Telling people how stupid you are

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Doctor Q, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #1
    I'm a programmer. When I make a foolish mistake coding a program, I find it amusing, and I often tell my coworkers about it. Stupid mistakes are funny in hindsight, even if I spent way too long figuring out what I did wrong.

    If I do something dopey at home, usually as a result of being distracted or absent-minded, I tell my wife what a dumb thing I just did and we both laugh about it. I've pointed out some of my silly mistakes in these forums too.

    I don't think I'm unusual, since other people do this too, and I don't think I'm particularly stupid in general. But why do we admit our most ridiculous errors? Shouldn't it be human nature to keep mum and hope nobody finds out you did something so dumb? I'd probably be insulted if somebody else pointed out my most foolish mistakes and called me stupid (which isn't allowed in the forums anyway), but I'm amused by making fun of myself for these things.

    Do you do the same thing?
     
  2. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #2
    I take responsibility for my mistakes, though I won't tell people that don't need to know.
    But quite often at work I see people trying to cover it up or dump the blame on someone else. Very often in fact. Apparently I work with a lot of fools.
     
  3. Baron58 macrumors 6502

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    #3
    That's what http://www.thedailywtf.com is for.
     
  4. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #4
    Absolutely. What's the point of making an error if you haven't someone to laugh with afterwards?
     
  5. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #5
    Well I hope nothing from you guys get to the failblog... =p
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  7. toolbox macrumors 68020

    toolbox

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    #7
    Yep any mistake i make i will admit to it, i even say the stupid ones too - We all have a lol about it
     
  8. szark macrumors 68030

    szark

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    #8
    Yes, and it seems to be a bonding kind of thing. You share your stupid stories, and your coworkers/friends share their stupid stories with you, and everybody feels closer.
     
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #9
    I agree with szark.

    It also eases your conscience, and alerts others to something that might be of benefit to them, down the road.

    Nothing like a little light-hearted self-deprecation. :)
     
  10. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #10
    My latest programming error was a simple one. I put a comment in my code to document what the program would do in one case, but forgot to write the actual code to do it! It was a little one-line omission, which I fixed as soon as I ran into that section again. Then I told my coworker the surprising news: "Guess what? Writing a comment doesn't automatically make it true!"

    The non-programming foible I laughed at most recently was a couple of days ago when my wife and I were going on an errand. She had taken my keys to unlock the car and put a package in the back. As I came out, she went back in the house to get something else she wanted to bring along. Meanwhile, I got into the driver's seat of the unlocked car and tried to put the key in the ignition, only to discover that I didn't have the keys with me. Even though she had taken the keys from me a minute earlier and just walked past me holding them, my brain, clearly on automatic pilot, told me "you just got in the car so you must have the keys in your hand" so I started to check my pockets for the missing keys before I realized the stupid thing I was doing.

    I suppose I tell these kinds of mini-stories only to the people who I know will laugh with me about them. Some of my acquaintances are perfectly nice people but with little sense of humor. They aren't as likely to hear how stupid I am, at least from me!
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    Did you hear about the doctor who reached into his shirt pocked and pulled out a thermometer, and asked himself out loud, "Now where in the world did I leave my pencil?"
     
  12. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    I didn't say it was a new joke.
     
  14. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #14
    True, but you did ask in the form of a question.

    FAIL. :p
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    It was a rhetorical question. Please learn the difference.

    Speaking of dumb stuff (unless the above joke is too dumb to top), there's an entire class of brain farts connected to wearing glasses. Like, getting into bed and turning off the light with them still on. If it wasn't for Homer Simpson, I wouldn't know what to say half the time.
     
  16. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #16
    In case I ever need it, I have a ready-made excuse for at least some of my goof-ups. I can claim that they are a sign of advanced intelligence. Here's my reasoning: If you have a very low IQ, it may take a lot of concentration to do simple tasks like tie your shoe. Most of us don't have that problem, and if our shoelace is untied we'll bend down and tie it without even thinking about it. If you ask us a few minutes later, we might not even know that we just tied our shoe, not because we're foolish but because we didn't need to actively involve our brains. :cool:

    Programming analogy: Calling a predefined function, perhaps one you wrote yourself, rather than writing new code that requires thinking the task though. That's why we consider "higher-level" languages to be "smarter" languages; there's more you can do without thinking about it because so much is automatic. You can use your thinking for grander things.

    So, if my toothbrush is upside-down in the cup and I absent-mindedly brush my teeth with the wrong end, or I get in the car and find myself at work without remembering what route I took, or I pat my pockets for my car keys even though my wife is holding the keys, I can claim this automated processing is a sign of high intelligence, right? :eek:

    Or... maybe I'll claim that I do stupid things just because it amuses my friends and family!
     
  17. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #17
    You're so stupid!:p (Maybe I'll get away with breaking the rules this time?:eek:)

    My daughter and I do it all the time. We are very sarcastic and poke fun at each other, and when one does something stupid, we can't resist sharing and having a good laugh together. It teaches her that humans are fallible and it's ok, and it helps me to lighten up about myself.

    All mistakes should be funny, and we should call each other stupid on a regular basis, imho.
     
  18. marbles macrumors 68000

    marbles

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    #18
    Yes, I like the human feeling I gain from laughing at myself, it's hard for me to explain (I have a low IQ I suppose) but if I where not to laugh about some mistake or goof I'd made then I would hold that within and it would create other issues such as stress or anxiety, ...if I laugh at myself I get a release and learn from the experience, sometimes.
     
  19. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #19
    We have to laugh at ourselves' being stupid, because laughing at others' stupidity is just rude.:rolleyes:
     
  20. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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  21. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #21
    If talking to friends, if i fluff saying a sentence or word, I repeat it, adding emphasis to the words I mis-spoke, which everyone else then repeats and laughs at.
     
  22. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    #22
    I don't know, if all are willing participants, a little blood isn't a bad thing.:eek:

    In all seriousness though, I have had some people say things to me that hurt worse than getting cut. I think if we can laugh at ourselves and realize our mistakes, we are less likely to laugh at the expense of others.
     
  23. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #23
    I guess that generalizes to the groups we belong to.

    If I'm not teasing myself, I prefer to tease other programmers, men, southern Californians, Mac users, math geeks, etc., rather than people in groups I don't belong to. That way, I'm teasing us.
     

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