What have you broken or damaged by your own stupidity?

Prized possession or just something you own that you should have been more careful with.

I had a vintage Sansui stereo receiver that I bought new in the late 1970s. You would have to pay around $1200 these days to replace it, assuming you can find one.

Anyway, I was moving my stereo equipment around once and I had the Sansui sitting on top of a speaker. I needed to unplug the audio cable that was attached to it, but the receiver was, like, four feet away.

Did I take the two steps toward the unit and unplug the cables? Nope, too far to walk, I guess. I jerked the wires, assuming the cables would unplug themselves.

You can guess what happened. The speakers were about four feet tall. The receiver fell onto a hard floor.

This happened, probably, 30 years ago. I want to cry every time I think of it.

Whatta ya got?


It’s the ones that are self-inflicted that bother me the most. I backed my car into my parked motorcycle and knocked it over. Minimal damage, and it was over 25 years ago, but I remember it vividly.

Are we including the cost of the damage? Mine didn’t cost much but I know I’ve made some other pricey mistakes.

~25 years ago, I was upgrading something in a 386-based PC when a bead of sweat fell on the motherboard. :zap: At least I had obtained that system for free.

Much more recently, I was setting up a 24" Chromecast TV when it suddenly tipped over. I guess it landed just the right way to kill the screen without any other noticeable damage. Never gonna trust those two little feet again!

My left anterior cruciate ligament.

Fat people shouldn’t play volleyball.

I once bought and painstakingly planted a beautiful and rather expensive azalea. After I watered it in, I was collecting up the tools and hose, etc., and I tripped over my own feet and stomped on it and split it in two.

I debated going and getting a new one, but just left the crippled one there and it grew as best it could. It never did look good, though.

I needed a 10 foot piece of PVC. I measured my car and confirmed it would fit if I had it running from the back, all the way up to the front and resting on the dashboard.
Run to Home Depot, grab the PVC pipe, open the hatch, slide it into the car and rest it on the dashboard with just enough clearance to close the hatch. I closed it slowly so I could make sure it was clear of the door. The latch clicks and we’re still in good shape. But that was the first click (like when you’re door isn’t all the way closed). I remember thinking to myself ‘I should just leave it like this’ as I pushed it the rest of the way shut. It latched the rest of the way as I heard the sound of the windshield cracking.
That was one of the more expensive favors I did for someone.

Another one. My dad had an old car that he used to drive quite a bit, but had been in storage for 10 or 15 years. We dragged it out and actually got it running almost right away. I spent the next few days tinkering with it and at one point decided to change the fuel filter. It had a filter like this that screwed directly into the carburetor. Got it screwed in, gave it a few turns with a wrench and then said ‘one more turn and it’ll be good’ and the threaded portion sheared off inside the body of the carb. Luckily a friend happened to see me playing with the car (he’s a classic car guy) and I showed him what I did. Not only did he know exactly how to fix it, I actually had the tools to do it. Actually…wait for it…that must have been at least 20 years ago and the tool is still sitting right next to me. I really should put it away at some point. It honestly hasn’t moved since then.

The list is just too long. Dents in cars. Broken tools. Broken furniture. Broken fingers and toes. Torn ACL eventually leading to both knees being replaced. If you do stuff then stuff breaks. Everybody finds their own comfortable balance of care and haste, and even with the most possible care stuff still breaks sometimes.

And just the other day I had to fabricate a new clamping screw for an old metal cutting saw I was refurbishing. After several false starts just to get to that point with a correctly threaded rod I didn’t measure the length needed with the blade all the way in down position and so I cut it off too short. It will work most of the time, but eventually I’ll have to remake that part or let the memory of my mistake claw at my soul endlessly until I die. Or maybe just forget about it, won’t be long before I break something else.

Broken? Damaged? I once threw a computer and an external zip disk with irreplaceable files away while moving house. Still hurts.

Nothing seriously valuable, but one time when I was in grad school I was lounging on the sofa one Sunday morning. Having just finished drinking my morning coffee I was holding an empty coffee mug in my hands. I have no idea what possessed me to do this, but for some reason I reached down, hooked the mug’s handle around by big toe, and stated tugging on the mug. And I managed to break the handle off the mug. Like I said, it wasn’t valuable, but it was my favorite mug.

Then there was time I needed to combine milk with melted butter for something (I think I read online that a combo of milk and butter could be used as a substitute for heavy cream). So I melted the butter in the microwave. In a glass bowl. And then I poured cold milk into the glass bowl containing the hot butter. And bowl cracked pretty much the second the milk hit the hot bowl.

ETA: Oh and then there was the time I was replacing a fluorescent tube in my garage. I climbed up a step ladder and removed the old tube. But I guess I was too lazy to climb back down the ladder and gently place the tube on the ground. Instead I just leaned the old tube against the side of the ladder. I barely let go of it when it fell over and shattered on the garage floor. And then I got to clean up mercury containing fluorescent tube pieces.

Last year I purchased a new (to me) vehicle. It was 20 years old but in great shape and 120k on it. It was $6000. When it was time to get insurance I opted for the cheapest version, not realizing that it meant I would not be covered in case of deer impact (nobody’s fault but my own).

Well wouldn’t you know it, I hit a deer destroying my bumper in the process. Made the call to ICBC only to learn of my stupid choice of coverage.

Mechanic tried for 5 months to find a replacement bumper but, because the car is not made anymore, no bumper is to be found. Had I the proper insurance, it would have been a write-off. Instead, in the end, I had to swallow the $6000 and give the car away for free to a junker.

Expensive lesson caused by my own stupidity. My new truck is insured to the max.

You do not have enough paper to document all the crap I’ve busted by being stupid; if it’s any consolation, most of it cost me some blood.

You didn’t even need to write the rest.


I destroyed a sweater my wife just ordered by slitting the package open with a long knife (and slitting the sweater in the process). As she pointed out, it wasn’t even addressed to me and I shouldn’t have touched it to begin with.

OK, another one that still bugs me after 3 decades…

I’ve collected vinyl records since I bought my first one in 1972. In my youth, I stored them in wooden crates, stacked one on top of the other.

I had a cat. One day he decided that the records in the bottom crate would make a dandy scratching post. I came home to find a good deal of shredded album spines strewn about the area.

I still have every album I’ve ever owned. Many of the artists from around T through Z have damage from a kitty that died a long time ago*.


*no, I didn’t kill him.

Was plowing snow 2 years ago in front of our new home under construction (with a Bobcat/skid steer). I’m normally pretty decent with heavy equipment, but I was in a hurry to ski and probably pretty caffeinated. Spun around and felt a bump–huh. The next morning I found out the (longer than I expected) rear of the Bobcat had destroyed a panel of a $20,000 lift-and-slide door. The panel had to be ordered from Poland. Shipped on May 12th and sat off Long Beach for 4 months, got here finally at the end of October. I’ve been in construction for 30 years. At least my biggest owie was on my own house.

When I was a kid – maybe 11 or 12 – I liked to go fishing. One summer I decided I wanted a new fishing rod so spent… well, I don’t remember how long, but it was a significant amount of time mowing lawns and doing other chores to save money for that new fishing pole. The big day came and my dad took me to the army/navy store to pick out a new rod. I picked out the nicest one I could afford and proudly paid for it with my own money. Put it the back of the van and took it home.

For whatever reason my dad got out of the van first and went inside the house. I opened the back of the van and pulled out my shiny new rod… and then promptly closed the door on it, cleanly snapping it in two.

I remember dreading what my dad would say when he found out. Later that day he asked to take a closer look at my new rod and that’s when I had to tell him. I remember breaking down and bawling… all that time spent saving, for nothing!

Dad had pity on me and took me back to the store where he bought another rod for me. When we got home he made sure the new rod was in the garage and on the rack before I was allowed to close the door on the van.

As an adult I’ve been diagnosed with OCD and I well, obsess over the proper placement of things so I tend not to break things accidentally. Maybe it all stems from that stupid fishing rod incident.

Once I had an e-reader in my front pants pocket when I got on a roller coaster. The safety bar for the roller coaster came down and – crunch! What was I thinking…

Yes, that’s about the time I said “oh no” aloud.

As several others have said, I’ve broken too many things accidentally to count. But here’s something, that while not especially expensive, wins for irony:

I have a set of these 3 Kurt Adler blown glass Hershey Kisses, and for the first few years I owned them, kept them up on a high shelf to protect them from the (old) cats.

One day, I needed to put something tall and awkward near said shelf, and I was worried that I might jostle the box of ornaments while setting the object in place, so I picked up the box…

…and managed to lose my balance as I stepped down and whacked the box on the corner of the shelf.

So I now have 2 blown glass Hershey Kisses.

As a footnote, I tried to order a replacement set. It did not survive the trip through the US post office.

This seems like one of those things that, when it happened, seemed disastrous. Years later it simply makes for an amusing anecdote.

In my early teens I collected Calvin & Hobbes books. We had a rescue kitten for a few weeks and one day that little shit chewed the corner of my prized copy of Revenge of the Baby-Sat. I was absolutely livid. That was 28 or 29 years ago and I still have that book, chewed corner and all. Now I just remember the kitten with fondness.

I could go on for hours in this exact vein. My wreckage is legion.

In my case it’s not laziness as such, but rather an excessive need for efficiency and/or speed. Never carry two drinking glasses carefully when you can carry four precariously. Never walk around an obstacle when you can stretch your stride out extra far to step over it. etc.