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THE 13 BIGGEST F–K UPS OF ALL TIME

Shit happens. Life goes on. All’s well that ends well.

Spare your affirmations, because they won’t apply to these stories. If you’ve recently made a mistake, take comfort in knowing that it probably doesn’t fall into the same universe as these doozies.

Man Chops Down World’s Oldest Tree
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Geographer and internationally renowned dumbass Donald Currey was studying pine trees in the Great Basin National Park when he got his tree corer stuck. He summoned the help of a park ranger, who helped him cut down the tree to remove the tool. Only later did he realize that it was the oldest living tree in the world, estimated at 4,900 years old.

Prometheus, as the tree was named, sprouted from the ground at the same time the written word was invented in Sumer. As Collectors Weekly wrote, “The Prometheus tree’s felling made it doubly symbolic, as the myth of its namesake captures both the human hunger for knowledge and the unintended consequences that often result from this desire.”

Baker Ignites Great Fire of London in 1666 (Destroying 80 Percent of City)
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Thomas Farriner was a humble London baker who didn’t properly extinguish embers in his oven one night. For the next three days, a fire raged throughout London, gutting 13,200 homes, 87 churches, and the livelihoods of 80,000 Londoners. Light from the fire could be seen more than 30 miles away. Farriner was asleep. However, after he was woken up and informed of the fire, he replied, “A woman could piss it out,” and went back to sleep.

California Man Sets 2,000 Homes Ablaze
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Sergio Martinez was a simple man who wanted to start a signal fire in the hope that he would be found. The novice hunter was lost in the dry hills of San Diego County, and he was growing dehydrated. So he lit a match and killed 15 people, injured 113, destroyed 2,820 buildings, and ravaged 280,278 acres in what would be known as the Cedar Fire.

For 11 days the fires raged, causing $27 million in damage. But Mr. Martinez would only have to spend six months in a halfway house and pay $9,000 in fines. By comparison, those Oregon ranchers who set a backfire to contain a forest fire, accidentally burning down a government-owned shack in the middle of the woods, are facing five years in prison (and $400,000 in restitution).

Boy Trips and Accidentally Punches Hole Through $1.5 Million Painting
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A chubby Taiwanese boy was admiring Paolo Porpora’s “Flowers” at a Leonardo Da Vinci-themed showing in Taipei when he tripped and fell onto the 350-year-old painting. His fist tore through the oil-on-canvas piece, which was priced at $1.5 million. The painting was insured, but the damage was permanent. Here’svideo of the little klutz.

Publishers Reject “Harry Potter”
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In 1995, J.K. Rowling was living on welfare and struggling to get published. A dozen publishers had turned down her brainchild — a little book about wizards and magic and Quidditch. “Four or five publishers turned it down, I think, and the consistent criticism was, ‘It’s far too long for children,'” Rowling told CBS News. As of today, 450 million copies of the Harry Potter books have been sold, giving J.K. a nice nest egg of about $1 billion.

Man Throws Away Hard Drive Containing 7,500 Bitcoins
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Welshman James Howells bought 7,500 bitcoins in 2009 for virtually nothing. One day, he spilled coffee on his computer, so he disassembled the parts (including the hard drive), which he placed in a drawer. Fast forward to 2013 when he decided to toss out the parts. Howells realized only a couple months later that his computer contained $7.5 million worth of bitcoins. He rummaged through a South Wales landfill for months trying to locate it.

Inventor of the Smiley Face Didn’t Copyright Design
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Harvey Ball never considered it a fuck up. He died happy in 2001 at the age of 79, but he probably would’ve died happier if he had secured a copyright to his iconic smiley face in 1963.

The Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio commissioned Ball with the simple task of creating something that would boost the morale of its employees. He spent 10 minutes designing the smiley face, and the company paid him $45. Almost 10 years later in 1971, two brothers Bernard and Murray Spain came across the design and slapped a copyright on it. The same year, 50 million were sold on buttons and various merchandise.

Record Company Turns Down The Beatles
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A dumb dick by the name of Dick Rowe turned down The Beatles after an audition in 1962. He told manager Brian Epstein, “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Rowe also believed that the little outfit from Liverpool wouldn’t sell as well as Brian Poole and The Tremeloes, whom he gave a record deal to instead. Since that audition for Decca Records, the Beatles have sold 1.6 billion albums worldwide.

Heir Liquidates 1,428-Year-Old Family-Owned Business
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Kongo Gumi was the world’s oldest company. It operated from right around the time when the Roman Empire crumbled in 578 A.D. until 2006, when it was acquired by Japanese construction firm Takamatsu. The 40th and final descendant to be president, Masakazu Kongo, buckled under the pressure of shrinking assets and mounting debt until he was forced to sell the business. Centuries prior, it built Buddhist temples and rustic castles that remain standing to this day. But by 2004, its revenues were down by 35 percent, and Masakazu said “screw it.” The oldest company in the world was no more.

PayPal Gives Man $92 Quadrillion
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A PR executive out of Pennsylvania looked into his account one day to find $92,233,820,368,547,800. For a brief moment, Chris Reynolds had one thousand times the GDP of the entire planet. It could’ve been, bar none, the most catastrophic blunder of all time were it not for PayPal quickly correcting the error. When asked what he would’ve done with the money, Reynolds said, “I probably would have paid down the national debt.”

Entrepreneur Sells Victoria’s Secret for $1 Million
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By all accounts, Roy Raymond’s business was a success. Victoria’s Secret opened in 1977, and within the first year made $500,000. Raymond opened six stores within the next five. But fears of nearing bankruptcy prompted him to sell the company for a mere $1 million. Within a decade, it was worth $1.9 billion and had 670 stores across the nation. Today, Victoria Secret has a net income of around $5 billion. Raymond tragically took his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in 1993.

Man Throws Away $110 Million Lotto Ticket
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It 2010, a British man threw away a winning Euromillions lotto ticket that belonged to his wife. We’re surprised there hasn’t been a Lorena Bobbitt scenario since, because according to the wife: “I play every week — I play the lottery, the Euromillions and the Thunderball — but my husband takes the ticket off me and I don’t see it again. That’s why I always write my numbers down.” At the time, it was the biggest jackpot in Euromillions history. Suffice it to say, the husband is probably chained in the doghouse for life.

Chernobyl
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On April 26, 1986, a nuclear plant in Ukraine experienced explosions. Within days, 200,000 people were being evacuated from the area. Recent research estimates that 985,000 people have perished since the disaster. The costs associated with the incident total an astounding $200 billion. Today, it is believed that 1.7 million Ukrainians still suffer from the consequences.

 

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