View Full Version : What have you truly bolloxed up?

10-14-2009, 02:55 PM
You might recall that our #1 son was in Connecticut last weekend for a rowing regatta? He came back after a great social time, but fell to mumbling whenever you inocently asked about the actual rowing.

Seems, for the first time, he caught two magnificent crabs while racing. Fell clean backwards off his seat landing toes-to-the-sky for one of them. The other 3 gents in his boat weren't terribly flattering, but they got over it. They weren't going to win anyway ... Why did he catch crabs there, and never before? Nerves. How do you get over nerves? Keep putting yourself out there.

It set me to telling Chris about a couple of my own high-profile screw-ups. Like when I was a soloist for a local production of Haydn's Creation, looked out at the audience to make eye contact (like you're supposed to do) in the midst of an aria filled with runs, and couldn't find my place in the score again. Stood there making stuff up (badly) for about 30 seconds, soaking my shirt under the tuxedo, 'till I found my spot again.

The conductor wasn't amused. Nor was I - for the second performance (the next day), I glued my finger to the line as I sang, and did it note perfect. But left the whole gig with my tail well between my legs.


Then there was the time when I was auditioning for a reasonably fancy summer Opera Workshop program, and was using an aria from The Magic Flute to show off my low notes. There's a great low E at the end of the second verse, that I had ... and the other guys auditioning didn't.

Except when it came time to sing that note, I opened my mouth and nothing came out. Just tense enough from nerves to screw up the relaxation I needed in my throat to start it sounding.

I didn't get the part.

So what have you done where nerves have helped you make an utter fool of yourself? And where, with a few more years, it isn't an issue anymore?

Paul Pless
10-14-2009, 03:04 PM
Why did he catch crabs there, and never before?> :eek:

10-14-2009, 03:07 PM
Paul! Different thread - different kinda crabs!:D:D

10-14-2009, 03:08 PM
That's a very long list.

Paul Pless
10-14-2009, 03:12 PM
One of my most embarrassing moments... I was on a diving and swimming team in junior high and high-school. At one of the first big regional meets I ever attended, I think I was 14... I don't care what you say, no guy at age 14 is comfortable wearing a competition swimsuit. I know I wasn't. Anyways on my very first dive, I hit the water and my suit came right off! It was very difficult recovering that and putting it back on in front of a couple hundred people.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
10-14-2009, 03:19 PM
Bala '81 world canoe slalom championships - Men's K1 individual - and I win the job of presentation judge bang in front of the grandstand.

Gust of wind and my brolly and seat set out on an unscheduled solo run.

Jim Bow
10-14-2009, 03:21 PM
I was sent out to a decommissioned worksite to remove PCs and telephone equipment for storage. I decided to bring back the 10KW UPS as long as I was there.
Unfortunately, I'm not one of those "measure twice cut once" planner types. I'm more of a "slash and burn it's almost coffee time" types.
Plus, I had a huge pair of Klein dykes in my hand.
I flipped off the 40 amp breaker that was labeled UPS, thus cutting off the power, right? Then I went at the big black cable that ran from the wall to the machine.
In case you havent picked up on where this is going, I must point out that the purpose of a UPS is to supply power when the grid is down.
I bit into that cable with those dykes, and there was a tremendous flash and explosion.
This was in the back room of a small police station, and the cops came running. The first one to stick his head into the room witnessed a perfect black mushroom cloud just hitting the ceiling. I was OK, thanks to the insulating handles on those clippers, but the cutting area and tips of the pliers were burnt and melted into a glob of still glowing steel.

I passed them on to my replacement when I retired 5 years later.

Bruce Taylor
10-14-2009, 03:23 PM
Nerves. Oh, yeah.

I failed my driver's test five times (ran the same red light twice in a row!).

The first time I was interviewed for radio, I froze, then babbled. I had nothing to say, but I started saying it as quickly as I could. :D

10-14-2009, 03:29 PM
As a student pilot I was taxing a Cessna 140 through a narrow space between two tied-down planes. I was watching the shadow of my wings and their wing shadows to be sure I had enough space... I misjudged and picked the glass out of the wingtip light of a Piper Aztec.

My instructor was watching.
He was not smiling.

10-14-2009, 03:30 PM
I've got one similar to Jim's.

In high school, I was active in technical theater. I came in one day and was changing out the plugs in our lighting board so the lighting would be correct for the first act. The plugs were massive hard rubber blocks at the end of short pigtails that you plugged into the circuit breaker/dimmer board. The connectors were spring loaded pins and you had to push the outer two contacts toward each other to get them to plug into the breaker board. Being the first one in, I mistakenly assumed all the breakers were off and started in...

When I came to, I was about 15' away from the board and had scorch marks and little blisters on my index finger and thumb - it was about 2000 VDC. Thankfully not AC...

Here at work (I can't claim this one...) One of my co-workers was measuring up a battery with a set of dial calipers. Yup. He wanted to know the spacing between the terminals. It was an impressive flash and the calipers weren't good for anything anymore, but at least he didn't get hurt.

Yeah - and like HTom said... :o

10-14-2009, 05:11 PM
Speaking of stage fright, I vividly recall watching an analyst from Wheat First Securities on the 'Wall Street with Louis Rukeyser' show go completely blank in the 'interview by panel' seat. It was the most painful ten minutes of television (for everybody involved) I've ever witnessed. He couldn't frame an answer to the most basic of questions. He'd open his mouth and nothing would come out.

Paul Pless
10-14-2009, 05:15 PM
bad weatherman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1bCMWLFKWo)

C. Ross
10-14-2009, 05:17 PM
I'm usually pretty calm in competition, in front of a room, etc.

But boy do I bollox stuff up by procrastinating, and then avoiding things because I've procrastinated, and then try to deny my procrastination, and then it's too late. Lather, rinse, repeat...it's my one seriously bad habit. Well, my most OBVIOUS bad habit.

Procrastinators. The leaders of tomorrow.

Captain Blight
10-14-2009, 05:24 PM
I'm usually pretty calm in competition, in front of a room, etc.

But boy do I bollox stuff up by procrastinating, and then avoiding things because I've procrastinated, and then try to deny my procrastination, and then it's too late. Lather, rinse, repeat...it's my one seriously bad habit. Well, my most OBVIOUS bad habit.

Procrastinators. The leaders of tomorrow.Well, maybe the leaders of next week sometime. Whenever.

The first time I ever drove a towboat, I got a little bent out of shape and ended up putting the whole starboard string of barges up on the bank, and the starboard wheel and rudder in the mud. It took the better part of a watch, and some really creative rigging with the face-wire winches to get everything off ground. All because I could feel the skippers gimlet eyes gimleting me in the back of the neck.

Keith Wilson
10-14-2009, 05:28 PM
One of my thumbs is now significantly shorter than the other, and I found a very thin cross-section of the fingernail (plus a bit of flesh) in the chips from the jointer. Not nerves, just spectacularly stupid. Don't try this at home.

10-14-2009, 05:34 PM
One of my thumbs is now significantly shorter than the other, and I found a very thin cross-section of the fingernail (plus a bit of flesh) in the chips from the jointer. Not nerves, just spectacularly stupid. Don't try this at home.

:eek: :eek:

Paul Pless
10-14-2009, 05:36 PM
One of my thumbs is now significantly shorter than the other, and I found a very thin cross-section of the fingernail (plus a bit of flesh) in the chips from the jointer. Not nerves, just spectacularly stupid. Don't try this at home.here's mine... hurt like a son of a bitch...


Keith Wilson
10-14-2009, 05:37 PM
Nyaah, nyaah, mine's shorter! :D;):rolleyes:

10-14-2009, 05:40 PM
Nyaah, nyaah, mine's shorter! :D;):rolleyes:

Well, that's not a subject bragged about between men very often...

Milo Christensen
10-14-2009, 06:02 PM
So there I was, stuffing a junior college party school weekend's worth of trash into the incinerator, door wide open to get a really good draft and burn that stuff up really quick, bags of trash all around, literally a mountain of it, when a hair spray can exploded in the incinerator. . . . and the time I was melting the wax in dissecting pans with one of those monster bunsen burners. . . . and the time I had put some kerosene in the old 8 arm octopus coal furnace, but didn't have any matches left, so had to run upstairs while the kerosene turned into a sort of a white fog, until that is, I threw in the match. . . . then there's the time my "homemade" styrofoam cutter got accidently somehow left on until the transformer melted down and the black smoke went up.

As a result, I am now qualified to clean the black soot that gets everywhere off of everything black soot can get everywhere on, and I think I'm still supposed to inform the Fire Chief of Hancock, Michigan whenever I'm back in town.

Paul Pless
10-14-2009, 06:03 PM
Milo's a Pyro... who knew?

Milo Christensen
10-14-2009, 06:05 PM
But do you think I can keep a campfire going on purpose when I want a nice fire? Serious danger of smoke inhalation to all who go camping with me, unless they start the campfire.

10-14-2009, 06:24 PM
But boy do I bollox stuff up by procrastinating, and then avoiding things because I've procrastinated, and then try to deny my procrastination, and then it's too late. Lather, rinse, repeat...it's my one seriously bad habit. Well, my most OBVIOUS bad habit.

Procrastinators. The leaders of tomorrow.Jesus Chris! Separated at birth? Our wives too?

Bill R
10-14-2009, 06:35 PM
Well, there is not enough in this interweb thing for my list. At the top, however, is the case of tremendous stupidity involving spilled kerosene on the front part of my pants just below my belt buckle followed very shortly thereafter by grinding down some welds...

Fortunately, there was snow still on the ground to extinguish the flames. SWMBO to this day will not let me live down the day I lit my **** on fire.

10-14-2009, 06:46 PM
I'd like to hear about igniting the fog of kerosene.

Harry Miller
10-14-2009, 07:34 PM
It's almost 40 years ago and I still shudder when I think about it.

I was the fleet captain of our local shark class (24 ft keel boat) and at the weekend regattas hosted, in turn, by 8 local yacht clubs we had upwards of 50 boats. The next biggest class was about 15 and then many smaller yet classes.

They needed a long start line for us but the other classes wanted a shorter line so they told us to divide into A and B sections.

We didn't want to do this and I was to talk them out of it.

So I called these august members of the council from all these fancy clubs and pleaded for a meeting with them. After much wheadling I convinced them to come to a meeting on a Tues. evening.

I'm not sure what my arguement was going to be but I'm sure it would have been better received if I had remembered to attend the meeting. I did however have a good squash game.

Needless to say we were in two divisions next year (odd and even sail #'s)

10-14-2009, 07:41 PM
How much time have we got?

I was working through a stack of time sheets and vacation requests at my desk and sort of half-listening to my guys talking on the radio when one of them said 'why is there no oxygen in the thermal oxidizer?' By the time I made it to the computer consoles the building shook. The thermal oxidizer blew up. As I was standing there watching it smoke I turned to two of my guys and said 'it's been nice working with you gentlemen'. It's my job to make sure something like that never happens, and I didn't do my job. I'm damn lucky to still be employed.

Got blown up in a solvent fire. Burned all the hair off of my head, melted my saftey glasses. Couldn't see for a little while. Couldn't use my hands for over a month. Had some scars for awhile.

Dragged a burning torch across my left hand when someone walked into a ladder I was working off of. That hurt.

Oh lord. A lifetime of getting banged up and injured. Of doing things wrong. Of investing money and losing every dime. Of thinking that people were your friend and finding out later what an idiot you were. Of screwing up. A lifetime's worth. I think that it would have been easier to ask what HAVEN'T I bolloxed up?

Damn. What a pleasant thread.

Mickey Lake

C. Ross
10-14-2009, 11:58 PM
Jesus Chris! Separated at birth? Our wives too?

I wish I could sing as well as you, and looks like you still have hair.

Other than that, maybe our Dad got around, if you know what I mean.

Wild Dingo
10-15-2009, 12:09 AM
hahahahahhahaha oooohhhhhhh gawd strewth hahahahaha you want to know what Ive truely bolloxed up hahahahahhahahhaahahahahahhahaha hic hahahaha gulp hahahahahahaahahahhaa ooooooohhhhh shtye dunny break!!! ...

back... where were we? oh right!

hahahhahahahahahaahahahahahahaha.... whos got a spare lifetime? hahaha

okay mmm where to start? the high school dance team? okay that will do... I did exactly one year of high school then left due to a total lack of interest inspiration and motivation HOWEVER during the few days of that year I did attend I was in the dance class... some bright spark thought it would be "safe" to let me dance :p shoulda shot them when they had a chance I reckon :rolleyes:

Okay so somehow or other I and the young nimble sheila I had had the hots for for the entire few days I attended that place of pain had somehow managed to get through to be the school champions... probably had a heck of a lot to do with the fact that I was the ONLY fella who did dancing... anyway the night come along we all rock up to the local civic centre for the compition night against 9 other local high schools... me and her had ONLY danced together all of 4 times!! which was the total amount of days Id spent at that place of intense boredom and pain... and were up for doing a rhumba... now me I wouldnt know a rhumba from my jocks but was game as ned kelly to do ANYTHING with this sheila as long as I was holding her close... mmmm first issue that came to mind was the damned pants they wanted me to wear!!! TIGHT can we say SERIOUSLY FRIGGIN TIGHT??? in the crotch area... so after much swearing procrastinating (I am still the Aussie grand champ of procrastinations) the teacher finally convinced me to "slip into the pants Shane" so I did... mmmm can we say budgie smuglers gone insane? talk about gather in the balls and bounce them through the throat onto the ceiling but what the hell in for a penny in for a pound... so out of the dressing room and walked staight into my dance partner... who I will point out had the most amazing pair of... well lets say I dont think there was a short low cut top anywhere that could contain their joyous abandon at seeing me in such tight tight crotched strides... so there we are... her with her perfectly held in bouncing boobs in about the sexiest most erotic type of dress thing Id ever seen and me in what were the tightest tight pants ever wriggled into by man or boy coming to manhood... she giggled I got shy sorta well okay I lowered my head so I could get a closer look at those gorgeous firm bouncing... and well things sorta got a tad.... embarrassing?

Right when Id decided that was it Im outta here and out of those tight tight pants that were about to rip apart at the crotch... around the corner comes the teacher and some wally calling us to the dance floor... yeah right!!!!... I turned for the change room again... but the teacher had me in a deathlike armlock and was dragging me to the damned dance floor... Anne the girl in the sexiest dress in captivity walking demurely behind us her eyes firmly fixated on the near bursting crotch of the said tight tight pants "miss..." she was whispering "oh miss?..." just above silent level "miss you might want to... sigh... oh well" never once did her sexy voice raise ubove the level of an ant shouting in the wind...

Then the music started... the mc intrduced us... and Anne and I were thrust into the limelight of the dance floor... we stood there like a pair of roos in the spotties... slowly the music stopped and silence ruled... "come..." yeah right Anne thats the word I need to hear!!! and I bolted!! last I heard was the teacher muttering something about "That Shane really he should do camping instead of dancing the lad makes wonderful tents but cant dance for shyte"

Anne and I? well we danced a few times here and there over the years... but that one night in front of about 300 parents teachers and fellow students just sorta took the majik away for me somehow :rolleyes:

Another... oh believe me I have many... SERIOUSLY MANY!!... okay what about drilling my finger out?

There I was with a full shed of tools INCLUDING a bench drill press by the way... I had this job to do to drill out a couple of holes from some very old curly Jarrah timber... so quick thinkin me decides "right a couple of quick holes easy as just whack a shark tooth bit in the old hand drill hold it down and bobs yer uncle" yep... hes me uncle all right :rolleyes: now I drilled one hole out beautifully... then I moved the drill and lined it up for the second one... somewhat close to my left fore finger digit that was holding said peice of curly Jarrah still... I place the drill to the wood sorta kinda "notice" the tight swirl of a knot... "mmmm" my mind thinks as I depress the trigger on the drill "mmmm this will probably hurt a tad if it catches that kno..."

Yep... of course the damned drill read my mind!! OF COURSE the bloody thing grabbed in that knot AND of course the drill twisted in said knot and jumped out of said knot...

AND... Yes of course it dive bombed kamakaze like straight into my finger... right at the junction of the hand... oooh it didnt hurt... well much anyway... least ways it didnt hurt until I woke her bloody highness up from her afternoon nap and she decided sometime later that "well... maybe... oooh okay then you big sook" and we actually went to the hospital... about after the third needle straight into the shattered meat, tendons and bone that was my finger it started to seriously show signs of offering me the irrisitable urge to feel incredible pain... which it did without any hessitation of course

Then there was the time I was looking at buying a caravan... yeah that was a bright spark kinda day... amnesia anyone? :rolleyes: :D

Wild Dingo
10-15-2009, 12:17 AM
Two marriages.


yeah okay that too :rolleyes: ... but hey I wasnt goin there!!! :mad: AND ANYWAY!! That was her who bolloxed that up so I wont take the credit ;)... Ive bolloxed up enough on my own so she can own that buggar :cool:

David G
10-15-2009, 12:19 AM
I started to contribute to this thread, then I remembered an even better story. Started to write... and remembered a worse story. After several false starts, I'm giving up. It's all too depressing. Maybe a beer will help. Tom... you're a sadist ;)

10-15-2009, 01:10 AM
At scout camp we had a more or less unofficial comp. to light the group campfire in the most spectacular or ingenious way. Ours was a flaming arrow shot from off stage into the campfire. Well, that was where it was supposed to go anyhow............ Two hours of firefighting, a couple of tents, a scorched car. Need I say more............

10-15-2009, 09:19 AM
I was by myself on my boat on the Gulf coast of Florida at dusk near St Petersburg. I was attempting to enter Pass a Grille inlet to get to Cape Verde Marina. I was using my autohelm to steer the boat in the channel while taking down the sails. Also I was in a rush since it gets dark very quickly at these latitudes in August. I had looked at the chart and noticed a shallow area to be avoided. I also noticed a boat coming out and the fact that it's heading was on a line about 45 degrees off of mine. I rushed back and saw that the depth sounder showed 0.2 feet. In the next second the boat came to a grinding halt. Then the dinghy rammed the stern. The waves were about 1 foot high. They lifted the boat up and banged it down on the ground. I thought I was going to wreck my boat for sure. I tried backing down - no luck. At that point I decided it was a good time to use my $99 unlimited towing so I radioed for help. I described where I was. He had me count from 1 to 10 on the VHF while he used his radio direction finder to locate me. After a few minutes he showed up in his well equipped motorboat. He waded through chest deep water to get a line to me which I hooked on the bit. We coordinated steering via VHF. He then freed the boat and towed me into the inlet. I anchored in the basin overnight before continuing to the marina. The towing bill would have been $600 but for the insurance. Also there was no damage which I attribute to the boat being steel.

Several things came out of this:
1) Take the sails down while I'm sure I'm still in deep water.
2) Never use the autohelm to enter a harbor. There could be magnetic anomalies that would misguide it.
3) Mount the depth sounder up on the side of the cabin where I can easily read it.

Dave Thibodeau
10-15-2009, 09:30 AM
My life

Captain Blight
10-15-2009, 09:37 AM
here's mine... hurt like a son of a bitch...

Not quite a glueline edge there, Paul. Either the blades are dull or your beds are out of whack.

I hesitate to think, or maybe just refuse to think about, all the times I've almost lost digits. It's really a wonder I can count to 10 without pulling off a shoe.

10-15-2009, 09:44 AM
Final scene of the closing performance of a play, Blue/Orange. I played an insensitive jerk, and one of my last lines was to advise a client to go home and listen to Reggae music--in context, a spectacularly insensitive thing to say. As I said, it was the last show; I had said that line dozens of times before, but as I opened my mouth, I could not remember the word "Reggae." I stumbled over it, said "Ringae" or something like that. It totally spoiled the effect. I had friends in the audience that night. It was very, very embarrassing.

Rich VanValkenburg
10-15-2009, 09:49 AM
High school biology lab, everyone had a microscope, slides, stain, and a bunson burner, I leaned over to check the slide in the microscope and went back to the task. I heard someone say 'Hey look, that kids hair is on fire!' I looked around to see which idiot lit up his hair and noticed there were small bits of ash falling all around me. Took a while for my hair to grow back.

I was a programmer in real life and had to make yearly changes to the payroll system for taxes, deductions, etc. One year it went up in smoke and we had 2500 hourly employees lined up out the door and around the building waiting for their checks(cheques). People don't seem to remember all the good you did, they just remember what you bolloxed up.

10-15-2009, 10:02 AM
I had a Sat 8:00 meeting across campus with undergraduate faculty advisors.....woke up at 7:40, and it would take 15 minutes to run/walk to the site.

All I had was numerous pairs of jeans, and one pair of brown polyester "dress" pants - something with a crease (it was the early '70s).

Put on the pants, ran to the dorm bathroom, brushed teeth and splashed water in my face....turned on the faucet too hard, and splashed water on the waist of the pants.

Ran back to the dorm room, borrowed an electric hair-dryer from the girls next door, and stood in front of the mirror, holding the hair dryer blowing on my crotch with one hand, and combing my hair with the other.

Looked down, and the hairdryer melted a hole about 10 inches in diameter and my white "fruit of the looms" were showing. Thought quickly about which guys on my dorm floor might be the same size and ran past the elevators to see if they had any pants.

A bunch of parents departed from the elevators, arriving to see their daughters new digs on campus, wondering why some guy ran by with his undies showing in front, banging on dorm room doors and hollering "I need some pants!".

Faculty advisors were not amused.

Paul Pless
10-15-2009, 10:06 AM
Not quite a glueline edge there, Paul. Either the blades are dull or your beds are out of whack.Yeah it was a hatchet job.:eek:

I accidentally did that with an ax when I was about 7 years old.

Chris Coose
10-15-2009, 10:14 AM
Sadly, I begin to touch my memories of the jackpots before 12/22/87 and I get turned away.

Milo Christensen
10-15-2009, 10:35 AM
. . . It's really a wonder I can count to 10 without pulling off a shoe.

How about all the way up to some big number, like 11? :p