DISCLAIMER: The supremely embarrassing stories you're about to read are all real. The characters? They're ashamed. The mistakes? They could happen to you. So...watch out.
1. UM, THAT'S MY WIFE...
"When I was working in retail, I attempted to make small talk with a man who was waiting in the fitting room while the woman he was with tried things on. I asked if the woman was his mother, because I thought it was so sweet that he was taking her shopping. 'No, that's my wife,' was his reply. And then I went and hid in the stockroom for 20 minutes."
2. A Dog-beat-dog World
"Back in undergrad, my girlfriend at the time and I were obsessed with dogs. One day, between classes, we were back at her apartment eating lunch, and we saw a big dog being walked outside her window. In our excitement, the two of us decided it would be a great idea to bark and growl like dogs at each other, and in the process, hit our heads together and knocked out each other's front teeth. I lost an incisor."
3. Scrub a Dub Dub, You're Going to Perish Alone in Your Bathroom
"One night in college, I decided to take a shower at 1 a.m. I lived in a large student house, and the nicest bathroom was in the basement. As I walked in, I noticed the door handle was missing on the outside but didn't think about it and still SHUT the door. I took a shower, and then realized that the handle was missing on the inside too. I was locked in.
"Everyone was asleep at least two floors above me. Eventually I got tired of yelling for help and hitting the door with a shampoo bottle, so I gave up and fell asleep in the tub. I only had a towel and had to run the hot water to stay warm. I was in there for FIVE HOURS until one of my friends found me and set me free."
4. Love Life: Under Construction
"ONCE, I DROVE INTO A CONSTRUCTION ZONE. I was on my way to pick up my boyfriend from the airport at 11:30 p.m., and I was nervous because I hadn't seen him in months. I thought for a minute that I was taking the wrong exit out of a tunnel, so I panicked and swerved back into the tunnel…into a construction zone…through orange cones…
"I was pulled over, a cop yelled at me about how I was probably going to go to jail, I got a $600 ticket, and I had to back all the way out of the tunnel while crying. When I finally got to the airport, my boyfriend and I did not have a happy reunion."
5. A Legit Chemistry Lesson
"In high school chemistry class, we were doing an experiment with sulfuric acid. The teacher spent a good 10–15 minutes walking us through the safety instructions and explaining how 'dangerous and corrosive' sulfuric acid is. Naturally, I spilled a drop of acid on my shoulder, and it burned a hole through my shirt and was SEARING my skin. I waited like two minutes to tell the teacher, hoping it would go away on its own. When I finally told the teacher, he had to sponge down my shoulder in front of the whole class. Eight years later, I still have the scar."
6. When You're Meant to Be the "Smart Guy," But You Have Nacho Cheese on Your Face
"I came up with a really good idea at a job I once had, so they sent me to corporate headquarters to share this great concept with everyone. I got really hungry late at night, and room service at my hotel was already closed, so I went to the snack bar at a nearby movie theater. I came back to the hotel carrying a bunch of nachos and popcorn, but I got stuck in the hotel's revolving door because I tried to exit before it had stopped revolving.
"I fell to the ground, dumping my nachos and popcorn everywhere. The revolving door malfunctioned because I was stuck inside it, and a lobby of co-workers just stared while security helped the 'smart kid' get out of the revolving door. The next day, I had to pitch all of those people my great idea."
7. Public Transportation Enemy No. 1
"Walking onto a crowded L train, I stepped on the back of a woman's flip-flop, causing her foot to twist and her shoe to fall into the crack between the platform and the train. She screamed and ran off, and I spent the ride home on the receiving end of death glares from the packed subway car."
8. Too. Far. Just...Too Far.
"While screening potential job candidates, I got a tad too deep and accidentally liked a months-old photo of a cute dog on one's Instagram account."
9. Did I Just Say That?
"I'm a teacher, and I was welcoming one of my high school choir classes at the beginning of the period and, in front of the whole class, I looked at one of my ninth-grade male students and said, 'Mario, I don't want to talk about last night. Don't even bring it up.'
"The background: This student and I are both big Bulls fans and would usually talk about the previous night's game before class started. The Bulls had a rough loss the night before."
10. The April Fools' Day Joke That Went Up in Flames...Literally
"For April Fool's Day one year, I covered my roommate/good friend's room in toilet paper. I draped it from the ceiling and wrapped it around her dresser — it covered every piece of furniture and cascaded down to her floor. I also plastic wrapped her door so that she bonked into it when she entered her room.
"I had to go to work before she came home to see it. When I did finally get home, I found her sitting wide-eyed in the living room, horrified. Apparently, when she turned on the light in her bedroom, the toilet paper IMMEDIATELY caught on fire, blazing a trail straight for her dresser with each of its drawers open. All of her clothes caught on fire, and since the door was plastic wrapped shut, she panicked and threw the drawers out of the third-storey window. Burning, they flew to the ground, where they shattered. She'd burned or destroyed all of her clothing while trying to keep our whole apartment from catching fire."