There's a really excellent thriller from the 1940s called Sorry, Wrong Number. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, who received an Academy Award nomination for playing a woman who overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and tries to prevent it.
Now, as good as this movie is, it reminds me why I don't bother to pick up the phone for numbers I don't recognize (and yes, obviously, this film takes place in the days long before caller ID).
But calls from wrong numbers aren't all annoying or even bad (though at least one story below might just be). We heard all about people's experiences after Redditor cowgary asked the online community,
"What is your strangest wrong number story?"
"I got a call..."
"I got a call at like 6 am, and I was still sleeping so I kind of didn't understand what was happening- but this person was SO EXCITED to tell me that they got the new job, and they recognized I was still half asleep so they said they'd call me back later, and said "I love you." - I just said, "I love you too, I'm glad you got the job." I absolutely did not know that person and they never called back, but I think of that call all the time."
Oh no! I bet this keeps you awake at 3 a.m., huh?
"For some reason..."
"An old friend of mine got a wrong number text from a mother responding to an ad about a used electric wheelchair for her child.
For some reason, he used got a lot of wrong number texts. He would usually have a little fun with the sender before telling them they had the wrong number, and share it on social media.
But this time, he didn't mess with her (obviously). He posted it on social media and asked around if anyone knew where to find a used electric wheelchair. The mother couldn't afford a new one. It got a lot of attention, but nobody could find one for sale. After a couple of days of no luck, anonymous donors bought and donated to them a brand-new electric wheelchair.
More heart-warming than strange, but a good story either way."
"I hung up..."
"Guy: Is Steve there?
Me: You have the wrong number.
Guy: Nice try, numbnuts, put Steve on the phone now.
Me: You really do have the wrong number.
Guy: Is this (my phone number)?
Guy: Then it's the right number, isn't it? Put Steve on the phone.
I hung up and then he continued to call and leave threatening voicemails for a few hours, until he either got bored, realized he had the wrong number, or perhaps died of hypertension from being so angry all the time."
That's scary. Perhaps he did realize he had the wrong number––which is all the better for you.
"I was home from college..."
"I was home from college for Christmas break around 2014 and ended up chilling downtown with a few buddies from high school who were also in town for the holidays.
While hanging out, I received a group text with a bunch of numbers I didn't recognize. The message was a group picture with people who were obviously at a Christmas party. I made the only logical choice and immediately sent a selfie back with the message "wrong number."
The rest of the people in this text absolutely loved this and responded with "hahaha"s and "you're kinda cute" texts, until one person said, "You should come to our Christmas party!"
The party was only a few blocks away from where I was hanging out, so I left my friends and went to the party.
I find the apartment, walk-in, and it had a "record scratch moment" like from a cheesy 90s movie. Everyone goes silent stares at me: I am the only white person there. After a few seconds, the host shatters the silence with the shout: "It's wrong number guy!"
We end up doing shots and partying for The next few hours! By far the BEST wrong number experience ever!"
There is always a level of risk when you go to a stranger's home but this sounds like it ended really well. Hopefully you kept in touch?
"She talked to me..."
"I had a little old lady call me 3 different times to reach her friend who was all alone for the first mothers day. She had this rich joyous voice with southern accent blended with her Jamaican accent.
She talked to me about her grandson that was her pride and joy. She was thrilled to hear stories of my wee ones on mother's day. We shared some great stories and laughs.
Each call Sue and I had a lovely chat and reviewed the phone numbers. She just kept getting that pesky area code wrong. She kept saying God wanted us to chat. It was a great moment."
Parents Explain Which Things Surprised Them Most When Their Child Moved Out | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
"Back in my community college days I had a pretty tight clique, but we lost touch when I transferred to university. After that I did an MA, so I was gone quite a while. The rest of them stayed tight.
Well, when I moved back to town after finishing my MA, I was invited to a New Year's Eve party by one of my old friends. At this party was Gina, a girl I had had a crush on, but never got anywhere with. A few years later we had a pretty good time at the party, and ended up in the same car home.
So we were in the back seat and started fooling around.
Next day I wake up with a massive headache and a text message from someone I didn't know saying things like "If you touch my girl again I will break your arms!" I texted back "I'm not so sure she's your girl." The response: "Wait, 206 area code? Where is that?" "Seattle." "Sorry dude, wrong number."
I never saw Gina again though."
"Got a call from a government agency..."
"Got a call from a government agency, FDA maybe? Anyway, the first thing the lady says to me is, "We got a call that you have a problem with goats?" I'm like no, sorry, wrong number. "Are you sure you don't have a goat problem?" Nope. "Ok thanks, sorry about the confusion."
Are you sure it wasn't the Department of Agriculture? Just saying.
"He sounded lonely..."
"Got a call from an older dude, told him wrong number and the exchange went as follows:
Me: Sorry wrong number
Him: Oh alright, sorry to bother you
Me: Okay b-
Him: How are you?
Me: Umm, good you?
Him: Eh I'm alright.
Me: Alright, well uh… gotta go bye
He sounded lonely so I felt bad, but I was just so thrown off and had no idea what to say."
Aww. Poor guy. Hopefully he found someone to talk to.
"Later that night..."
"A picture was sent to me from a group of numbers I'd never seen before. I opened the message and it was a photo of a white family standing around a casket. There was a sign behind the casket that read "we'll miss you, Aunt Sandy" It gave me the chills but I had no idea what to say, I had no idea who they were. I left it on read and went about my day.
Later that night, someone from that group texted "you didn't show up, the least you could do is text your condolences to your family"
I went downstairs, took a selfie with my black grandfather and Guatemalan grandmother, and said "my condolences, but I do believe you have the wrong number"
One person sent a single 😂 emoji and another person replied "I AM SO SORRY"
Never heard from them again. Hope they were able to find whatever family member that played funeral hooky though."
You see, as interesting as some of these stories are, they have not convinced me to answer numbers that I just don't recognize. Guess I'll be missing out on all the fun.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
We're all adults who are totally mature and don't, at all, giggle a little bit on the inside when someone talks about what conditions are like on Uranus.
Yeah just kidding, that's hilarious.
Uranus is our favorite heavenly body.
Reddit user rsideoson asked:
"What is a word that sounds inappropriate?"
Don't worry, Reddit is absolutely no more mature than we are and we all deserve a childish giggle every now and then.
"Uvula (dangly bit in your throat)"
"Ooohhh, so it's a girl house"
" 'All god's children got a uvula!'."
"In Swedish it is called gomspene whick translates to pallet teet."
"That little dangly thing that’s hanging in the back of their throat?"
- Admirable-Door1724Snl Season 47 GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
A What Hole ?
"Our city has had several instances of exploding manholes in the downtown area. My friends never let an opportunity to make such comments pass them by. (And I love them for it!)"
"Played some drawing game once where you'd draw the word u get by the game and others would try guess it...my friend got that word and drew a .. manhole..like.. a literal manhole not the actual one, and that was when i learned that word lol"
Chew Works Too
"Especially at the dinner table.."
"Those mukbangers masticate all over the place"
"This is the winner."
"Do you oppose public mastication?"
- Cy41995Hot Dog Eating GIF by NBAGiphy
Lets Just Not Use It Anymore
"This is not a fun or funny example, but, 'niggardly'."
"Etymologically, it has absolutely nothing to do with that other word. They have totally different origins, and sound/look similar purely as a matter of coincidence."
"But it's just not worth the explanation when "stingy" or 'miserly" work just as well, so it's basically a dead word."
"Even the Reverend Jesse Jackson defended the use of this word."
"Also, TIL he's still alive."
"I remember being a preteen and stepdad using this word. I was horrified. He was mildly racist so I wasn’t too surprised but we were in public. 'Dad!!!! There’s a black woman right there!!!'."
"He explained what it meant but I sure never ever used that word."
"Yeah this word is gone forever. There is no way of tossing that out in casual conversation ever again, and even if you did you'd have to spend a good few minutes defending what you meant and looking it up to prove it."
Playing Around With Speed
"It's a running term and as a grown man I still giggle when I hear it."
"Wait is that how it’s spelled? I always thought it was Fartlick lol"
"You guys use that? It's Norwegian, meaning speed game."
"Fartlek’s were misery in high school XC. Always just called it a fart lick"
- silverhammer96Safari Park Running GIF by San Diego ZooGiphy
Fortunella Sounds Fancier
"Got banned from a forum for calling someone a kumquat. No regrets."
"The restaurant I worked at had a kumquat margarita and for a good 2 weeks the menu accidentally had cumquat, but each time the manager tried to fix it they’d accidentally print the wrong on again and there’d be too many copies to just throw out."
"That's a good one"
The 'L' Is Important
"This may only be true in American English...in other accents it's much less suggestive"
"Don't wanna wait forever for that caulk to harden"
"I used to work for a construction company doing purchasing and apparently in the winter caulk gets cold and refuses to work so you need to put your caulk in a caulk warmer"
"My brother insists on over enunciating the L so it sounds like. Cow-LK"
- jawshoeawhomer simpson GIFGiphy
You Sure About This One?
"Jiggers, also known as the chigoe flea. Similarly, chiggers, also known as berry bugs."
"Jigger is also the little double-ended cup bartenders use for measuring alcohol for cocktails."
"I was looking for these two."
" 'Jigger' is used every day by Australian surveyors. It’s what we call our theodolites or Total Stations. Short for thingamajigger perhaps. If my mate’s jigger wasn’t cooperating, he’d say 'jigger please'.”
"What’s my motherf*cking name?"
So Many Botanical Puns
"One summer day at a barbecue at my mum in laws, she walked outside and announced “wait til you see the size of the flower on my clematis” I snort inhaled my wine"
"I think they can cure that with a penicillin shot/s"
"Another botanical word that makes me giggle:"
"Scabiosa. Or, as the Brits would say, scabious."
This Is Another One We Should Maybe Not Use
"Negus. It means a hot drink of port, sugar, lemon, and spices, and it's a royal title."
"Can you use it in a sentence?"
"Doesn't it also refer to an Ethiopian king?"
"Negan in Roman times."
" 'I am Negus! Thou shalt provide me with copious produce!'."
You heard (and laughed at) Reddits appropriately inappropriate words, now it's your turn to get in on the fun.
As much as people try to put on a good face in public, many of them have idiosyncratic behavior–like involuntary foot-tapping–they are ashamed of having.
Some folks, however, are not as self-aware.
These individuals could care less about other people and they act like the world is their nasty, unkempt, malodorous, living room.
Curious to hear examples of gross behavior, Redditor Dazzling_Age_4795 asked:
"What's the most disgusting bad habit?"
No one wants to see it, yet, here we are.
"Taking a dump and then not flushing in public toilets."
"I work in reception in a dental office, our Covid protocols included having wipe down the bathroom after each person. The amount of pee I’ve had to wipe off the seat and floor is absolutely disgusting. People are pigs- wipe the damn seat if your aim is that awful!!! They knew too, the intense stare down I gave them when exiting the bathroom, oh they knew."
Lazy Pet Owners
"Dog poop ( living in holland ) drives me crazy how much is just lying around. Disguisting habit for dog owners to just not care to clean it up. Which is in fact mandatory but hey... if no one sees it, its not a crime."
"People who don’t pick up their dog’s poop don’t deserve to have a dog. I also hate seeing bags of dog sh*t left on the ground. Like why bag it and just leave it there? It’s actually better for the environment if you don’t put it in the bag, lazy."
The Gross Collection
"Keeping your booger wall in plain sight where guests can see it."
"I once saw a person picking their ear and eating the wax. That sh*ts even worse then picking and eating out of your nose."
Those without any concept of having respect for their environment are very telling of the type of person they are.
Trashing The Place
"Those folk who buy cigarettes and casually walk around unwrapping and dropping plastic as they go... God I hate those guys."
Driving Smokers Suck
"People smoking while driving seem to almost always throw their cigarette butt out the window without a care in the world."
And those who don't have any respect for others in public got majorly slammed.
"Not sure if it's a 'habit', per se, but those people that have their phones on speaker ALL THE WAY UP casually talking on the train, in the grocery store, and in restaurants. I do not want to hear about your mother's bunion."
"Dude for real. I go to the library every once in a while for some quiet time.. the number of people who talk on their phone is ridiculous. Half the time if you go up to them and ask if they could be quieter or take it to the lobby they act like you're the rude one."
Clogging The Shower
"Taking a sh*t in the shower and pushing it into the drain... I knew people who did that, safe to say I don't anymore."
A Crappy Confession
"I’ve got to be honest, I farted once and a nugget, maybe the size of a pickled onion, fell out whilst I was taking a shower. As the particular bathroom I was in had the toilet in a separate room I decided the safest option for me was to squish the turd into the drain with my foot."
"I’m not proud but sometimes it has to be done."
"For clarity, I do not condone purposely dropping a full sh*t in the shower."
– User Deleted
Germy COVID Hands
"Not washing hands after using the bathroom, especially in public. Like at a restaurant."
Look, I know we all have our quirks, but I'm just not a nail-chewing and booger-flicking stan.
It's not like people with these habits are deliberately trying to inconvenience my life. But...they are.
I don't need to be stepping on nail remnants and dried-up balls of nose mucus with my barefeet.
So, what gross habits and/or behavior really gets your blood boiling?
People have different levels of tolerance when it comes to profanity.
And some people can't stand the sound of rude or vulgar language so much that they can't bring themselves to say these naughty words themselves.
But when anyone reaches a high level of anger or frustration, they still might need a verbal outlet.
And instead find themselves coming up with an alternative word, which helps them release their anger, but won't offend any nearby ears.
Redditor No-Citron5628 was curious to hear people's favorite alternatives to curse words, leading them to ask:
"What is your best swear word alternative?"
"Oh neptune."- StrappinYoungZiltoid
The last thing you want to find in your bed!
Instead of rude, be educational!
"I said this instead of… other words once when I tripped and accidentally taught this to my nephew."
"Now my sister sends me videos of my nephew saying it when things don’t go his way."- YellowForest4Warning GIFGiphy
Think of the children!
"Not sure of an actual word, but my bf and I have been trying to limit cursing since my toddler is becoming very verbal."
"He’s resorted to making very angry yelling caveman sounds when he wants to curse someone out rather than using the actual words."- Present-Lime-1244
"I like, 'slug in a ditch'."- spiked_macaroonslug GIFGiphy
We can always learn a thing or two from the kids...
"A child in my class tries to swear but unintentionally says foot instead of f*ck."
"It's probably my favorite alternative."
"Wow, didn't expect this to get so much attention."
"Thank you for the award! "
"For those asking, he is a very tiny child with a deep yorkshire accent who actually picked up the word from another child but hasn't noticed he doesn't have the pronunciation quite right yet."
"Context wise though he's bang on which makes it even funnier."- sophishx
Just one word won't do!
"DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU GET, LARRY?!"
"DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU FIND A STRANGER IN THE ALPS?!"- KevinBillyStinkwater
Be mindful, it could backfire
"When my son was little he started saying bastard so I kept saying custard."
"Until the day he complained that we were having bananas and bastard again."- CheeryShortarseDoctor Who Snack GIF by BBC AmericaGiphy
Mother knows best.
"My mother always said, 'Curses!'"
"We, the kids, laugh about it all the time."- tenzip10-0
If you feel like you've sufficiently got your anger or frustration out of your system, your choice of words served their purpose.
Whether or not they would have to be bleeped out on network TV.
When we think of iconic movie quotes, there are several which come instantly to mind.
"Here's looking at you, kid."
"Love is never having to say you're sorry."
"I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse."
Appropriately, the ones that might haunt us the most, are those delivered by villains, who linger in our memories not only by their creepy attire and presence but by their devious choice of words.
Frightening us long after the credits stop rolling.
Redditor N_the_character was eager to hear what the Reddit community considered the best quotes from both Hollywood's legendary villains, as well as some lesser-known antagonists from film, TV, and video games, leading them to ask:
"What's the most bada** villain quote?"
Benedict from Last Action Hero
"Benedict to youg Danny in 'Last Action Hero':"
"I should tell you that I have killed people smarter and younger than you."- S-Marktlast action hero art GIF by xponentialdesignGiphy
"Pirates are evil?"
"The Marines are righteous?"
"These terms have always changed throughout the course of history!"
"Kids who have never seen peace and kids who have never seen war have different values!"
"Those who stand at the top determine what's wrong and what's right!"
"This very place is neutral ground!"
"Justice will prevail, you say?"
"But of course it will!"
"Whoever wins this war becomes justice!"- TimeisaLie
The Man with the Midas Touch...
"Goldfinger after Bond says 'Do you expect me to talk?'
"'No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die'."- Hunk_StudlyInterrupting GIF by James Bond 007Giphy
The Last Airbender's Azula
"Dai Li: 'You've beaten me at my own game'."
"Azula: 'Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player'."- herculesmeowlligan
Inigo Montoya, watch out!
"'Good Heavens, are you still trying to win?'"
"-the six fingered man."
Video game villains shouldn't be forgotten, ask Ghaul
“'You are not brave, you’ve merely forgotten the fear of death'."
"'Allow me to reacquaint you'.”- KentuckyBourbon94
The Good, the Bad, and the one-liners
"'When you have to shoot, shoot'."
"Tuco, 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'."- jpablo680
Whiterose of Mr. Robot
“'Because Phillip, I had to ask you twice'.”- Lontano64
The final frontier indeed...
"'A true victory is to make your enemy see they were wrong to oppose you in the first place'."
"'To force them to acknowledge your greatness'."
"Gul Dukat, Deep Space Nine."- hamdingersDeep Space Nine Dislike GIF by Star TrekGiphy
A true villain will have you quaking in your boots with just one look.
But it's with their words that they really get you.
And how they instantly go from being merely villains, to legends.