Ten Stupid Things I've Done

I've done more than ten stupid things in my life. Trust me. This post has a dual purpose:

1. To explain how I learned lessons from some stupid decisions

2. To make you laugh a little

I have no intention of turning this into a confessional piece or an airing of my dirty laundry; but I think it's healthy to be upfront with my readers--I make plenty of mistakes. All of us can benefit from our mistakes if we learn from them and if we help others recover from their mistakes without being overly harsh and angry at them. I can relate to people when they do stupid things. I've been there. But some of these things were not really "mistakes". They were just "not-so-smart"; and I share them for the sake of laughter.

#1 Eating a worm

This one at least has a legitimate explanation. My friend and I were traveling during the summer of 2006. We were going to churches around the USA and helping them operate week-long youth outreach ministries (sometimes called "Vacation Bible School"). We worked with teens and grade-school kids and had a great time with them! As a method of encouraging kids to invite their friends, we would set goals for the kids and give them "rewards" for achieving the goal. You might have figured out where this is going. One day my "friend" got the kids all excited about reaching their goal and told them, "If you reach the goal, Dan will eat a live worm right in front of you!" We were on stage, and it's hard to say no to hundreds of chanting children.

Guess what happened. They reached their goal. I ate a worm, and people cheered. I could feel it squirming in my esophagus (tube between your mouth and stomach) all the way down. I didn't vomit, so kudos to me. I felt it a little in my stomach, but a pH of 2 will quickly quiet any worm.

#2 Cliff jumping into water

It seems that summer of 2006 was a time to do some "out-of-the-box" stuff. I have never been a risk taker. When I was about 7 or 8 (don't remember exactly) I broke my skull open trying to jump into a pool and staying as close to the edge as possible. So my love of safety actually hurt me. Ironic. 

My friend and I were in Maine that summer and somebody offered to take us to a cool swimming spot. Just so happened that spot was an old quarry. There were two ways to get in the water. You could meander down the rocks with some climbing skills, or you could jump off a 15-20 foot cliff. In the presence of three testosterone-infused guys in their early 20s, what do you suppose was the preferred method? It took me a long time to work up the gusto, but I jumped--twice actually. I'll probably never do that again. I felt like I was in the air for at least five minutes. I just kept falling and falling and falling and my brain told me I would die. I'm glad it was wrong.

#3 Stealing

Stealing is wrong. We are told that from the time we're toddlers. Yet people do it. I was not stealing to eat or survive. I was a teenager at the time, and I was just plain stupid. Thankfully, God is in the business of forgiving people.

Ephesians 4:28 "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs."

#4 Bottle rocket guns

Yep, as kids, my friends and I would put bottle rockets in little PVC pipes and shoot them at each other. We're alive. It was fun. 

#5 Dry ice "exploding things"

Google doesn't like the naughty "B word". Some of you might not know about these wonderful home-made contraptions. All you need is a plastic bottle, dry ice, and water. Seriously though, these are dangerous and should not be toyed with. We were fortunate enough to not get hurt, but I'm pretty sure it's not because we were careful. We had extra guardian angels!

#6 "Yep, I'm a mechanic."

I've had a lot of help fixing my car--mostly from my father-in-law. Before I was married my Dad did most of the car stuff, so I remained ignorant. He tried to teach me, but it fell on deaf ears. Then I moved away and got married. I wanted to take care of our car, so I started tinkering. It's still running, in case you're wondering; but I've learned some things the hard way.

My first attempt to change the oil was funny. I took out the wrong plug and drained out all the transmission fluid. Then I proceeded to pour a bunch of oil into the engine that was already full of oil. I'm a genius, I know. After a few frightening and confusing hours, the situation was back under control. Lesson learned. Shortly after this I purchased a Haynes Repair Manual for our car.

#7 Traffic eggs

Once again, we must travel back in time to my adolescent years. My friends and I thought we were pretty clever. We would hide behind a staircase that was about 75 feet from a busy street. As traffic would come down the street, we would lob eggs the best we could and hope they made contact. Looking back I realize how dangerous that was and how angry I would be if I were the driver of those cars! I have no rationalization for this one. I was dumb.

Proverbs 22:15 "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child..."

#8 "Sure, I can cut down trees."

Give a man a chainsaw and beware. They are just so much fun! Believe it or not, I have a pretty high success rate at trimming trees or cutting them down entirely. The problem is that it only takes one mistake to do some serious damage.

One summer my brother and I were trimming trees to make some money. We did a decent job; but one house I remember quite vividly. We dropped a limb on their phone line, and they were not happy. We fixed it and gave them a discount.

I have collaborated with my Dad and my father-in-law over the years to cut down other trees. Most of the time things went smoothly. Once an entire tree fell on a fence and a shed (not my fault), and another time I dropped a limb on my own fence (my fault). Nobody was hurt, so I'm not sorry.

#9 Trusted politicians

I promise I won't get political here; but there was a time when I believed politicians. I actually listened to the words they said and assumed they would honor them. Call me jaded if you want, but I do not believe a single word that comes from their mouth--Democrat or Republican. I believe their actions. When they actually do something, then I believe it.

#10 Banked with Bank of America

Oh, Bank of America. I had checking and savings accounts with them for several years. Then I had one of their credit cards. Then we took out our mortgage with them. I guess I must hate myself. Since then we've eliminated all the accounts except the mortgage. Why? Because inconsistency. Because dishonesty. Because corporate confusion. Because 2008. Because poor service. If you like them, I hope I didn't hurt your feelings; but I have never actually met someone who liked them, so I'm not too worried.

1 comment:

  1. So happy you are still alive and healthy after all that! Your escapades remind me of those of your mother and I when we were teenagers!