What follows is a collection of sad tales my friends have e-mailed to me in recent days, plus my accounts of others I actually witnessed.

You probably have been the victim of similar horrors, yourself. They’re called:

Idiot Sightings

• We had to have the garage door repaired. The repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a “large” enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute and said that we had the largest one (the company) made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower.

He shook his head and said, “Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.” I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, “No, it’s not. Four is larger than two.”

• My daughter and I went through the (fast food) take-out window, and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, “You gave me too much money.” I said, “Yes, I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.”

She sighed and went to get the manager, who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said, “We’re sorry, but they could not do that kind of thing.” The clerk then proceeded to give me a dollar bill and 75 cents in change.

• I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: “Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don’t think this is a good place for them to be crossing any more.”

• My daughter went to a local (fast food restaurant) and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for “minimal lettuce.” He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.

• I was at the airport, checking in at the gate, when an airport employee asked, “Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?” To which I replied, “If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?”

He smiled knowingly and nodded, “That’s why we ask.”

• The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it’s safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged co-worker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for.

I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, “What on earth are blind people doing driving?!”

• We had a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear co-worker. She was leaving the company due to “downsizing.”

Our manager commented cheerfully, “This is fun. We should do this more often.” Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

• I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn’t understand why her system would not turn on.

• When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver side door.

As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. “Hey,” I announced to the technician, “it’s open!” His reply, “I know. I already got that side.”

• Newspaper headline (not one of ours, by the way): “Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25.”

• Letter to the Editor (also not ours): “To all you hunters who kill animals for food, shame on you. You ought to go to the store and buy the meat that was made there, where no animals were harmed.”

——————

While I was a police reporter, some thieves burgled a store and stole a safe.

Police who recovered it said it apparently had been beaten upon with hammers and assailed with cutting torches, and it also bore the scars of explosives.

The safe was found lying in the middle of a highway, where it the thieves abandoned it after dropping it from a bridge, apparently trying to break it open.

The first officer on the scene went to it, turned the door handle and found that it was unlocked. He opened it to find that the money and other contents had been tossed around a bit, but were otherwise undisturbed.

And The Associated Press reported last week that an Alaska man shoved a police officer so he could join his brother in jail. He apparently was intoxicated at the time.

Reminds me of the time a fellow was visited by his girlfriend while he was in jail, and he convinced her that if she loved him, she ought to be in jail as well. (Never mind that they would be kept in separate quarters, it was the principle of the thing.)

Upon leaving, she heaved a rock through a window of the jail, was quickly arrested and appeared before a District Court commissioner — who released her on her own recognizance (a promise to appear) pending trial.

Next, she went to the City Police station and broke out a headlight in one of the cruisers. Again, the commissioner released her .

When she returned to her boyfriend and report her lack of success, he reminded her that she was on probation for battery and suggested she track down the victim she’d been ordered to avoid, and let him have it again.

That worked. This time, the commissioner sent her straight to jail.

Once there, she promptly assaulted another female inmate whom she believed had been making time with her boyfriend.

By this time, however, the boyfriend had finished serving his sentence, was no longer in jail and, according to my friends who worked there, showed no interest whatsoever in returning.

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