar to him. We looped through the medical terms and procedure again, and I eventually resorted to every word I knew to describe the “act”. It was like a George Carlin bit! A half-hour later, he emerged from the toilet with two inches of urine in the cup. God almighty.
The report came back: “Patient provided improper specimen”.
This Is How The Elderly Get Their Wrinkles
I’m a paramedic. I had an elderly woman complain that her mouth was dry and she felt a bit dizzy climbing the stairs earlier. So I go through the whole rigamarole of getting a medical history, vitals, and more detail on her symptoms. Then I asked her what she’s had to drink today. Her answer? A cup of tea—ten hours ago. I asked, “Any water”? She says no.
Guess what fixed it within five minutes.
The Mother Got A Lot Of Heat For This
I was at the children’s hospital with my eldest when he was a toddler (ah, the day we found out he was allergic to penicillin) when a rushing team suddenly occupied the bed next to me with a limp, unresponsive infant. This happened on a hot day during the mid-summer. The baby was in a full Canadian winter-level snowsuit.
After they got the baby’s temperature down, I overheard the doctor losing his mind a little bit with the mother as she kept insisting she had to have her baby in the suit lest the baby risk feeling chilly. He explained that the minor discomfort of having to cry for a blanket did not trump the risk of it losing its life or the possibility of literally frying the kid’s brain.
He had to get quite nasty with his wording in that she had almost unalived her baby and might have given it brain damage.
Mr. Hot Shot
I had a buddy who was an EMT, and he was called out to a location for a GSW. What happened was a father was mowing his lawn when he accidentally touched a part of the mower near the engine and burned his hand. He got mad at the lawnmower, pulled out his pistol, and shot it. The shot ricocheted and hit his son in the leg.
Now, He’s Gonorrhea-Valuate All His Conditions…a woman holding a stethoscope in her right handPhoto by Eben Kassaye on Unsplash
I worked in ED for 10 years. Every day. Every day people come in, and it shocks you how they’ve managed to evade unaliving themselves for that long. One of the worst was when we had a guy come in. He was a twin. He told us he needed to get checked for STDs because his sister just got one. We, of course, had to ask if he’d had intimate relations with her, and he said no, but they were twins, so whatever she has, so does he.
After a collective sigh of relief that this wasn’t some weird Alabama, your-my-sister scenario, we had to educate him on how that’s not how it worked at all.
It Was An Arm of Intervention
I got told to go introduce myself to a patient to get vitals, history, and more info on their chief complaint, before starting an IV and drawing blood for labs. She came in for arm pain, and it looked like she had a nasty bug bite on her arm. So her story was she was an exotic dancer, and her Adderall prescription wasn’t doing the trick. So, she had an idea of how to make it more potent.
She heard from a friend that if you crush it up, suspend it in water, and then inject it, it would be more effective. Except she used tap water to dissolve the Adderall before she injected it. This ended up causing a huge abscess and infection at the site of injection. She ended up losing her arm at the elbow...So now she’s a one-armed exotic dancer.
They Must’ve Gone Ballistic
I had a patient who had a bullet lodged in her leg. We had the surgeon come and assess her. Based on its placement, he suggested leaving it because removing it could cause even more danger. We discharged her. She immediately walked to the ER in the same hospital to complain of leg pain. She had prescriptions and wound supplies in her hand.
Still, they brought her back, discovered her injury, and called for a surgical consult. The same surgeon was on-call and came to assess her. Guess what?! The surgeon made the same suggestion to leave it. Then we educated her EXTENSIVELY about never getting an MRI or the metal will fly out of her skin. Eventually, she left.
She returned a few months later to a sister hospital complaining of a headache. She got inpatient admission, and you guessed it: They did an MRI. The slug ripped out, and the MRI machine was down for almost a week!
She Just Couldn’t Seem To Grasp The Conception
I had an 18 or 19-year-old girl come into my ER with some complaint that required an X-ray. It’s standard that we do a urine pregnancy test before imaging on any female of childbearing years. She insisted she’d never “done it”, and there was zero possibility of pregnancy. We did the test anyway, and it resulted that she was pregnant. We then did a blood pregnancy test to confirm the result since she insisted she couldn’t possibly be pregnant because she’d never had intercourse.
That was positive too. We gave her a few minutes to herself to figure out what the heck happened, and when I returned to check on her a short time later, she asked me if she could get pregnant even though her boyfriend “didn’t go all the way in”. She 100% believed that as long as he wasn’t entirely inside her, it didn’t count as intercourse.
It took nearly a half hour of explaining reproduction for her to understand that, whether it’s halfway in or in, sperm travel.
It Ultimately Wasn’t Very Fun-Knee
I overheard a conversation between a nurse, a doctor, and a patient in the ER. They were trying to figure out whether the patient was very stupid or had a head injury. It was both hilarious and sad. He kept telling them that he was there for a hurt leg, but he couldn’t explain why his leg was hurt, how it was hurt, or how he got there—nearly anything.
I heard them talking in a hallway to each other. The nurse was convinced the patient hit his head. The doctor, without skipping a beat, dropped his unexpected diagnosis: “No, he is just an idiot.” It turned out the doctor was right. They got ahold of the guy’s wife. She told them in the hallway he’s always this dumb, and if she left him, he would get lost in his own house and starve.
It sounded like the patient’s leg was visibly injured or swollen. But when asked what happened or how it felt, he gave nonsensical idiot answers. He wasn’t slurring, but answering in a regular idiot voice, saying things like, “It feels hurt”, and “I was talking to Jimmy, and we were doing our usual work, and my leg hurts”.
The doctor would ask, “Did something happen? What is the work”? But the patient kept responding, “Something always happens; you know how it goes”, or “I just want my leg fixed”.
An Change Of Heartman in white dress shirt wearing black framed eyeglassesPhoto by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash
This one came from a colleague of mine. So, this 60-something-year-old suffered from an acute complication and got a pacemaker to solve the problem. Everything went normally, and as planned, he recovered. Every care and medication that he needed to take got prescribed and explained and his medical appointments with a cardiologist/arrhythmologist were scheduled so he could get the follow-ups he needed. The man then proceeded to never show up to any appointments and never answered any calls from the hospital to know of him and reschedule.
This went on for around three years. Then one day, he showed up without former warning and asked to talk with the doctor who did the procedure to put in his pacemaker. People were weirded out, but since the doctor was present that day and this patient was in clear distress, they talked to him and managed to find a couple of minutes to have the doctor check on him. Inside the appointment room, the doctor noticed that the man was wearing a bra inside his shirt.
The man explained he’d been wearing his daughter’s bra for three months after his “problem” got worse. So the doctor asked that he take off his shirt…and there he stood, this shirtless man wearing his daughter’s bra, showing off the pacemaker that should’ve remained inside his body. It was now dangling outside of it, being held by the left bra cup, with a big infected open wound above it with the pacemaker leads still inserted into his veins and connected to his heart.
Nobody had any idea how the man let that situation come to be or how he didn’t pass from sepsis or any other health problem that might’ve appeared, for that matter.
The Parents Were The Real Suckers
While working the midnight shift in the ER, a family brought in a four-year-old at 2am-ish. I asked them what was wrong. They said, “Ask him. He said he needed to see a doctor”. I further pressed, “Did he say anything was wrong”? They answered, “No. He said he needed to see a doctor, so we brought him”. A quick back and forth firmly established that they actually showed up to the ER at 2 AM, purely because the four-year-old said he needed to see a doctor and that they didn’t know why.
So I asked the child, “Why do you need to see a doctor”? His answer made me shake my head in disbelief: “The doctor has suckers”. To be clear, it was the parents who lacked sense and not the kid.
A Very Delicate Condition
I’m a social worker, and one of my clients kept getting pregnant over and over after having kids. I had a frank conversation with her about birth control or getting her tubes tied because she kept going through horrific births only to get her kids taken away, and she said to me that she didn’t know that birth control or safe intercourse would save her from getting pregnant.
She didn’t realize that intercourse = pregnant because she was mistreated as a child, and her father told her that she could only get pregnant when she fell in love, and she had never been in love, so she didn’t understand why she kept getting pregnant. Intercourse was only a pleasure for her, so she didn’t realize that was what was getting her pregnant.
The Answer Was At Hand
I am a dermatologist in India. As is the culture here, people eat with their hands, and almost all of our curries or even other dry side dishes have a lot of turmeric. It is common knowledge to anyone born and brought up in India that this means the nails of your dominant hand (statistically, the right hand) will be yellow-stained because we have seen this happen since our childhood.
Usually, this wears off in about a day and a half if you wash it a couple of times. Cut to the first patient in my OPD, a young girl in her early 20s, very anxious. I ask her, “What brings you here today”? The patient says, “Doc, my right-hand fingernails keep getting yellow-discolored”. I take a look and confirm, “Only your right hand”? She answers, “Yes, and only after meals”.
So I ask her, “Erm…do you eat with your hands”? The patient confirms, “Yes, always”. I then explain to her, “So...you know it’s just turmeric, right”? And she goes, “Yes, but can you make it stop happening”? Perplexed now, I just tell her, “For God’s sake, use a spoon”! But she’s still not quite getting it. Surprised, she asks, “So you mean there is no medicine to make it stop”?
I just stared at her while she looked at me expectantly. “NO”! This might hit home more with people of South Asian cultures or people who habitually eat turmeric-cooked food with their hands. Anyway, for a grown person to complain about this was just…well, surprising and a little ridiculous.
This Guy Wasn’t Very Treat Smart
I work in emergency medical services. I had a diabetic in his 30–40s who refused to take insulin since 2012. It was 2020 at the time. When I took his blood sugar, it only read as “HI”, meaning it had to be over 700 for the glucometer not to read it. Upon seeing this, he asked me if that was high and then went, “Is this because of all the ice cream I ate”?
He was playing a Facebook Messenger video with his girlfriend the entire time. I met him later on in the parking lot after he got discharged, and it took this man less than fifty paces from the ER door to rip off the bandage covering his IV and play with the IV wound until it started bleeding all over the place again.
He then knocked on our ambulance door and asked for a bandaid to fix it. We had to walk him back into the ER and bandage his entire arm with gauze so that, hopefully, by the time he got it off, it would’ve clotted enough for him not to end up exsanguinating himself.
Rubbing Salt In The Woundbrown and white shell on orange round platePhoto by Arnold Antoo on Unsplash
My sister told me a story of a woman with chronic blisters and lesions on her lips. They couldn’t figure out what it was for weeks. It would heal and come back, heal and come back. The truth was disturbing—it turned out she would jam out on like three bags of salt and vinegar chips a day for weeks at a time until the sores hurt too bad to continue, then she’d go to the doctor.
Details Make A Difference
This was one of the funniest yet cutest ones from when I was a student doing a shift in andrology/reproductive health. Doctor: “So, you’re trying to have kids but not managing to. Do you have any other kids”? Patient: “Yes, Doc. I have one”. Doctor: “Okay, so we need to do [this and this and that]”. Patient: “Okay, great”.
Then he proceeded to visit him and stuff, after which he went away. But after a couple of seconds, he knocked on the door again, saying: “Hello, Doc. My wife told me that it would be relevant to you that the son I have is adopted, but that makes no difference to me. I’ve always considered him my son”!
Do No Farm
I’m a physiotherapist. For those who don’t know, after a total knee replacement, you have a six-week window after the surgery to regain the range of motion. If you don’t regain the range in those first six weeks, it ain’t coming back. I had a patient who was a farmer who was very enthusiastic about regaining the range because he needed to be mobile for his work. I saw him for the first time about five days after his surgery.
I showed him all the basic exercises, told him not to do any farm work for at least six weeks, and told him to come back to see me once a week for the first six weeks. He disappeared and came back about eight weeks later. His range was non-existent, maybe 30 degrees of range in total. He was visibly mad at me as if it was my fault. He was shouting and calling me incompetent.
Our conversation went something like this: Me: “Have you been doing the exercises”? Him: “No”. Me: “How often are you doing farm work”? Him: “Every day”. Me: “Why haven’t you come back since the first appointment eight weeks ago”? Him: “Too busy with farm work”. Me: “So, to summarize here, you did absolutely nothing that I told you to, and this is somehow my fault”?
I never saw him again.
A Jaw-Dropping Encounter
As a pharmacist, I often encounter a lot of people who lack common sense; namely, everyone who comes in to buy homeopathic stuff, especially for serious things. Once, a lady came in with a prescription from the dentist for some heavy antibiotics and painkillers due to an infection that threatened to damage the jawbone.
When I asked if she knew how to take them, she went: “Oh, I’m not gonna take those; they’ll go right into the garbage. But I gotta buy them so that my dentist is happy. I’d rather stick with [insert name of homeopathic stuff here] instead of harming me with some devilish chemicals”!
Throughout the years, I’ve learned to just shrug and accept those Darwin-award candidates instead of arguing with them. It just infuriates me when I see that they’ve got children or/and pets…
That’s Never Gonna Heel Now
This was circa 1983, and I’m a nurse (retired). I had this one guy in his early 20s who went swimming hammered in a notoriously nasty lake in our area. It was a “don’t drink the water” kind of lake, and he went in without shoes, stepped on an old booze tab, and cut his foot open. He didn’t go to the hospital or try to clean it at all for about a week. His girlfriend said he kept saying, “It’s fine, it’s just a cut”, when she pressured him to get it seen, so of course, he showed up in the ER with a foot that blew up like a balloon.
Healing it took two and a half months in the hospital, with his foot completely laid open in surgery, doing debridement and packing, which I can honestly say after over 30 years in healthcare stands as one of the nastiest jobs I have ever had to do—and I had been dealing with things like bedsores and open wounds from radiation treatments and cancer for about seven years at that point.
It was bad, but that's not all—on top of this, he was obnoxious, disrespectful, and, when the opportunity presented itself, cruel. Other nurses, you know the type, they’re everywhere. Hopefully not as open about it these days, but yeah. I had a student nurse I was training come running out of the room in tears and refused to go back in and would not tell any of us what he said, but I can imagine.
Eventually, we finally got it cleaned out, and it’s responding well to antibiotics, and the tissue is granulating well. He gets sent home with antibiotics and strict instructions on how to care for it and to keep it clean and dry. THE DAY he left the hospital, he went back out to the same lake, got inebriated, put on some nasty tennis shoes, and went swimming.
He showed up on our floor again a week after being discharged. He lost the foot. His girlfriend left him.
Fortunately, They Caught Him Red-Handedman in blue scrub suit wearing blue stethoscopePhoto by Bruno Rodrigues on Unsplash
I don’t know if a cleaner in a hospital counts, but this one time, I got to work early on a Saturday morning, and we immediately received a request for help from the ER and got sent over by my boss. When I got there, the first thing I heard was yelling from this guy behind one of the curtains. He was shouting at the nurses, “Don’t touch my downstairs”, and “I didn’t use any substances”!
Then I smelled iron in the air, and then I found out there was blood all over the hallway, with hand prints in blood against the wall. Almost the entire floor was covered in blood, with actual puddles in some places. What happened? The guy pulled out his catheter, causing arterial bleeding, and he decided to run away from the nurses who were trying to help him.
It seems like he lived through that. I had never seen that much blood before that day, nor after.
Thinking Against The Grain
I am a medical professional, but I have two really good ones about my ex-fiancé. Laugh at me all you want; this relationship was not my proudest moment. For starters, at our baby shower for my son, he asked if we were going to pick “innie” or “outie”. I looked at him like he was insane, and he started getting angry and just repeated the question louder until I shushed him and took him aside to explain to him that we don’t choose how the belly button looks; it just happens.
Another time, he had really bad eczema and went to a doctor who suggested oatmeal baths during flare-ups. He bought a couple of boxes of Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar and would dump the entire box packet by packet into the tub. It was a couple of weeks before I found the wrappers and questioned him about it.
He told me (angry again) that he wondered why he was so sticky after getting out and why the freaking literal brown sugar was making his open wounds fester. I explained that an oatmeal bath is not flavored oatmeal and that he had to buy either plain oats or actual oatmeal bath packets. He was furious that I expected him to just know better.
When I asked him why he picked maple and brown sugar, he said he didn’t want to smell like strawberries or peaches after his bath. After our son was born (and we had broken up, thank God), my son also had some occasional eczema, but not nearly to the same degree. The pediatrician recommended oatmeal baths, and GUESS WHAT THIS FREAKING GUY BOUGHT?
He said he only remembered what happened the last time when he picked my son out of the sink, and the towel stuck to him. When I started to scold him for being so stupid, he looked at me like I was an idiot and told me he only used one packet since we were still bathing the kid in the sink instead of in an entire tub.
The Patient Had A Med-ley Bag
I’m a pharmacist. I had a woman bring in a literal sandwich bag that she kept all her meds in, unseparated. She needed help seeing which meds she was low on or out of and was asking different questions about the medications. When she pointed to an Apoquel and stated it was her blood pressure medicine, I immediately became concerned as to why pet medicine was in her bag (and also why she was mixing all her meds in a bag in the first place).
It was then that I found out that she had been throwing her pet’s meds inside her bag of medicine, too. So Lord knows what she’d been giving her dog or taking herself. I immediately stressed how important it is to keep medicine in its original container to protect both the medicine and herself and to know the directions of how to take it.
I’ve seen her a few times since then, and I’m glad to see she has since taken my advice. But how any pharmacist or doctor hadn’t advised her on this before is beyond me.
They Didn’t Air On The Side Of Caution
I used to be a medical oxygen tech, mostly doing in-home work. One guy was on such a high concentration that he would have drawn nearly zero oxygen from breathing regular atmosphere. This required two heavy-duty machines hooked up in tandem just to keep him barely alive. This was explained ad nauseam to him and his wife with fully signed documentation of every conversation.
What they did was absolutely ridiculous—they’d shut one machine off because they decided it was too loud. He’d take his mask off because he decided it was too cold. She would unplug the hose if she decided it was in the way. So on and so on. They did everything you could think of that would restrict or cut off his oxygen intake. Then they would panic and call our emergency service when he started to react to no oxygen intake.
I lived not even five minutes away, right beside our EMS station, and calls would always come for me to “fix” the machines at random times of the day and night, 3–7 days a week. They refused to call 9-1-1 because they “didn’t want to make a scene”. This went on for ages, well over 18 months, until he was having trouble sleeping one night, and they shut the machines off before going back to bed.
It’s been years, and I still see the wife around town. She always glares at me as if I’m the one who unalived him.
She’ll Just See Herself Out, Now…
I’m an ophthalmology surgical technician. A glaucoma patient in her late 50s was going blind despite her drop therapies for the past six months. Her pressure was consistently in the 30s and 40s. I asked her if she was using her drops regularly (twice daily), and she said yes. I asked, as politely as I could, if she’d missed any doses in the past month. She said no. I asked if she was using them properly, and she got super offended.
She asked me very rudely, “Do I look like an idiot to you”? I said, “No, but I just need to be sure. Sometimes patients think they’re doing it right, but they can easily miss it. Can you show me how you use your drops”? So she took out her drop bottle, gave it a good shake (so far, so good), looked up at the ceiling (also a good sign), opened her MOUTH, and swallowed two drops.
I got in trouble, but my OD backed me up and told her that’s the stupidest thing he’s ever seen in 25 years. She cried and said we were being mean to her and that the drops burned her eyes, so she didn’t want to put them in there, and since the eyes, ears, nose, and throat are all connected, why did it matter where she put them?
That’s not how glaucoma therapy works. She needed a shunt implant, and we were able to save about 30% of her visual field. But yeah, she was drinking her drops and going blind.
That’s Ill-Adviseda woman in a white shirt holding a stethoscopePhoto by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash
I used to volunteer at a free medical clinic to take vitals and histories. A woman came in with pneumonia and wanted to know why her normal treatment of drinking half a bottle of Listerine and inhaling a pack of cancer sticks a day wasn’t working. I asked why she thought ciggies were a good treatment for a lung infection, and she said, “Indians used to purify the ground by burning all the weeds away before planting, so I’m puffing to purify my lungs”.
I left that one to the doctor.
I’m an optometrist. I had a patient booked in for an emergency appointment with a raging red eye. It was very painful. So I looked under the microscope, and the cornea was not happy: wobbly reflexes, haziness, the works. So I asked, “What happened”? The patient said, “It’s my niece’s wedding this Saturday, and I wanted to tint my eyelashes to match my hair, and the color scheme of the wedding is light blue, so I used the same dye for both to match the color”.
I inquired, “Does that hair dye contain ammonia, by any chance”? The patient answered, “I think so. Do you think my eye will be better by Saturday? Will it match the color scheme”? I just responded, “Unless you can convince them to change the color scheme to red, no”.
This Grave Mistake Takes The Biscuit
I heard this story from a sibling; I don’t think he’d mind me sharing it just on the off chance it prevents someone else from making this mistake. Lots of surgeons have a similar story, but thankfully this one doesn’t end in someone’s demise. According to my brother, these parents claimed that their child hadn’t eaten anything before surgery, as they were carefully directed. But it turned out they thought the surgical team was just being cruel to their child.
So when she said she was hungry that morning, they detoured on their way to the surgical center and got her a full Southern breakfast. The result was triggering—she dang near passed from aspirating biscuits and gravy. I’ve rarely seen my brother so angry and disgusted (somehow, biscuits and gravy look even more nauseating the second time around) as he recounted what had happened.
I do not doubt that he tore a strip off the parents once their five-year-old was stabilized, and they probably still felt justified and angry at the surgeon for telling them what they could and could not feed their child right before anesthesia. The parents did feel justified and hard-done-by, although, as far as I know, they didn’t express anger at my brother (knowing him, they didn’t get a word in edgewise).
There was no acknowledgment or realization that they could easily have unlived their own child or that they’d made a bad decision. I remember they were annoyed by her whining for food.
The Outcome Suited Them Just Fine
I’m a pharmacist. One time my coworker, another pharmacist, got served with a lawsuit while I was there. The patient suffered a fall resulting in a concussion, and she claimed it was because her Lisinopril (blood pressure medication) got increased from 10mg to 20mg and that she’d not been informed and passed out as a result. She was suing the pharmacist, the pharmacy, her doctor’s office, and the doctor.
It eventually came out in early discovery that she was at a rave and had a BAC of 0.18, THC, and MDMA in her system. The case against the doctor’s office, doctor, and pharmacy fell apart right away, so she decided to go all-in on trying to sue the individual pharmacist. The pharmacy’s POS system confirmed that she checked, “I decline pharmacist consultation at this time”. So the case was eventually dropped.
He Had To Take A Pregnant Pause
I work in the ER. I have so many stories. The one that left me dumbfounded was a woman who was brought in by her sister for pelvic cramps and amenorrhea for three months. Lo and behold, she’s pregnant. The sister informs me that she sleeps with the Brazilian construction workers building the condo complex next door. I ask if they have any questions.
The patient then asked me if her baby would come out speaking Spanish. After a long pause and her sister staring at the ceiling, I told her, “No, because they speak Portuguese in Brazil”. The patient seemed relieved, and the sister hustled her out of the ER before I could discharge her.
It Cost Them An Amen And A Legman in white dress shirt holding black tablet computerPhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
I worked in cancer research/surgery a couple of years ago. There is a good amount of people who will refuse to have a small removal/surgery because they think holistic medicine or praying it away will work. They always come back, and we always have to remove so much more. One time a patient had melanoma on their calf, and the doctor wanted to do a simple wide excision, but they left because they wanted to pray it away.
They came back a couple of months later because it got bigger, and we had to amputate their leg. I’m pretty sure they had positive lymph nodes at that point too.
They Gave Her A Herbal Warning
A lady brought her baby into the ER with a rectal temp of 103. The kid had tachycardia (i.e. a fast heartbeat) and looked awful. The worst part? The lady refused all medications. She said she didn’t believe in them and wondered why her herbal tea (she brought a jug of it) wasn’t working. She wanted us to just check her out. She thought a children’s emergency room just checked them out. I tried to explain why the kid needed an NSIAD. She kept refusing. She said she didn’t know what was in it.
I brought up the fact she had her kid in a hospital and that she received medication herself (IV, epidural, etc). The lady didn’t budge. Only concerned for herself, I told her that when the kid has a seizure or goes unresponsive and she calls 9-1-1, she can expect the medics to give the kid everything it needs regardless of whether she likes it or not.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, so the doctor threatened to contact social services for child endangerment and mistreatment. Only then did she start to listen…for, like, five whole seconds. She then left against medical advice. People like this exist.
Words Cannot Expresso How Ridiculous This Call Was
I’ve been a firefighter for 18 years. People call 9-1-1 for the dumbest things ever. But the one that takes the cake? It was a guy who called 9-1-1 to say he was choking. He answered the door as high as a Georgia pine with a lit joint in his mouth. I asked him who was choking. He calmly said that he was. He said he swallowed an ice cube, and now he couldn’t breathe.
Just to be sure and partly out of morbid curiosity, I looked in his mouth and then asked him to take a few deep breaths...which he was able to do easily. He still insisted he couldn’t breathe. So I told him to make some hot coffee and then drink it. He asked me, “Why”? I told him that the coffee would melt the ice cube, and he’d be able to breathe again. “Oh, cool. Thanks, man”.
Then I left.
I work in clinical research at a hospital. Basically, for patients who have cancer but don’t have other standard-of-care options, clinical trials, or “experimental treatment”, are a viable option for many. Some people have a negative view of research, but it’s highly regulated and not as scary as it sounds. Anyway, we went through the consent form with this one patient who had a history of substance use.
We don’t know everything about this new medication, but one thing we DO know is that using coke while taking this drug will make your heart “explode”, in layman’s terms. This patient “promised” they were off the sauce and that they “totally wouldn’t do coke while they’re on the trial”. Two weeks later, they relapsed, and well…You can figure out the rest of the story.
Wrestling With Logic
My brother did a rotation in an ER before med school. Paramedics brought in a man with a lacerated neck. He was inebriated and fell into a fish tank. His equally inebriated buddies called 9-1-1. When the paramedics arrived, they realized his friends had put a very tight tourniquet around his neck to stop the bleeding. It turned out that the guy and his buddies had been playing a boozy game of WWE.
He had a two-inch glass shard stuck in his head in addition to the neck laceration, but the dude came into the ER with no idea the glass was there. Four different firefighters had to hold him down as he screamed prejudiced remarks at the female doctor. My brother said that when they removed the glass, blood shot out about 10 feet in the air.
My brother, at that point, silently “noped” the heck out of medicine. He went on to attend Berklee Music School and is living his best life as a musical producer and engineer, and is not arguing with rednecks about whether or not there is a glass shard in their head….
Shear Stupiditya close up of a person laying in a hospital bedPhoto by César Badilla Miranda on Unsplash
I’m an ER nurse with seven years of experience. The list of dumb things I’ve seen is nearly endless. People coming in with massive burns because they smoked in bed is not as rare as you’d think. But the one that got me the most was a guy who came in for chest pain and fatigue. An EKG revealed he was having a really bad heart attack.
We activated the cath lab for emergency stents to hopefully save the guy’s life. They almost always access the patient through the groin for the procedure, so one of our jobs in the ER is to shave the patient’s groin to prep them for the cath lab. We got the clippers out, as we don’t use actual razors anymore, and informed the guy we needed to shave him. This is when things got annoying.
He refused. No problem, we figured we woul adjust let the cath lab do it once he’s knocked out. Nope, the guy refuses to sign the consent for the stents because he doesn’t want his downstairs shaved.
After trying to educate him, pleading with him, and contacting every goddang lawyer the hospital had, the guy signed himself out of AMA and went home.
He would rather die than have his curlies shaved. We looked up his address, and we weren’t the closest hospital to him, so if he passed at home, the medics would have to take him to a different hospital. I doubt he survived the day.
Paws For Thought
I’m a vet. A few years ago, I had a client bring his young cat in complaining of lethargy. Besides being a bit underweight, the physical exam was unremarkable, so I asked more questions about the cat’s diet. I asked him, “What do you feed the cat”? The owner answered, “I feed him [online trendy raw food brand]”. I asked, “How is his appetite? Does he finish what you feed him”? The owner replied, “Yes, he always eats everything”.
Pressing further, I asked, “How much do you feed him”? The owner said, “Half a cup”. For clarification’s sake, I then asked, “Once or twice daily”? What he said next absolutely floored me. He answered, “Once every three or four days”. Shocked, I replied, “…You only feed your cat twice a week”? The owner explained, “I believe in a more natural feeding approach, and based on my research, that’s how often cats eat in the wild”.
This owner was slowly starving his cat into oblivion based on some cockamamie idea he’d made up while watching National Geographic. I had to explain to him that domestic cats are not tigers and that small wildcats eat 10–20 small meals daily. Surprise, surprise, the cat’s lethargy and weight improved with regular feeding.
I once heard a story about a particular patient receiving radiation therapy. It was impressed upon her that she couldn’t miss her fractions of radiotherapy, even if she were busy, so she needed to inform us if she really couldn’t make the appointment. Well, one day, she couldn’t make it. But instead of just informing us, she sent her twin sister to receive the radiation therapy in her place.
Of course, the twin answered yes to all the ID questions and had the same birthday, etc. She was only found out when the radiographers had trouble matching her to the CT. The CT was of a person who had undergone a mastectomy, while this “patient” still had both her mammaries. This story, many years later, is still told to new staff during training to reiterate the importance of ensuring correct identification.
You would be stunned by the number of people who try to skip the queue. The number isn’t high. But it isn’t zero.
It Took Some Arm Twisting
I work in orthopedic rehab. I had a patient with a common fracture of the wrist that a doctor sent over because she was inexplicably getting stiffer and stiffer. I spent 17 sessions with her one on one, 40ish minutes each. But nothing I did worked. For whatever reason, instead of just bending her wrist, she would contort her entire body.
She was married, raised kids, had a career, and was a seemingly functional adult. I tried everything to get her to actively use her muscles to move her wrist. I put her in front of a mirror, filmed videos of myself doing the exercise or her doing it, and tried to get her to spot the difference between moving your shoulder versus moving your wrist.
The last time I saw her, I even strapped her arm to a chair, and she still didn’t understand that she should’ve only been trying to move her wrist. I will never understand it.
There Was No Sugarcoating It
I work at a vet clinic. We get a lot of this sort of thing, oftentimes with diabetic patients. One of the worst I’ve seen was an older owner come in with an extremely overweight, diabetic dog. The owner says the dog has been slow, tires easily, and has been “flopping around”, which is odd for her. The doctor checks the dog’s blood glucose, and it is so high it is literally off the charts.
Normal blood glucose for a dog is around 100 or so. The dog's reading was shocking—it was beyond 1000. We asked the owner how it got so high. Was she eating? She was because she was obese. Were you giving her the insulin? The owner then proceeds to say that they think she’s probably fine without it since she’s a “strong and hardy dog”.
Ma’am, your nine-year-old 80-pound Dalmatian is currently half-alive on the floor because you don’t give her insulin. How they kept that poor dog alive for that long was astounding.
Are You Kidding Me!?a person is holding a picture of a babyPhoto by Amr Taha™ on Unsplash
When I was an intern posted in the obstetric department, I saw a 42-year-old pregnant woman who came for an antenatal checkup. This was her seventh pregnancy, and she had only one living child. So she had five pregnancies previously, which failed (three spontaneous abortions and two stillbirths). The sixth one had been high-risk too, and she’d needed to get a cervical cerclage done (they stitch the cervix because it is too weak to hold a baby in until term).
When the OBGYN asked her why she would put herself through pregnancy again instead of being content with her daughter, she replied, “My in-laws want us to have at least two children”. It was the biggest Pikachu-face moment of my life.
Jesus Took The Wheel Years Ago
I’m an optometrist. I had an elderly patient come in surrounded by concerned family members because the patient ran over one of those pop-up tents on the side of the road that the telephone engineers use to protect themselves from the rain. Luckily no one was hurt as the worker was on lunch. Worried as to how the elderly driver missed seeing a large, red, and white tent in the middle of the day, it was then that the elderly relative admitted to having spent the last three years driving from memory.
Trying Hard To Be Patient
I had a patient come to see me in the clinic on a Monday; everything was fine. By Tuesday morning, she’s on the hospital census with a pending consult for me. When I see her, she says she’s fine and doesn’t know why she was admitted. She then walked out of the clinic, called an ambulance from across the street, and got taken to a different hospital.
She reported her problems were uncontrolled, and nobody was taking her seriously. They transferred her back overnight because I don’t work at that other hospital. She then gets discharged Wednesday morning. On Friday morning, she is again back on the census with a pending consult. I go to see her, and once again, she says she’s fine, and she’s not sure why she’s there.
This time she had a friend pick her up from the hospital and drive her to a small outlying hospital without the services she needed. She walked into the ER and said she was in distress but that nobody was taking her seriously. Yet again, she gets admitted and transferred back to my hospital overnight. She gets discharged on Friday afternoon.
Sure as heck, she came back on Saturday morning. I asked her, “Why do you think you keep getting admitted to the hospital”? She has no clue. Completely baffled. I tell her it’s because she keeps going to hospitals and telling them she needs help. No lights come on. I ask her, “Why do you keep going to other hospitals”?
Finally, she tells me, “I didn’t know what else to do. My apartment is a complete mess. My caretaker won’t clean my apartment because I’m supposed to learn how to do it, and I just don’t want to do it”. Please note that she is not a ward of the state but still gets most of the services, like coaches, guardians, drivers, etc.
So, I follow up with, “But why do you keep telling them that I’m not taking you seriously”? What she said next is forever burnt into my brain. “If I don’t, they just send me home in a cab”.
I’m a dental nurse. My favorite story involved a 30-something-year-old woman who came in for a checkup at the low-cost emergency clinic I worked at. Her teeth were broken and almost black, and her gums were angry, swollen, bright red, and bleeding by just moving her tongue against them. She needed multiple scaling and hygienist appointments and a debridement.
An X-ray showed she needed work on all but her wisdom teeth, and the results made me raise my eyebrows—she needed 10 fillings. She also needed root canals to try and save some teeth and extractions for, I think, three teeth or possibly more if the root canal treatment didn’t work. I explained everything and did the usual explanation of proper oral hygiene.
I then asked her if she had any questions, to which she said, “It’s okay if I lose this set of teeth; my others will come through”. The dentist and I just looked at each other, probably a lot longer than we should have. No words. I couldn’t think of anything to reply to that comment. I had a lot of weird and disgusting things happen at that clinic. I miss working there.
When You Just Can’t Sulfa Fools
I’m a paramedic, and I had this call while working on a rural fire/EMS service. A call came in for an allergic reaction. I arrived at a rural farm and found the patient in the kitchen on the ground, wheezing. Her husband said she took sulfa, which she’s allergic to, and after grabbing her blood pressure, we hit her with epinephrine (which is the same as an EpiPen) and Benadryl.
Her breathing improved, and she started to be able to answer my questions. First, I confirmed her allergy by asking, “So, you’re allergic to sulfa”? The patient says, “Yeah”. I reply, “And you took sulfa”? Again, she goes, “Yeah”. So I asked, “Was it mislabeled or in the wrong bottle”? She answers me with a simple “No”. Okay…
Needing more information, I inquired, “Was it your husband’s prescription”? And unbelievably, she tells me, “No, it was for our horse”. Huh? Feeling a lot more confused, I respond, “Was...Wait, did you say a horse? You took sulfa prescribed for a horse”? She then clarifies, “Well, I only took half”. Sure, that makes it better.
Still trying to follow her logic, I guessed, “...You only took half because a horse is much larger than a person”? The patient confirms, “Yeah”. Uh-huh…I’m still not fully understanding, so I respond, “...Okay. Were you intentionally trying to hurt yourself”? And the patient indignantly answers, “No, of course not”. Exasperated now, I pressed, “But you know you’re allergic, right”?
And she goes, “Yeah. I just have a cold and thought it would help me breathe better”. I couldn’t believe it. Incredulously, I then summarized the situation back to her: “So you took horse sulfa—which you’re allergic to—because you had a cold and thought it would help your breathing”? “I took half a horse sulfa”, the patient corrected me. Good Lord.
I just responded, “Sorry, half. Gotchya. Let’s go to the hospital”.
This Patient Was In A Jamopened white and orange travel trailerPhoto by Muhammed Abiodun Mustapha on Unsplash
I’m a paramedic and was called out for a stroke. The man was having a stroke; upon doing a stroke screen, it looked like the patient had something large in his mouth. Thinking maybe this guy had some sort of oropharyngeal cancer or mass, I asked his wife if this was indeed the case, and she looked at me with a very puzzled look.
She said no, and then I asked, “What is in his mouth”? His wife then says it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that she shoved in there. When her husband’s symptoms started, she thought it was just that his blood glucose was low, so she tried to force-feed this poor man an entire sandwich before she called 9-1-1. Ah, job security.
It Was An Oxidant Waiting To Happen
There was a 24-year-old patient who was brought in from a prison in a rural county. He was working roadside cleanup when he found a bottle in a ditch that he thought contained booze, and he quickly chugged it down. To be fair, it did look like booze. It wasn’t. It turned out it was a substance that contained sulfuric acid. Its pH was less than 2.5...It just ate up the litmus paper. So shortly afterward, he gets to the ICU, and he is in excruciating pain and vomiting blood.
The gastroenterologist took him to do an EGD (basically a procedure where they can look at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum with a camera attached to a flexible tube), and the pictures were horrendous. You could see his stomach and esophageal mucosa eroding. He had to be sent off to another hospital where they had an esophageal surgeon who could repair the mess.
He, of course, needed multiple surgeries and had a very long hospital stay. I saw him a few months later when he was admitted for another issue. He was down to 90 lbs (from about 150) and was getting fed through a PEG tube. He was very lucky to be young and otherwise healthy (but not very smart).
A Rash Decision
I’m a pharmacist. This story comes to mind, although I’m sure there are plenty more I’m not remembering. A woman came in, claiming that her medication was making her vomit. She said she couldn’t remember what it was called. So, I looked up her profile, but there was nothing recent, just some one-off antibiotics and an anti-fungal from almost a year ago.
I asked her if her medication was over the counter, and she said that it was and pointed me to the Monistat cream. I thought it was incredibly strange that a cream meant for “lady parts” had made her vomit, so I asked her how she had been using it. That’s when I learned the disgusting truth—much to my surprise, she’d been taking it by mouth.
She explained that she would fill the plunger with the cream, shoot it to the back of her throat, and swallow it so she wouldn’t taste it as much as putting it directly on her tongue and swallowing.
What A Meathead
I’m a rural ER doctor. A 35-year-old female walked in with right-sided jaw/neck swelling. She says, “I think it happened because I ate some meat yesterday that my body is reacting to…” Then suddenly, 10 minutes later: “Oh yeah, and I accidentally swallowed a bee, and it stung me in my mouth right before this happened. Sorry, I forgot to mention that”.
When Urine Need Of Some Whizdom
I had an adult male patient who needed a Foley catheter. His mother was in the room, and they both lived together in the backwoods of Tenessee. I informed them both of the order for a catheter, how it worked, and why it was needed. His mother stated, “Well, he’s still a virgin, and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with his virginity being taken in a hospital”.
In the United States, it's no secret that sex education for minors is inconsistent at best.
But some people learned very unexpected stories about how babies were made, and those stories had a way of making a lasting impression.
Curious about other's stories, Redditor ILoveYourCat asked:
"How did you think babies were made when you were little?"
One Time's the Charm
"I knew babies came from sex as a fairly young child. My parents never sugar-coated that. But for some reason, as a kid, I thought you only had to have sex once to have multiple pregnancies. I seriously didn't fix that misunderstanding until early middle school."
"At some point, when I finally accepted that you had to have sex to have a baby, I thought the only time people have sex was to make a baby, and it only took one time to get the job done."
"Then when I figured out teenagers were having sex, I thought you had to be married and have sex to make a baby, but then when my unmarried cousin got pregnant, I was just confused."
"But I was sure my parents only had sex four times, and then when my mom got pregnant with number five, I thought, 'Wow, they did it again.'"
"A stork delivered them, of course. What the f**k, lol (laughing out loud)."
"Storks... I thought people trained them to steal babies from a factory and you would leave special treats on your doorstep as payment and encouragement for the stork to steal one for you."
"I was scared to death of birds for the longest time and would have a tantrum at the zoo when I saw a flamingo."
Young Conspiracy Theorist
"The government. I used to think that we lived in a totalitarian society and that the government was in complete control of everything."
"I thought the President sent people their babies when asked by mail."
Scheduled Baby Delivery
"The women in my family explained to me at the age of six that a doctor calls you sometime after reaching adulthood at the age of 18 to schedule a baby delivery date."
"The husband either pays to schedule the appointment or the government does after verifying that you have been married and financially stable for quite some time."
"When two people kissed."
"I thought the same thing, but I understood that when my mom gave me a kiss, there was no risk. Being someone raised in a very Christian background, I assumed that when you got married, God made kissing a reproductive act."
"Since I made this assumption, I remember questioning why teenage pregnancy could possibly be an issue."
The Ultimate Christmas Gift
"I thought Santa was bringing them."
"He was. I mean, Christmas comes but once a year..."
"I MAY NEVER ENJOY CHRISTMAS AGAIN."
A New Meaning to 'Forest Friends'
"When I used to ask my dad where I came from, he'd say he found me under a rock in the forest. Of course, I would go look for babies under rocks, too, but all I ever saw was dirt and those rolly-polly pill bug thingies."
"It was so gross thinking babies were just found THERE that I was actually relieved to find out how they were actually made!"
Pregnant By Proximity
"I thought women got pregnant by just being around a man, and I was always confused about what would happen if a woman still lived with her parents or dad after she’s an adult."
Coming of Age Story
"I thought it was a 'just happens once you reach a certain age' sorta thing. As a woman, I was terrified because pregnancy sounds like the most awful thing, lol (laughing out loud)."
"(I know the end result is worth it but even as a 31-year-old, I'm like, nope.)"
"I thought they grew like a seed inside the mother's belly."
"Technically, that’s true."
"Well, not like that."
The Power of Marriage
"My mum told me you couldn't have a baby if you weren't married. Note that she said 'couldn't', not 'shouldn't'."
"When my unmarried cousin was sleeping a lot my mum told my aunt 'she's having a baby'. I thought 'she can't be having a baby, she isn't married.'"
"A couple of weeks later she had an engagement party, quickly followed by a registry office wedding. She had a baby a few months later."
"I thought they grew on trees. True story."
"Baby trees, lol (laughing out loud)."
"I was surprised when I learned how it really happened, lol. I was like, 'You mean there are no trees?' And Mom just shook her head."
They Were Just There
"I don't recall a time where I gave the matter any thought without knowing the reality of it."
"Like, literally, until the day I was first introduced to the concept of birth, I don't think I cared where babies came from."
"Right, the little guys just EXISTED."
Educated Is Best
"I asked my mom and she told me the truth."
"Educate your kids, folks. They can handle it."
"I didn’t... They just showed up, honestly."
"That’s what I thought. I was terrified as a little kid that I’d wind up being a teenage mother because I thought it just happened spontaneously."
"Exactly what I thought would happen. Like one day you were just, boom, six months pregnant."
While these responses might be funny, it's an important reminder of an area in the educational system that's often lacking.
But in the meantime, while the system's curriculum is getting sorted out, at least we can take comfort in the fact that we weren't alone in believing these tall tales.
What is it that makes people confess their deepest, darkest sins to millions of strangers on Reddit? While we may not know the answer, we do know that the following confessions run the gamut from funny to salacious to nasty nightmare fuel. In fact, you might want an Ouija board to send some of these skeletons back to the closets from whence they came.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events
On one autumn day when I was 11, I was told to take out the trash. As I was doing this, I noticed the box of matches next to our grill. Since it was fall, I burned a small pile of old leaves for a couple of minutes and then stomped on them to put out the fire. Unbeknownst to me, all that did was push the embers right next to our house.
The next thing I knew, the house went up the flames. It was terrifying—but that wasn’t the worst of it. The firefighters put out the fire and the house insurance covered the damages, but the authorities were very curious about how it started. They suspected someone jumped to the fence and lit up the leaves to burn our house down.
Unfortunately, this caused my parents to think someone was out to get us. Scared for our lives, they decided to move elsewhere. They lost their well-paying jobs and they lost a lot of money on the sale of the house. For the next solid seven years, we lived in stress and poverty. My parents still do not know that I’m the reason they had to live like that.
I got busted with a lot of computers from my work—about $25,000 worth—and pleaded guilty to grand theft. The authorities spelled my name wrong and put down the wrong birthday. I also never gave them my license or social security number. I just kept saying, “I don’t remember it” over and over during my 90-day incarceration.
That was 34 years ago. Every few years, I still do background checks on my name and I’d be lying if I said that my heart doesn’t race each and every time I do it. Nope. Still not there.
You Do You
I recently quit my job to become a stripper—and it’s had a surprising side effect. First, the only person who knows this is my husband. I have more quality time with my family, I am more financially stable, I’ve gotten into better shape, and I don’t have to worry about budgets or bills as much. If we need something in the house, it can go on the monthly or the weekly lists depending on severity.
If my husband wants a new project, I can give him his guy time. If my kid is sick, I can afford the medicine. I don’t have to worry about money, and neither does my family. During my own childhood, I would agonize over whether we had food, electricity, heat, or tampons. It feels good to be able to provide for my family.
Hate The Game, Not The Player, Right?
I have managed to create a facade that makes it appear as if I have worked full-time on the project I was assigned to but it actually takes only me half of the time. It was tricky but I have managed to organize things in a way that allows me to do anything except my work at the office. On home office days I mostly play video games.
Whenever I get asked how my work is going, I lie to make it look like I am fully swamped with my work and the schedules and deadlines, etc. A side effect of this was that I got really good at lying and could deceive anyone about nearly anything and most people would actually believe it. I’ve been doing this for two years now.
If my coworkers or boss ever found out that I get paid for a full-time job while only working roughly 20 hours a week, I’d get fired immediately. Additionally, I live in a small town, and getting caught would totally ruin my reputation and any chances at a potential new job. I also just want to say that I don’t feel bad about my behavior at all.
The Sweet Smell Of Revengeperson walking beside Golden retriever on the streetPhoto by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash
When I was around age 10, I was walking home with my dog when he cut the corner and walked diagonally through the yard of this super-mean old lady who lived at the end of our street. She was in her yard at the time tending to some really fancy-looking rosebushes. All of a sudden she sprayed my dog all over with some kind of insecticide or fertilizer.
I should mention that my dog was a very friendly golden retriever who didn’t even go near her and certainly didn’t do anything threatening. I couldn’t believe that she sprayed him with whatever chemical she was using on her roses. I ran back home with the dog and immediately hosed him off. He coughed a bunch but seemed OK.
I didn’t tell my parents because I somehow thought that I was going to get into trouble for letting the dog walk in her yard. I’m glad I didn’t tell them, though, because I decided to get revenge. That night I snuck downstairs, out the half-bath window, and down the street to her yard. Once there, I cut down every single rose bush I could get my hands on.
Putting In The Work
I’ve kept this on the down low, but I used to have a drinking problem. I went to detox, rehab, and an aftercare program. Then I went into a halfway house and finally my own apartment in another state, which made things easier. I’m 31 and, honestly, it sucks. I want to break free from lying and hiding, but things always get uncomfortable if I let anyone know about my journey.
It’s really tough because I believe that anyone I tell will judge me and not want to talk to me. This just makes it easier to lie. Not to mention, lying has worked pretty well so far, so why fix what’s not broken? Unfortunately, I also understand how all of this not only hangs over my head but can also eventually catch up to me. I’m just stuck in the middle, I guess.
What Happens On Vacation Stays On Vacation
I was on a holiday in China, visiting some cousins, and was out riding my bike. It was about 9:30 pm. I turned left, crashed into a stack of trash cans, and got my leg stuck in some hole. I looked down into the alley that I had been about to enter and could see a guy wearing about five face masks, all adjusted so that they covered his identity completely.
It was actually quite comical, and I almost laughed out loud, but by that point, my leg was really starting to hurt. The masked man had a giant, ruler-sized blade and was pointing it at another person’s neck. He was an older man with what I swear was the longest scarf I have ever seen in my life. I just sat there staring as they yelled at each other in Chinese.
Apparently, the old scarf guy owed the masked man a ton of money. I must have made some sort of noise at that moment because they both suddenly turned toward me in a bit of a panic. The masked man shoved the scarf guy to the ground, glared at me, gave me the finger, and bolted into the night.
Just What The Doctor Ordered
After weeks of unbearable cramping and bleeding, I found out at the gyno that my ex gave me chlamydia. I was tested prior to us getting together and I didn’t sleep with anyone in between then so I knew it was him. I also found out that a few people he had slept with prior to me had it. He kept blaming me and saying some messed up stuff and we ended up breaking up.
I had known that the relationship had almost run its course anyway, so that didn’t really hit me hard, but a lot of the things he said to me toward the end did. Anyway, I picked up the antibiotics for the both of us. My best friend had taken them before and told me that they give you a horrid stomachache and the worst diarrhea imaginable.
And they definitely did. I decided to wait a couple of days until I was off work and could stay home to take them. I was pooping every five minutes all day long. When I gave the antibiotics to my ex, I was feeling extra petty that day and told him that he should take the antibiotics before work in the morning because I had taken them at night and they had me so wired I was up all night. I genuinely hope he pooped himself at work.
Road Trip Gone Wrong
When I was in my 20s, I went on a cross-country road trip in an RV just for fun. I would just drive from town to town eating food and checking out cool stores and places. Livin’ the dream, right? It was a fun way to spend the summer. Well, it would have been—if I hadn’t done something stupid in one of the towns I visited.
I don’t know why, but when I was in one of the stores, I took something that was worth a lot of money. I was caught, cuffed, and jammed in the back of a squad car. On my way to wherever it is they take you, the cop got called to something urgent. He left me locked in the back of the car (with the AC on, what a guy) and went into a business.
I tested the door handle for kicks and it wasn’t locked. I got out of the car and ran a couple of streets over to my RV. I got into it and was able to pull one of my hands out of the cuffs. I started up the RV and drove out of town. I had never given them my name and, luckily, I had left my wallet and cell phone in my RV.
They recovered the item I took but had no way of identifying me. Thankfully, I have never heard anything else about it since.
A Very Difficult Decisiontoddler's walking on the seashore with adultPhoto by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash
When I was 17 and pregnant for the second time, I decided to give the second child up for adoption. I was so scared and I already had a child who was a little over a year old. I didn’t even get to see my son after he was born. I spent the next two weeks bawling. That’s when I made a devastating realization. I had to take him back.
I had to go to this poor woman’s house and get him. Seeing her heartbroken face was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. In my heart, my heartbreak was worse. Maybe that makes me selfish but he came from my body and I couldn’t imagine a world without him. When I got home, my mom kicked me out and had my stuff on the lawn.
I ended up getting my act together and working 80 hours a week to support myself and my babies. It felt got to figure out my life. My son is now 23 and amazing. I don’t regret my choice at all, but I live in fear of my kids somehow finding this out. I don’t want them to ever know, especially my son. I’m afraid he will think I didn’t want him.
Hot For Teacher
I make good money writing adult short stories—but that’s not the shocking part of my secret. One of my recurring characters is based on one of my professors at university. He recently came across one of my stories and recognized my writing. I couldn’t believe it when he actually sent it to me, offering corrections and tips. He knew it was based on him. He knew I have a thing for him. We ended up hooking up.
Catch Me If You Can
After a semester of community college, I ended up working as a summer intern at a job where even the most junior positions require a minimum of two university degrees. I was given this unpaid position for six weeks as a favor to a friend of mine. And let me just say, I was super-grateful at the time, even though I didn’t know what the future would hold.
I’ve now been at the company for more than 30 years. I’ve risen up the ranks to increasingly complex positions with additional responsibilities. I now supervise people with multiple university degrees and each of them with a wealth and breadth of knowledge in complex subjects where any mistakes will have dire personal, professional, and corporate consequences.
I’ve won multiple regional and national awards for achievements in my field and I’m often called on to mentor younger employees who have more letters and abbreviations after their names than my doctor has. But there’s something that none of them know.
I don’t even have my high school diploma. Nobody has ever asked me about my education.
Time To Face The Music
In my first year of high school, we had a music competition. I think this was an attempt to get kids to not drop the subject when they got to choose which subjects they’d take. I entered the composition category and fully intended to make my own song. I was into techno at the time and was trying to learn tracker-style music sequencing software.
I procrastinated and didn’t have anything worthwhile, so I ended up submitting one of the demo tracks that came with the software. The night of the contest, I discovered that the only other entry was from a couple of special-needs students who just played the same two chords over and over. I was too scared to drop out because it would mean owning up to my plagiarism.
Needless to say, I won the category, but I felt pretty awful about it. To make things worse, the music teacher played the whole song for the class and tried really hard to get me to take music as one of my exam subjects.
Blood Is Not Thicker Than Money
I found out about a year ago that after my dad perished, the will named me as the primary heir to his small accumulation of wealth. I was 15 at the time. My parents were divorced at the time and my mom arranged to have all of his life savings put away until I was 18. The problem was I never received any of that money—and the reason why was twisted.
I found out that my mom secretly hid the money from the family and lied and said he barely left us anything. She ended up buying our family house outright with the cash that was meant to go to me and my brother. She also bought herself some nice jewelry and went on a couple of holidays. For a while, I considered getting a lawyer, but I decided to play dumb about everything.
If it got out that she had done this, it would totally tear the family apart again. So now I’m a broke 23-year-old saving up for my own house penny by penny all while knowing for a fact that there’s about $450,000 that should have been mine. My close friend is married to a lawyer and he reviewed my case and my evidence.
The lawyer said that if I took this to court it would be a slam dunk and over and done within a couple of months. I won’t do that to my brother and I won’t do that to my family. But I still have a plan. When I’m 30 and starting a family, I will sit her down and tell her she can quietly work out a plan with me to give me what is rightfully mine.
For now, she actually thinks she’s fooled me. She even goes so far as to lie and complain about mortgage payments. I don’t hate her, I just feel sorry for her. You have to be twisted up inside to do that to your own son and daughter, but here we are. I sincerely hope the lie eats her up at night.
The Truth Is Out Thereman sitting on sofaPhoto by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
When I was a teenager, I had a horrible compulsive lying problem. My “stories” controlled my whole life and I completely ruined most relationships before they even got started. Not to mention, my lying made me worse in the head because I bottled up my feelings for many years. Thankfully, I have recently been getting therapy and meds—but there’s been a dark side to my progress.
As part of the healing process, I chose to upend my life by admitting the truth to those I lied to. Some don’t talk to me anymore, which I can understand. It felt good and also horrible, to tell the truth. If you have a similar issue, please talk to someone. Sometimes I still get the urge to lie, but now after I lie, I throw my shame on the table and correct myself.
Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
A couple of my old roommates decided it would be funny to trash my room while I was on holiday in Vegas. I came home to find pizza stuck on the walls, stained sheets, wet toilet paper stuck to the ceiling, and about four unflushed bowel movements in my en suite toilet. It was definitely not the homecoming I had expected.
Being a rather quiet and non-confrontational man, I laughed all of this off, but on the inside, I began planning. I decided to get them where it hurt. So, when they were out one night, I peed into their orange juice. The next morning at breakfast, I happily watched them dig into it. To this day, no one knows about this.
Kids Are Cruel
I used to get bullied because of severe eczema on my face. I had no eyebrows and my skin was very flaky and red, which earned me the nickname “Alligator Girl”. I am now on medication, which has made me totally unrecognizable. My glow-up has given me a bit of imposter syndrome and I have experienced some pretty privilege. I live in fear of people finding out about my unattractive past.
I was an addict in my 20s. I’ve been clean for nine years, and no one I work with, or associate with at this point in my life (besides my wife, kids, and immediate family), knows that 10 years ago I was an unrecognizable shell of who I am now. It definitely wasn’t easy, and I still have a lot of baggage from that time of my life.
The hardest part was cutting out all the people that I had been “friends” with (AKA using buddies) for almost a decade. As soon as I stopped using, they quit hanging around.
Take The Money And Run?
I’m a trauma surgery nurse and I found a devious loophole in my job. I’m now making almost as much as some of the doctors. I basically work smarter, not harder. My coworkers, and even my boss, don’t know. My boss just adds up the hours but never sees the amount I’m paid—only the payroll department knows what I’m actually making.
What I’m doing is kind of hard to explain, but nothing I’m doing is against the law. We have about 3,000 employees at my hospital and I’m a casual call employee. I pick up trauma shifts from traveling nurses, but I’ll charge them $100 to 200 a shift for picking it up. They get paid so much that they are happy to pay me that.
As permanent employees, they get paid double to work a trauma shift, plus a bonus and multiple differentials. Since I’m casual call, I get a 15% differential that other employees don’t get. Then I get extra because of my master’s (even though I’m doing a regular RN’s job and not a master’s level job). All of that then doubles when I work a trauma shift.
In 2022, I only worked for about 25 hours per week. My other coworkers, in the same position, working 40 hours per week, make a quarter of what I make for four times the work. If the other nurses find out, no one will want to work full time and the administration will reconfigure how I’m paid. I’m going to quietly ride this out for as long as possible.
Small Slip, Big Consequenceswhite ceramic mug filled with coffeePhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
I’ve never told anyone this, not even my therapist, and it’s my biggest regret. This happened over five years ago and it still haunts me that I was even capable of this. My girlfriend was talking about breaking up with me after we had been together for five years. The next day, she said she was just in a mood and told me she loves me and that I should forget about that conversation.
We had makeup nookie. But I had an intrusive thought: “If you get her pregnant, she’ll stay”. I quickly realized I’d made a horrible mistake.
The next morning, I slipped the morning-after pill into her coffee. I didn’t feel like too much of a terrible person because she had always been adamant that under no circumstances did she want a child until she had finished law school. But I was in for a surprise. She still got pregnant. It was a nightmare.
She wanted an abortion. I paid for everything, held her hand the whole way through, and helped her however I could. We broke up a few years later, but it was unrelated to the unwanted pregnancy. I still feel like an absolute jerk whenever I think about what I did to her, and what it ultimately resulted in. I want to say I was a naive young adult, but I had already graduated college by then, and I was fully aware that what I did was against the law.
I’m aware that what I did was monstrous, and I have to live with that every day. I want to say that I had no clue what I was thinking, but I absolutely do, and that terrifies me. If I could take it back I would. While she was emotionally, verbally, and even sometimes physically abusive to me, she 100% didn’t deserve that trauma.
The Heart Wants What It Wants
During COVID, I got so bored during lockdown that I made a Selena Gomez stan account on Twitter. I had a cute anime profile pic and everything. All my mutuals thought I was their babygirl. The funny part is that I’m also a truck driver who looks like a lumberjack and an oil rig worker. In other words, I’ve held my masculinity to high standards, so if this ever gets out…
Putting In The (Self) Work
I am not actually in therapy. Not because I don’t believe it doesn’t work or help me. I am 25 and have spent more than 16 of those years with different therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists dissecting and analyzing my thoughts and feelings. The problem is that my parents don’t accept any form of self-discovery unless they think it comes from a professional.
I have grown more in the past two years from being 8,000 km (5,000 miles) away from them and just writing down and processing my feelings than I have from any doctor they’ve sent me to. So I came up with a plan to fool them.
My parents never acknowledged my growth until I started falsely using the phrase “my therapist told me to”…
Ever since I started doing that they have had nothing but praise for how hard I’ve been working on myself and how much better I’m doing. They have finally understood things I’ve been trying to explain for almost a decade just because I told them that my therapist said it instead of me.
It isn’t costing any of us any money but if they found out they would definitely freak out.
Snitches Get Stitches
I shared a physics class with twin brothers who were disruptive, nasty, and sociopathic. When they finished school, they were often in and out of prison. One of them even served time for trying to bump off some guy. One time, these brothers burned all of the trees on a sacred plot of land near where I lived.
I knew it was them. One of them took a reel of phosphorus from the school lab. They’d been fascinated with it since we had done an experiment earlier in the week. The authorities knew that the fire had been started with a reel of phosphorus tape. I told the principal. If the twins ever found out that I did this, I hate to think what they’d do to me—even 25 years later.
Thankfully, they’ll never know and I spend the majority of my time in two different countries anyway. so even if they did find out somehow—oh, let’s face it, they wouldn’t be smart enough to find me. Law enforcement was able to prove that it was them and they confessed. Their excuse? They wanted to see how fast it would all burn.
By The Seat Of Their Pants
This happened to me on the job when I was working as a paramedic. We were on the way to a chest pain patient and I suddenly had an intense need to pass gas. There was no way I could hold it in. That’s when disaster struck. Unfortunately, my bottom burp added some weight and color to my white trousers. Since we were on the way to a job, though, there was nothing I could do.
So, during the whole job, I made sure to keep myself turned in a way that ensured no one was ever behind me, including my colleagues, the patient, his wife and son, and later on the hospital personnel. I wore my jacket tied around my hips like an idiot as well. It all worked quite well, but, wow, was that a tough moment.
Cheating Heartsshallow photography of man hugging woman outdoorsPhoto by freestocks on Unsplash
I had a very romantic affair with an older married man. It was awesome. I had known this man for a few years and he was very handsome for his age. He was in his 50s and I was 32. He took care of himself and was exceptional in the bedroom. He would whisk me away to different countries and was always a complete gentleman.
I do not condone sleeping with married men or women, and would never do it again. In my defense, he was a good stress release from the abusive on-again-off-again relationship I had with my ex. His wife was an annoying and emotionally abusive Karen, but I believe they’re trying marriage counseling at the moment. Did I mention that he is a politician?
From Side Hustle To Main Gig
I was recently fired from one of my jobs because they found out I share naughty content on an online subscription service. I told my husband that I was let go because I stood up for myself in front of the wrong people, which was an incident I had been reprimanded for the day before. I paid for my kids' Christmas with that money and I plan to continue so that I can make up for the lost income stream.
Take To The Grave
My father caught my grandfather cheating on my grandmother in the 1990s. For reasons unknown, the lady in question revealed their 40-year affair and gave my father picture proof that she had been dating my grandfather since the 1950s. My grandfather was violent when he was younger, so my father decided to keep the affair a secret to protect my grandmother—but he still used it to his advantage.
My father threatened to show the picture to my grandmother if his father ever became aggressive again. Unfortunately, my father passed before he had the chance to tell her the truth. My grandparents are still married, and this secret would do some crazy damage to our family today—especially since my grandfather now has dementia, and would ironically be blissfully unaware of it all.
Almost 20 years ago, when I was about nine years old, I used my mom’s credit card information to buy some toys from a random website. The site was obviously 100% fake but I was a kid and didn’t know much about anything at the time. The next day, my mom freaked out when she found out that there was a $500 transaction she didn’t make.
The people at her bank wanted to look at my computer, but, thankfully, she told them that I couldn’t have done it because I didn’t know anything about credit cards or online shopping. Just a few days before my little mistake, she had been traveling, so to this day, she believes that someone in Perú had taken her credit card information.
I had food intolerance until I hit puberty. For the first 13 years of my life, I could only eat chicken, potatoes, rice, beans, and bread. I was not allowed to eat anything else—and no spices either. So every time there was an event or a party, I would bring my own chips and that was all that I was allowed to eat.
Eventually, though, I would eat what the other kids were eating. From there it developed to taking banned foods from the supermarket so that I could them out myself. I did this for many years until the doctor told me I no longer have food allergies. If I had been caught back then it would have backfired pretty hard on me.
Prom Crasherswoman in blue sleeveless dress wearing blue and white floral tiaraPhoto by Todd Cravens on Unsplash
When I was a senior in high school, I went to prom with a group of friends. I had bought a single ticket, not a couple’s ticket. One of my friends knew a guy who wanted to go to our prom but couldn’t because he went to a different high school, so I let him walk in next to me and pretended he was my date. Thankfully, nobody looked closely enough at my ticket to realize it wasn’t for two people.
You Can’t Pray A Lie
In my junior year of high school, I had to write a six-page paper on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Ugh. During Spring Break, I found out that my sister had the same assignment two years prior. I asked if I could use her paper, which she had got a 91% on, and she told me it was fine as long as I denied that she had anything to do with it if I got caught.
So I changed about 30 words to better fit my writing style, updated the MLA format to the present (it had changed slightly in those two years), and copied it into a new document (in case the metadata was ever looked into). I ended up getting a 99% on it and aced the course. My sister, to this day, still claims I owe her one.
A year ago, my secret would have been “people finding out that I’m bi”. I lived 36 years of my life as a hetero man with a wife and two kids. Denying that part of my identity did me no favors. In March, I came out to my partner of 16 years. It did not go well. My already fragile marriage was ruined. I may have lost my wife but I didn’t lose anyone else.
My daughters, father, mother—everyone that mattered understood and accepted me. I now have a new partner who loves and accepts me for who I am. I was able to keep the house and I get to co-parent our beautiful girls. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. This won’t work for everyone, but sometimes it’s healthier, to be honest.
I used to get along with most of my coworkers, but not this one particular person. To say I hated her would be an understatement. This one time, she took her wedding ring off and left it on her desk at work. What I did next was absolutely heinous.
I found it and sold it for gold at the pawn shop. Unfortunately, I only got like $60 bucks for it.
Which Witch Is Which
My mother-in-law is hyper-Christian and very anti-LGBTQ+. She is very proud of her relation to a Salem witch trials judge. I am married to her amazing son and his parents have no idea that I’m bi, agnostic-ish, and a witch. My husband knows this and totally supports me but she has no clue. I occasionally attend Bible study with her for the gossip and connections.
All In The Familywomen's black shirtPhoto by Ignat Kushanrev on Unsplash
Last Christmas I learned that my older sister and I are technically only half-sisters. My sister’s biological father tried to start a relationship with my mom that resulted in a pregnancy and ultimately didn’t work out. That biological father is in heaven now and I didn’t probe into his identity or his demise in case it was painful for my mom.
My mom raised my sister as a widow at my grandmother’s house during the 80s. When she met my father in the 90s, they really clicked. Shortly after, they got married, moved into a new house, and had me. My mom told me to never call my sister my half-sister and just pretend that all of this doesn’t matter. If anyone asks about the 10-year age gap, I just tell them that it’s a long story.
I feel like I’m pretending to be an adult every day. I do not, whatsoever, feel like an adult. I work 40 to 50 hours a week for a multinational manufacturer in a very fast-paced environment, people come to me for answers all day, I own a vehicle and have my own place, and people say things like “You always have your act together” and “You’re so responsible”. But there’s something that they don’t know.
I have bills and responsibilities like every other functioning adult out there, but it feels like I’m pretending. The absolute truth? Ninety percent of the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I Google everything. I am incredibly awkward when I talk to people. I feel like I’m just this kid running around playing dress-up with a bunch of real adults.
An Unbreakable Bond
In 2013, it was my first semester of college. I had an anthropology class at 8:30 am and I’m not exactly a morning person. Apparently, this girl I sat next to wasn’t either. It was one of those things where we just saw each other and knew because we were both absolute zombies. We had an unspoken bond: “No one else will understand how much we want to sleep, so let’s just hang with each other”.
We stayed pretty true to that, too. We’d often go for food after class, so, understandably, we got close. But we were both super-religious and thought every form of attraction was some kind of sin. So, as close as we got, we were always kind of awkward with each other. When we got an assignment to go do interviews, it felt natural to go with each other and just help out.
So, we got mine done pretty early in the semester but hers took a bit more planning. We had to drive about two hours to this mountain city where her grandfather lived to talk to him. I didn’t drive at the time, so we took her car. There was about three months’ worth of romantic tension built up between us by then, so the drive was slightly uncomfortable.
Once the interview was completed, we had dinner in a small pub. It was about dusk, and both of us said that we wanted to wander into the forest for a bit before heading back. Just to take in the atmosphere for a while, you know? So we parked by the side of the road and went down into the trees. It was extremely beautiful.
We lived in the desert, where most of the vegetation we were used to was a few palm trees here and there but this was amazing. No sound from the city, no smog from the cars, just people, trees, and silence. She ended up brushing up against me to get past some roots, but in a way that felt almost deliberate. I tested it back by brushing up against her at times when I didn't necessarily need to.
We finally decided to say “screw it” to all our pious fears and just decided to have fun.
I wasn't a virgin at that point, but I had made a lot of really dumb decisions up to that moment, which was why I was as religious as I was. She was a virgin, despite being a few years older than me. There was that feeling that it would last forever and that we would always belong to each other.
Afterward, during our walk of shame to her car, things were obviously awkward. Now, the drive back home was uncomfortable for pretty much the opposite reason as when we were headed up there. The silence gave me a lot of time to think, though. I decided that I was just gonna tell her exactly how much I loved her. Except I chickened out and didn’t say anything.
I don't know why I didn't tell her. I guess because I was freshly 18 and have always been kinda bad with people. It was Friday and I knew I’d see her again on Monday—that would be my moment. Monday came, and I was excited and nervous. I even dressed better than I normally do. She didn't show. We usually didn't question when the other person didn't show, so I didn't think much of it.
When she missed the whole week, I started getting concerned. I tried texting and calling her, but no replies. She missed a second week. That Friday I asked the professor. Turns out, he had just got the news and was going to tell the class before he began the lecture. On the Sunday after our forest escapade, she’d been in a car accident and didn’t make it.
For a while, I didn’t react. I didn’t believe it.
I didn't know anything about her family outside of her grandfather, so I used what I could to find her family. I showed up at her brother’s work. He could see that I was pretty shaken as I spoke, and I could see that he was getting kind of agitated, so we decided to wait until his shift was over to talk. He told me about how happy she was in the days before the accident.
He said that she’d been pretty depressed, but had just started to get out of her room more, was getting along with her parents, and was generally more fun to be around. Then he told me that someone had been driving while inebriated and hit her from behind, wrapping her car around a tree. That was what did it. That was the moment that I really felt the impact.
For days I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t WANT to do anything. I failed all but one class that semester. My entire life was basically falling apart. Through all of it, I never really told my parents, friends, or anyone. All they knew was that I was in a pretty bad place.
I’ve had a few attempts at relationships since, but it was hard for me to not feel guilty whenever I got close to someone because I was still in love with her.
I got rid of my belief in God and His “plan”, because how could I justify her senseless demise at the hands of some irresponsible jerk? Since then, I’ve met someone else who has helped me get over my grief. I’ve been pretty open about my baggage, as she was about hers. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with my existential awareness too, I guess. So I’m in a much healthier place overall.
Sometimes They Start Young
I accidentally took a bag of shredded cheese from the store. I was seven or eight months pregnant and I had my two-year-old with me. He was sitting in the seat part of the shopping cart. I gave him the bag of cheese to play with and didn’t realize that he somehow ended up sitting on it. As I was loading my groceries and putting him into his car seat, I saw the contraband.
For about two seconds I considered going back into the store to pay for it. I then realized that I was completely OK with being an outlaw. I was also way too tired to walk back into the store at that point. Sixteen years later I’m still sleeping well at night. I now realize why my mom NEVER took us to the store. I’m one of seven kids, so it was her only alone time.
Nightmare Come True
This happened when I was in the 8th grade. We were taking standardized tests (STAAR, I think) and, as someone who’s both shy and has selective mutism, I’ve never been able to raise my hand in class. Anyway, I had to pee. Badly. There were still about 20 minutes left before the bell would ring, so I figured I could make it. Big mistake.
The pee just started and I could NOT stop it. I just sat there in the classroom, sitting in my own pee, which was also running down my legs. I didn’t move until the bell rang, and everyone left. This one girl I didn’t know stood at the door and really tried to get me to leave. I think she knew what I did and was trying to make fun of me.
Once everyone was out, my teacher asked what was wrong. I started to cry and told her that I had an accident. She told me to wait there, and then she went and got two other teachers. The three of them literally guarded me in the hallway so no one would see my wet jeans as I went to the office.
They gave me a change of pants and I went home. I would just like to give a shout-out to those teachers because, honestly, I’m sure there are teachers out there who have just sent me to the office and not guarded me to save me from the immense embarrassment and ridicule that would have come from getting caught with wet pants.
Potluck Hackbrown wooden spoonPhoto by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash
Whenever I’m cooking for people or bringing something to a potluck, I put a little more than double the amount of salt called for in the recipes. This means I never have to bring home leftovers because the dishes are scraped clean. Yes, my super-secret confession is salt. I don’t want to get the stink eye from my health-conscious friends.
Well, That Was Unexpected
When my sister was going through a mental health crisis she decided to spill all of my secrets to our family and friends. She resented the fact that I was trying to convince her to get help and she felt that exposing me would take the heat off of her. She was trying to deflect attention from herself and if she was going down, she was going to take me with her.
She exposed a lifetime’s worth of sins and regrets that I would change if I could go back in time. Nothing I did was against the law, but some people would consider it immoral. It was very personal stuff that I never wanted to share. Well, everybody knows now! It opened up conversations that I never intended to have with our family.
I offered to have an open dialogue with our family and answer any questions but no one cared. Well, my sister’s plan completely backfired on her.
In fact, I received love and support while she’s been completely ostracized by most of our family. They found her behavior to be self-righteous and deplorable. Being found out didn’t ruin me, it freed me.
Time To Embrace Neurodiversity
I am autistic with hyper emotionalism and near-savant level “hobbies”, which I never tell anyone I am good at. I hate the way my brain is because it has driven so many people away from me. All my life, my mom has told me that she is thankful that she and my dad had me because I’m so difficult that anyone else would have bumped me off.
She says that they love me for my issues and difficulties and cried with me when I couldn’t handle the feelings or sensory stimulation I had. I hate it. I just wish I was normal. I don’t want the IQ or the “Oh wow, you must be a genius”! No, I just have a brain malformation that makes it seem like I’m a genius on an IQ test.
When I have been put in a social situation without my medication, I’ve been called crazy, weird, a bad friend, and egotistical because I can’t stop talking about my specific “hobbies”. My secret is that sometimes I tell people I have Borderline Personality Disorder because I’d rather have people think that I have something that can be fixed.
It sucks that this is actually who I am and I’m just a screwed-up person. The only people who have ever loved me for all my weirdness and craziness, other than my mom, are my spouse and her daughter. Somehow, they just think my weirdness is endearing. They’re amazing actually. I just don’t like to embarrass them and stuff.
The Bad Old Days
Back in the 90s, when I was about six or seven years old, I was abruptly woken up by my mom saying that two kids from my class were at our front door with their mothers. They had told their moms that our teacher had inappropriately touched them and they wanted to speak to everyone in the class before going to the authorities.
That night, my mom asked me if our teacher had ever done anything to me and I told her no. She was so relieved. I will never forget how terrified she was right up until I said no. My dad was with me when I gave my statement to the authorities and I again said nothing happened. I lied. I was just so terrified of getting into trouble and upsetting my parents.
The case went to court and the teacher was found not guilty as there was no evidence. Mind you, this was a long time ago when kids were not believed as easily as they are now. I have spent the past 27 years of my life keeping this secret and trying to block out most of the memories.
Before the accusations, this teacher had wanted to take me and two other girls on a weekend trip to a nature reserve. Thank God my mom refused. I have vague memories, but I always wondered if my testimony would have made a difference. Am I the reason he never went to prison? I am terrified he went after more victims because I stayed silent.
My husband and I were kept apart for two years during the mess that was the pandemic. During this time I was also waiting for my Green Card which meant that I couldn’t visit him. He came over to visit me once during the two years, and I noticed that he had a dating app on his phone. I decided to sneak a peek into his phone.
I checked his messages and I could see that he had been talking to a woman on there. It was obvious from the messages that they had met up and done the deed. From what I could tell, they only did it once and there weren’t a whole lot of messages after that. I’ve never confronted him about it and I don’t really want to.
Since I’ve been in the US, he’s been super attentive and loving. As far as I can tell there are no dating apps on his phone or computer. I feel that if I told him I know, or told any friends or family, they would push for me to leave him and think I was an idiot if I didn’t. We have a baby boy now and I would never want to disrupt our lives over a meaningless one-night stand.
Get Thee To Therapya person in a hospital bed with an ivPhoto by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash
There’s a big gap on my resume—and the reason why is seriously twisted. My wife and I tried to end our lives together and wound up in the hospital for a couple of weeks. I don’t know if it would ruin our lives if it became public, but it would complicate things. After the first month of caring about our mental health, our close family went back to the mindset of “If I can't see your mental illness, it’s not a true illness”.
The Cat’s Out Of The Bag
When I was five, I would regularly get the family cat to attack my little sister when she was in her baby walker device. I hated her and I wanted to get rid of her, so I tried to get the cat to get rid of her.
Ultimately, the cat just ended up scratching at her feet and my parents got rid of the cat. They gave it to one of their friends.
Misplacing The Blame
Once, in high school, I got really sloshed and secretly took a dump in a friend’s car. The consequences were disturbing.
He ended up being so convinced that his girlfriend did the dirty deed that he ended up breaking up with her over it.
One of life's many challenges to being successful and happy is to work hard and stay focused on our respective goals.
There are many obstacles that can discourage us, but persistence and a drive to overcome can be rewarding.
Unfortunately, there are some things that are simply beyond our control, and it has nothing to do with fate.
It's the qualities we're either born with or without that can impede us or prevent us from ever achieving what can only be seen as a pipe dream.
Curious to hear examples of one of life's cruelties, Redditor G00dR1ddance asked:
"How did your genetics f'k you over?"
These Redditors were unhappy with appearances.
"Lazy eye, and a total lack of depth perception."
"Same. Do you struggle with driving? I just moved to a big city and I can’t drive here bc navigating all the traffic is too hard with no depth perception. It’s so scary!"
The Worst Parts
"Moms Family: Perfect teeth, male baldness. Dad's family: Terrible teeth, perfect hairline."
"Me: Sh**ty teeth, bald before 25. My 2 brothers: Perfect Teeth, Perfect Hairline."
"Feels FN bad."
"They should all chip in for a trip for you to Turkey for a cheap hair transplant and dental work."
Made For Farming
"All 4 grandparents were farmers. I look like I was bred to farm and f**k to make more little farm workers. Broad shoulders, big boobs, no waist, no @ss worth mentioning, and thick legs. I just look like I was bred to work forever until I die. 120 years ago."
Stop With The Flattery
"I too am sturdily built. I am not tall but I am muscular and broad with the big boobs and the broad hips and sturdy legs. I could carry very heavy sacks of feed from when I was very small. My family nickname was 'the forklift truck', so that's.. nice."
Room For More
"My mother’s OB said she had a pelvis ‘you could drive a bus through’. I was a natural breach birth and share those genetics. You could host the last supper on my a** and have room for plus ones."
These Redditors are living on borrowed time.
"Bad heart. I'm the first male in at least 4 generations to make it to 40. And that's only because I was finally properly diagnosed and treated. I wouldn't have made it to 35 if I didn't find the right cardiologist."
"Bum ticker - dad’s aorta exploded when I was 11 and my brother died from the second heart at 41. Just hoping to see my 60s."
Being Kept At Bay
"I have a blood condition where I retain iron. It's slowly killing me. Destroyed my liver, pancreas, and led to a massive heart attack."
"Fortunately, I live in the 21st century where modern medicine can keep me going with...bleeding."
"Sad Aspect" Of A Family
"My oldest uncle married a woman who had Huntington's, but they were very young and she wasn't symptomatic yet. In the 70s so no genetic testing or much public awareness. They had 5 daughters. My aunt and their eldest have long since passed away, and the remaining 4 are in various stages of the disease. It's always been a sad aspect of our family. A truly cruel disease."
"I’m BRCA2 positive, giving me roughly 74% chances of developing an incurable genetic breast cancer in my life. It also gives me about 22% of having an ovarian cancer."
"On the other side, double mastectomy lowers my chances to about 3%, but it should ideally be done before I reach 30. I will also need a hysterectomy in my 40s."
"I had 50/50 chance of getting the BRCA2 gene mutation so well, genetics did f'k me over!"
Redditors share more of their crosses to bear in life after being blessed with these traits.
"I'm more attractive to mosquitoes than most people. If I'm out when mosquitoes are around, I end up covered in bites (which I'm also allergic to, so I end up with quarter sized welts that itch for daaaays after the fact)."
It's sobering to realize the ailments your parents struggled with are starting to become our own to bear.
High blood pressure, arthritis, and predisposition to atherosclerosis are some of the undesirable parts of my family's genetic makeup that I never really thought about until I noticed how fatigued and in pain I've become with age.
Although I have so much gratitude for surviving every year I get to celebrate my birthday, getting old still sucks.