"I had a good friend in high school. Nice guy. He wasn't super smart or athletic or anything but, you know, just a cool dude who would probably grow up to have a nice comfy family and life.
One day he's riding his bike in our neighborhood. Quiet place, almost never any cars. This day, he's riding down the street and a truck comes to pass him. For some reason, he thinks it would be funny to do a bunny hop next to the truck to freak out the driver.
He cases it, hits the ground, truck runs over his head. Helicoptered to the emergency room. They have to remove part of his skull to allow his brain room to swell. He's in an induced coma for a while.
He misses the whole year of school. Comes back the next year and is in special education. His kind personality remains, but now he's more like being around a sweet 8-year-old than a nice 17-year-old.
I believe he 'graduated' from high school via special education at 21. Still lives with his parents now, in his 30s."
"I had a good friend who was truly in love with music.
He would practice and study until he felt sick, then after a sleep would continue it. I've seldom seen anybody that dedicated to a single thing ever since. It was like watching a forest-fire burning in his soul. He was happy, driven, always doing something. His skills rapidly advanced and he got into a band and got a couple of gigs. Things seemed fine...but then he started getting involved with heavy drinking.
See, people don't realize how messed up drinking can make your life. For him, it was: drinking with friends, then drinking alone if he had a terrible day, then drinking, regularly, during his practice to 'make him feel the music more.' Then came the drinking on boring days, to have fun. Mind you, he was still functioning like a proper person during all this, but people started to notice the small things. Unchanged clothes for a few days, a shaky voice in the phone, had to drink before practices, every week he was partying three or four times and asking his friends for money.
Right now, his hands are so messed up he can't hold a chord down. He struggles to keep low-end jobs because of his addiction. He became temperamental and drove away from everybody who wanted to help him. He lost his fire and his passion for music."
"I forgot to return a library book my mom asked me to drop off. I convinced my sister to borrow our dad's car to take me to the library to return the book while our mom was still at work.
On the way back from the library, we were making a left-hand turn, less than a mile from our house. Saw an ambulance with lights coming, the intersection was clear, so my sister decided to go before the ambulance got there.
An idiot pulled out of the bar, also saw the ambulance and decided to floor it through a yellow (maybe red) right.
The resulting accident ripped a tire off his jeep and flipped it onto its top. The car I was in was sent spinning across the intersection, luckily coming to stop in an empty lane. The entire passenger side of the car, the side I was in, was crushed.
That ambulance I mentioned. That was the ambulance that took my sister and me to the hospital after I was cut out of the car with the jaws of life.
If the impact had been just a bit further towards the front of the car, I would not be here.
A forgotten library book resulted in one totaled car, court fees as we fought to get a ticket given to my sister overturned (she was found not guilty after a year of court, the other driver was later found to have been drinking when the accident occurred but had friends in high places who hindered us every step of the way).
Glad to be alive, but stuff like that messes you up. I can't drive a car, PTSD. I have a migraine due to a neck injury, and I have other damage that is only becoming apparent as I age.
I still think about that stupid library book and how everything could've been avoided if I'd just remembered to drop it off earlier, or maybe if I'd just left it till the next day instead of going out late to return it.
Also, know this messed with my mom. She was coming home from work when she came upon the accident and realized it was our car. I vaguely remember hearing her as they were loading us into the ambulance. Nothing like hearing your mom crying."
"I jokingly told my friend I wanted to kill myself when I was completely wasted at a party.
The next morning, a cop came to my dorm to pick me up and bring me to the school's mental health center. Then I had to speak to a psychiatrist there and apparently, they don't like it when you deny wanting to kill yourself even if it's the truth.
My meeting with her landed me in the local hospital's psych ward for a week and I almost had to take a medical leave of absence from school, but luckily after having dozens of meetings with all of the psychologists at the ward and a very nerve-wracking meeting with my dean, they let me go back to school. Now I have a resentment towards doctors and nurses due to their treatment of the people at the ward. I have a fear of hospitals and just thinking about the ward makes me cry. It's rough being the only teenager in a confined area filled with people in their 30s and up who are either schizophrenic, bipolar, extremely paranoid, or just so messed up and jaded that they walk back and forth up and down the hallways with the same blank expression on their face the whole day. Even worse is when upon being released, my main psychologist told me that she didn't think I should've been there in the first place and that it was just a precautionary measure.
Now I still get nightmares about waking up in the ward. Thanks a lot, doc."
"I didn't throw away my old license. Around here, when you get your new license, they clip off the corner of the old one, staple a whole bunch of paperwork to it, and tell you to carry it until the new one arrives. In theory, you then throw the old one away after your new one arrives.
Well, unless you are me, and then you procrastinate, shove it in the back of a dresser drawer and forget about it.
And because you forgot about it, you don't realize that it's missing when your idiot half-sister steals it.
In fact, you don't notice anything is amiss until warrant enforcement from a city you've never been in sends you a threatening letter about the court date you missed and the money you owe them.
She got arrested, produced my ID, and even though it was expired, they accepted it because she knew my birthdate and all that info and looks a little like me. I had to fax copy after copy of my current ID and get the Secretary of State to confirm when they mailed my new ID, as well as file a complaint on the identity theft before the district attorney gave up and admitted that they had been duped. I shred everything now."
"Once, when I was around 6 or 7, my mom brought home some delicious chocolate and gave some to me. I loved the stuff and stole some chocolates that she had saved for my stepdad. He comes home and my mom can't find the chocolate. She asks me what happened to it. I blame Duncan (our dog) knowing that he often eats things off the counter (I didn't know at the time that chocolate was toxic for dogs). My mom goes terribly pale and rushes Duncan to the vet and they make him throw up. I felt terrible about this as I thought it was some form of punishment for stealing, not knowing how dangerous chocolate is for dogs.
The next day, she brings home more chocolate. Nobody told me that it was for Duncan's own good that he was taken to the vet. So feeling bad for doing this to Duncan, I give him my chocolate this time thinking he deserved it after taking one for the team last time.
Later that night, my mom asks me how the chocolate was, this time I decided to tell the full truth and explained that I gave the chocolate to Duncan this time as I felt bad for getting him in trouble the first time. So another late night trip to the vet, and I finally was told that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Duncan was fine in the end, and for the rest of his life, I snuck him meat and other things that would not kill him.
Now, the twist is that the very expensive vets' trips cost a lot of money, which prompted my mom to take a look at our expenses. She found that the then stepdad was hiding an affair, and then got a divorce."
"I worked at a company where to leave the server room you had to push a big red button right next to the door to unlock it. I was in and out of the server room hundreds of times over five years.
Cut to me, interviewing for a new job at a different place. They also had a big red button on the server room door...emergency power shutoff.
I told them on the day I interviewed that, if they hired me, it was in their best interest to put a flip-up cover on that button, and, after explaining why, they laughed and said they would.
It was not a good day.
But, I did warn them, and they did acknowledge that I warned them. And they installed a flip-up cover."
"I took a job fresh out of high school at a major plant, one of the largest in the world.
It was great, I started at 60k a year. I figured with all the loans I could skip and education time, I would net more in my life earlier and could retire very easily early.
Well, I ended up getting taken advantage of by the company, had a class action lawsuit for unsafe work practices (that doesn't even pay for food now) and have constant issues with my internal organs and bacterial infections. Almost no money to pay for medical bills or any education for a job to do to make a living other than manual labor which compounds the health issue."
"My buddy and I worked as a toxicologist testing urine samples.
We ran 1000s of samples of urine a day and each sample had to get tested for every illegal substance individually, as each had its own assay (a solution that turns opaque when that substance is present, the more opaque the urine gets, the more of that substance in the sample).
These assays come in 1-gallon containers. To make refilling the machines easier, we pour the 1-gallon containers into 5-gallon jugs with a nozzle on the bottom, and all 8 of these 5-gallon jugs are on this cart we push around to the machines.
So my buddy and I are chatting and he accidentally pours a 1-gallon assay bottle of THC into the wrong assay jug. To fix the issue, we had to dump the 5-gallon jug he was filling and clean it thoroughly with deionized water and refill it with the correct assay.
It turns out, each 1-gallon jug we use to fill the containers with costs about $10,000 each, so he ruined 3 gallons of the assay that were already in there and the 1 gallon of THC assay he dumped in, totaling a $40,000 mistake.
"I decided to break up a fight that turned into a brawl between two groups of people. It was a success at first, but then some guy came from behind and tackled me. I was stronger than him and gave a few good ones, but he was obviously a trained fighter. He put my leg on some type of jiu-jitsu hold and tore my ACL. I was an uninsured student at the time.
Ten years later, I still cannot play any sports and I have to be extremely cautious in the snow."
"Two of my friends from school are both in prison now. They are both from very nice and wealthy families and had a good education.
The first began his career as a personal trainer and was doing really well. He was in really good shape but got way too into illegal substances. Things progressed and he wound up in the wrong crowd. He was selling it but also became addicted. His muscles disappeared and before long, he got caught and was sent to jail for six years.
The second is more tragic: His parents are very well known and respected people in the local community. He also started out well in life but developed an illegal substance habit that got way out of hand. He was driving with a ridiculous amount of E in his system and he crashed his car and killed his best friend. You would think that he learned a lesson. Only a couple of weeks later whilst out on bail, he happened to be sharing a ride to a neighboring town with my younger sister. He was still taking illegal substances and supplying the driver of the car as they were driving. I was furious to hear this and furious with my younger sister for being in a car with him and a messed up driver. He was sentenced to four years but will likely serve two. A lot of his friends have disowned him as there were several other incidents between the initial crash and the sentencing. I'm sure his life will never be the same again."
"I do freelance video and photography work (mostly video). My first paid wedding, I was running two cameras. One I put on a tripod facing the ceremony and I left it there in order to capture the whole event. The other I had on a monopod and I was running around, getting close up footage of the ceremony and the people watching. The tripod camera was unattended but I didn't think anyone would touch it because obviously, it's a professional camera at a wedding.
I would look back and check it every few minutes or so. Then once I looked up and couldn't see it. I found it broken, moved off, behind a tree. My best guess is that someone attempted to remove the camera from the tripod and didn't know how so they just pulled really hard and broke part of the camera body. Then they tried to hide it. I think it was someone older than a little kid because they put enough thought into it to steal the SD card. How this happened with no witnesses or noticeable sound is beyond me.
I didn't want to ruin the ceremony so I pretended nothing happened and I continued filming what I could on my remaining camera. I asked around afterward but nobody would say that they saw anything which made me angry because it wasn't hidden from view. The people sitting right next to it didn't know anything. Not only did I have to pay to replace the damaged camera, but I refunded a large portion of the money to the bride and groom because this incident resulted in me hardly having any footage of the actual ceremony AND the audio was bad because guess which camera had the good audio feeding into it.
The silver lining is that they understood and still told their friends what a great job I did and one of the bridesmaids hired me for her wedding. That one went much more smoothly."
"I got into a small scuffle with some girls in the bathroom of my college.
Basically, I was dealing with a major chronic illness and was hurling and they decided it was gross and I started getting picked on. We got into a very small scuffle and then went our separate ways.
About an hour later, I find myself arrested by the campus police because said girls had told them that I ran out of a bathroom stall and attacked them (despite the fact I was so sick I needed a cane to be able to stand and looked like death warmed over). Got arrested and charged with battery. Had to go to court while I was in the hospital. They were trying to throw the case out but apparently, from what I was told, the police wrote the report down in such a way that they couldn't dismiss it. So, I got probation and fines for something I didn't do. The stress made me being sick that much worse.
In the end, we finally got a new lawyer who managed to get the old charges dismissed. But now I really try to avoid confrontation even if it means people walking over me because I'd rather not go through this again."
"I'm a building automation technician. One time I was configuring a highrise building's cooling tower water basin level control. The equipment involved included a plastic tube inserted into the water to read the water level and a water valve that opened to fill the basin if it got too low.
While I was calibrating the tube to get exact measurements, I disabled the level alarm warning in the system and I forgot to turn the alarm back on afterward.
That night, someone accidentally dislodged the tube that went into the water, making the system think the tank was empty, opening the water valve. Since the alarm was disabled, the first person to notice was the cleaning staff a few floors down noticing flooding in the bathroom.
The total cost of damages was $80,000 and would have been much worse off if it hadn't been caught so early."
"I had a friend in high school who had a rough start to life. She was born to a teenage mother who slept around for money and spent the first five years of her life living in hotel rooms. Her mother turned tricks right in front of her and her brother before the state finally caught wind of what was going on and put her in foster care.
She was one of the lucky ones who actually got permanently adopted out of foster care, and not only did the family take her, they took her brother too. They were nice people and had a lot of money, lived in a Blue Ribbon school district. She got an excellent education and weekly sessions with a top rated therapist, just in case. Basically wanted for nothing.
For reasons that I still don't understand, she threw it all away. She cut school, did illegal substances, constantly involved herself with dangerous older men, and ran away from home repeatedly, but her parents just kept trying. They kept loving her, even when she broke their hearts time and time again.
My parents offered to take her in after she turned 18, but then she tried to steal my car and my parents banned her from the house. I continued to try and be a friend to her until she threatened to have her older brother kill me and my family over a sweater she stole from me. I had to cut contact for my own safety after that.
She's 24 now and has a son. I recently saw her panhandling outside of a train station. The saddest thing is, I think her parents would still try to help her if she'd just accept it."
"I grew up poor, as in family had no car or indoor plumbing for many years and lived mostly off of potatoes and eggs we raised in the backyard.
As a teen, I had one pair of shoes and 2 pairs of blue jeans to last an entire school year, which were pretty worn out and patched after a few months. I envied my friends who were better off and became a workaholic that held down three jobs at a time for most of my 20's and 30's. I bought my first apartment building at age 24, while I, myself, was living in a ratty 1972 mobile home on rented ground in a sheep farm pasture.
I went to college part-time for years as time permitted, paying cash. I'm not wealthy but have done OK for myself, have a nice house and enough to live comfortably, and finally got married at age 50. If I had it to do over again, I would have worked less and partied more when I was younger and made more time for a social life.
I regret never taking enough time to search for and find the 'right one,' when I was young enough to have kids and a family, instead settling for comfortable relationships with the few women over the years who showed any interest in me and raising their kids instead. I would have spent more time traveling the world, getting a better education, explored art more, gone to concerts, drank more, owned more animals, sat around more bonfires, learned to play an instrument, learned to fly, owned more race cars, volunteered at more charities, gone to more beaches, planted more gardens, and formed more deep friendships with a large, diverse and eclectic group of people. These things are more important than having money in the bank or a nice house."