Human beings do remarkably stupid things all the time. Sometimes it’s a wonder that there’s 7.5 billion of us alive and (mostly) well in the world. But, aside from the terrifically dumb things we do that tend to be the exception rather than the rule, there are some extremely stupid things that people do every day. In fact, most of us are guilty of at least one of these eight things.
(Slow) Death by Sugar
What’s slower than death by PowerPoint or death by karaoke? Death by sugar. Yes, we’re starting with sugar, also known as “white death” to many. Processed sugar is ubiquitously present in almost every food we eat in the developed world. It also might be the single unhealthiest food for the human body. Less than 200 years ago, Americans consumed less than 10 grams of sugar per day each. Today, the average American consumes about 150 grams of sugar per day.
When sugar enters the body, the body has two choices – either burn it as energy or store it as fat. Let’s do the math here. The average person burns 1,600 to 2,500 calories every day, while taking in an average of almost 600 calories of sugar alone per day. If you can burn that, along with everything else you take in, you should be okay in terms of your body avoiding storing that sugar in fat cells. If not, you’re bound to see weight gain. Daily.
But it’s also about how we consume sugar – and why it’s so highly addictive. When sugar hits your bloodstream, your pancreas detects a rush and releases a hormone called insulin to deal with all of that sugar all at once. The body tries to be a well-oiled machine and balance is often its ultimate goal. Hence, the more sugar in the bloodstream, the more insulin is released. The human body often struggles, thanks to our treatment of it, to maintain that balance right. When too much insulin is released, the body ultimately goes into hypoglycemia, or what we more commonly call a sugar crash. Which results in a sugar craving. So we start the whole process over again, ultimately killing our bodies, slowly but surely. And we do this every day. Think on that the next time you’re chewing on your favorite candy bar.
Several millennia ago, some human came up with the idea to try a liquid substance that was created through the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms and would induce the body to release toxins, causing side effects like disorientation, nausea, anxiety, nervousness, tremors and possibly causing anything from poisoning of heart muscle cells, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure to contributing to the possibility of strokes, heart attacks and just general heart failure.
Apparently, everyone else also thought this was an awesome idea, which is why most adults in the world consume alcohol at one point or another during the year. Consuming this substance a few times a year for that feel-good sensation that lasts a whole 2 to 6 hours doesn’t make you catastrophically stupid. Determining exactly what kind of behavior qualifies as alcoholism is tough.
So dear Alcohol, we had a deal. When we drink, you make us funnier, hotter and smarter, not dumber. Which is why consuming copious amounts of alcohol every day or in excessive quantities immediately qualifies anyone for a nomination for the Darwin Awards. Congratulations! And no, we don’t know who that chick we woke up next to this morning is. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re late to our STD test.
Driving While Sober is Ridiculous
While driving under the influence of mind-altering substances is beyond stupid, driving and riding in cars in general is pretty stupid when you give it some thought. Yes, we do it every day and we hear about advances in vehicle and road safety every day, which is why we don’t pay attention to the very obvious dangers every ride entails.
The chances of dying in an airplane crash are 11 million to one, which are about the same odds as being killed by lightning. But don’t let that keep you up at night. Various statistics that you’re far more lie to die in a car crash. Overall, the chances of dying in a car accident, for both passengers and drivers, are 1 in about 48,000. For drivers who cover 10,000 miles or more per year, that’s 1 in 6,000. And just to make this numbers game more fun, the National Safety Council calculated the odds of dying in a car accident to be 1 in 98 over a lifetime. Been in over 100 car rides? Count yourself lucky.
Basically, you’re better off getting some practice and jumping out of a moving airplane at 5,000 feet with a parachute on, that riding in a car. And somehow we’re still totally okay with hailing a cab and getting into a car with someone we’ve never met before, while we’re terrified of terrorist attacks, snake bites, and paragliding. Sounds like the very definition of stupid, but here we all are, doing it.
Mindblowing Mobile Usage
Thought losing sleep was bad? Now you can lose your mind while you sleep. Literally. Most people in the developed world today sleep with their mobile devices in the proximity of their heads. Some leave their smartphones on their nightstands, others put it right next to their pillows. A lot like driving and riding in those death traps we call cars, this is generally accepted behavior that is nothing less than ridiculously stupid.
It took an entire series of mobile devices from a leading manufacturer blowing up and catching fire around the world for this to even occur to people. But when we think about it for barely longer than a second – why, in the name of all that is holy, would anyone want to keep a device that contains a charged battery, wires, and flammable materials right next to their head or other vital organs for longer than a few minutes? How was this not an obvious thing not to be done?
Turns out a lot of people still think that keeping this thing that send off weird waves and could possibly blow up totally belongs on their pillow right next to them. Let’s not even mention the recent studies that show that cell phones can reduce sperm quality and the Harvard research that proved that the blue light from mobile devices suppresses melatonin for twice as long and shifts sleep schedules by three hours. Probably best to keep that cell phone right next to your ear while you sleep, just in case you get that really important call from a world leader that you’ve been waiting on. Unless you’re not waiting for anything like that. In which case, sleeping with your phone would just be stupid.
Accidents Waiting to Happen
Life insurance sales folks, listen up! We might have some work coming your way. One would think humans would become smarter as home appliances, technology, and education advance. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. After looking into some of the minor, everyday things people do in majorly idiotic ways, we have to wonder about the future and mankind – and whether we’ll have a future at all.
We thought this wouldn’t be such a big deal either and we did it all the time. As it turns out, cables can and do kill. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently came out with an estimate that about 3,300 residential fires originate from extension cords each year. These fires alone kill about 50 people and injure another 270 individuals. The most frequent causes of such fires are – you guessed it – overloading, using damaged extension cords, and misuse of extension cords. The same report also claims that some 4,000 injuries per year treated in emergency rooms are associated with electrical cords. Reading the full report is highly recommended. After which, packing up and reeling up your cords into neat little bundles is a must.
Selfie or Die
Well, that subheading seems a little extreme, but no more extreme than what some people will do to take a photo of themselves that they may or may not later share on their social media profiles. People around the world, armed with nothing but a smartphone and an unmatched need for attention, have and continue to plunge to their deaths trying to capture an image of themselves that might garner a few likes and faves here and there.
To make matters even more absurd, others love nothing better than to share an like stories about these terrifically stupid and pointless deaths on social media platforms. Don’t blame social media, blame human nature. We are given something grand that can open new horizons to us and teach us almost anything – and we use it to take photos of our rear ends in the world’s most beautiful landscapes. As(s)inine, to say the least. “This would make a great last Instagram photo,” – said no one ever.
Stampedes (for no good reason)
Herds of animals stampede when they encounter clear and apparent danger unexpectedly. Humans most often do it just for the stupid. In fact, we have a day of the year to celebrate it and it’s one of our favorite days of the year. We’ve dubbed it Black Friday, accordingly. We also sometimes sell tickets to be stampeded straight into the nearest emergency room. We call these events “concerts” or sometimes “sporting events”. A lot of the time, sugar and alcohol are also involved in this practice and we all get to these events in our favorite life-threatening form of transportation – cars. Everyone has their bowl of stupid in the morning and then we go to these events every chance we get, just to stand in line, and wait for a stampede.
Some contributors over at Wikipedia have been kind enough to collect a list of notable examples of this epically stupid human practice. Notably and historically stupid, that is. The list includes instances of human stampedes over the last four centuries and clearly shows that humans put themselves in this position so frequently that there are an average of 5 major stampedes to talk about every year just in this century. Fun!
No funny subheading here, folks. Drugs, whether illicit or prescribed, are just another far too frequent example of human idiocy. Sure, certain drugs (in the form of medication and when taken as prescribed) can be necessary and life-saving. The problem with humans is that we tend to take these things that are meant to save lives and turn it into something bafflingly stupid.
Let’s take one of the most prescribed and entirely legal drugs in the United States as an example. Levothyroxine is a thyroid medicine used to treat hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone) and is also to treat goiter, which can be caused by hormone imbalances, radiation treatment, surgery, or cancer. We’re super happy to have come up with something that can help people live better and longer lives. However, the drug is also often used, despite the warnings of doctors and the manufacturer, for weight loss and other stupid things. Apparently, people who just want to shed a few pounds don’t even mind that the drug can cause stuff like massive headaches, insomnia, irritability, fever, hot flashes, excessive sweating, pounding heartbeat, changes in menstrual periods and hormone imbalance.
Then there’s the stuff we know is really, really bad for you and does no good at all, for anyone. And people still cook it up and shoot it into their veins. That must make for a lovely night in with your bestie. Because who doesn’t want bouts of nausea and vomiting combined with grogginess, dry mouth, itchy skin, light sensitivity, slowed respiration and heart rate, and gorgeous cyanotic (that’s greyish blue, FYI) hands, feet and lips. Not to mention rotting teeth, bad skin, and, ultimately, the opportunity to soil yourself when overdosing on the stuff. We’re talking about heroin, obviously, and there is currently a full on epidemic of heroin abuse in the United States.