My holidays calendar says today is Stupid Guy Thing Day. I don’t know who came up with this idea, but it seems like a stupid one. As a lifelong guy, I admit that we guys are prone to doing stupid things, really stupid things. On the other hand, so are women. But if there is such a thing as Stupid Gal Thing Day, I’m not going near that topic with a ten-foot pole. I’m not that stupid.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that there is such a thing as gender-specific stupidity. I’m not sure if it is directly connected to hormones or to societal norms. Maybe our stupidity stems from a combination of the two. It can’t be ignorance, can it?
To spur my memory banks to recall my own lengthy list of stupid things I’ve done, I searched YouTube. There are plenty of examples of truly epic stupid guy things. My stupid guy things cannot hold a candle to YouTube’s stupid guy things. I wonder if that’s because I didn’t have access to the technology required or because I’m not quite that stupid. My stupid guy things are usually associated with “foot in mouth disease”.
I do recall a couple of incidents that could have resulted in death.
Only by hindsight do I realize how dangerous it was to decide to sleep outside the car at a forest campground. My brother, Mark and I had driven most of the day through Montana in my Camaro and needed to find a place to rest. We found ourselves in a heavily forested state park in the mountains. We followed a one-lane road, covered in white limestones to an assigned, primitive camping area. A strong lockbox was at the entrance for tourists to pay the camping fee by the honor system.
I paid, then drove to a good clearing. We had complete run of the campground because there wasn’t another soul anywhere nearby. I guessed that park rangers probably checked the campground once per week, at most. We tried to pitch an old army tent for shelter, but the wooden stakes were inadequate to use in the rock-hard surface. So we decided to just place our sleeping bags directly on the ground instead.
Just as I was on the verge of dropping off to sleep, Mark asked if it was safe to sleep outside the car. I answered that a Camaro is not designed for sleeping, we didn’t have much choice. Then he asked if there are grizzly bears in Montana. I could only answer, yes, of course there are grizzly bears in that state, probably a lot of them. Very quickly, we got out of our sleeping bags and hustled into the car and locked the doors. I told Mark to sleep on the back seat, I curled up as best as possible on the floor in front of the passenger-side bucket seat. Before he nodded off to sleep, I thanked Mark for reminding me about bears.
The one incident that still gives me nightmares involves a railroad overpass across 27th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. My best friend, Gary and I had been walking along the tracks because we were bored and we were typical boys who lived near railroad tracks.
We were on the railroad’s overpass when a train approached from around a bend. Gary was able to run to the end of the bridge and jump aside. I was in the middle with no chance to do the same. The only thing I could do was to balance on one of the supporting I-beams that held up one of the steel “walls”. (I don’t know the railroad term for that structure.) I gripped a vertical beam of the “wall” while the train roared past.
Soon afterwards, I realized I was perched on top of a precarious place, high above the street, below. The only way to get down to safety was to cross the lone, supporting I-beam to the track. It took a lot of coaxing by Gary to get me to crawl along the beam, back to the track. I was a very lucky boy, that day.
Years later, I realized that the train’s engineer was wise, in not blowing the horn at me. If he had done so, I might well have frozen on the spot, similar to the deer in the headlights effect, and gotten run over.
Yes, I’ve done plenty of other stupid guy things, but they pale in comparison to the train incident.
So guys, on this Stupid Guy Thing Day, remember the dumb things you’ve done. It’s good to “celebrate” this day with a smile. We can be very grateful that we didn’t qualify for our own “Darwin Awards”, even though we’ve had some close calls.