To celebrate the New Year, we at Cracked have dug deep in the annals of local news to salute those ordinary folks who in 2008 had their lives forever cursed by some unfortunate photographs.
Their moments of poor judgment have been frozen for all time, the images freely available online to their future employers and children. So laugh at them while you can, because this time next year it could be any of us.
"How to Collect Unemployment" by ex-New England Patriots cheerleader Caitlin Davis:
1.) Be the public face (and legs and butt) of a Super Bowl-winning sports franchise. Make sure the team has a Jewish owner.
2.) Draw some swastikas on a wasted buddy.
3.) Post photos of your body art on Facebook.
4.) Lose job.
On August 21, John Pearce of Dartford, England smashed the front window of a house, hopped a tiny wall and somehow ensnared his shoelaces in a windowpane. He dangled there for over an hour, regaling neighbors with his screams for help and naked pink tummy.
"I'm not the burglar!" (actual quote)
Wait, how the hell is this even possible? We're not sure how it is in England, but here in America, shoelaces and windowpanes aren't exactly known for their insurmountable structural integrity.
All we know is that it must have taken the restraint of Buddha himself to avoid smacking the guy with sticks until the cops arrived.
Ohio state trooper Craig Franklin dressed up as a Ku Klux Klan member right before Martin Luther King Day. He found his outfit so deliciously absurd that he sent photos to all his pals. His pals then showed it off to their pals, who turned out to be a bunch of killjoys with consciences and ethics and stuff.
When the bigwigs at the Ohio State Highway Patrol failed to see the irony, Franklin explained that he was imitating a Chappelle's Show sketch. After all, no one expected Dave Chappelle - a black man - to wear a KKK robe! That's why it's comedy! And by the same token, who would expect Franklin - a white cop - to dress in KKK garb! And if they did, it would be, like, reverse racism! Somehow!
When 19-year-old Calvin Morrett dressed up as an oversized phallus and crashed his old high school's graduation, he thought it would be the prank of the ages. Surely he would end up on MTV's High School Stories with the rest of the wild dudes who peaked at 16.
Sure, we all pulled some shenanigans in school. But the difference in Morrett's case is that 20 years from now when he's lecturing his kid about buckling down and taking school seriously, the kid will likely reply with the YouTube video of dad sprinting across the graduation stage in a dong costume, spraying silly string.
2008 was a comeback year for piracy. Somalian pirates got a ton of press, it was the first year without a disappointing Pirates of the Caribbean sequel to make us sad and Stacy Snyder of Pennsylvania was barred from receiving her teaching degree after she posted pics of herself as a beer-swilling swashbuckler on MySpace.
Is it unfair to assume from the above photo that she in fact engages in raping, pillaging and boarding of British trade vessels? We don't think so. Why else would someone wear that hat? Call it profiling if you will, but we don't want our children taught the ways of the lawless high seas. Also, the situation speaks to the sad, continuing gentrification of the ignoble pirating profession.
When Kim Taylor of Stewartstown, PA failed to put the parking brake on her Mazda Miata on August 1, she claimed it was innocent mistake. We prefer the theory that Ms. Taylor is a Nostradamus-like performance artist who tried to symbolically warn us of the recent auto industry crash.
That, or it happened after a drunken bet that her Miata "can totally ramp the fucking pool."
In April, Playboy embarked on a quest to find the nation's sexiest Olive Garden employees. We can understand these ladies' willingness to disrobe for fame and fortune, but we're sort of confused why anyone would admit to working at the Olive Garden.
Way hotter than The Women of Long John Silver.
After all, isn't that the kind of job that you hope to have moved on from by the time the magazine hits the stands? This isn't like "Wall Street's Hottest Stockbrokers" or "The Sexy Women of NASA." You're pretty much letting them turn your shitty part-time job into a permanent label.
In 2007, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assistant secretary Julie Myers helmed an ICE Halloween costume contest. The top prize went to an ICE employee in blackface and prison garments.
In a classic moment of drunken "what can possibly go wrong" logic, the winner posed for a photo with Myers, who didn't even entertain the thought of career suicide.
When the photos were leaked in April 2008, Myers soon found she didn't have a friend in the world... except for maybe Ohio state trooper Craig Franklin up there.
Louisa Tuck of Vineland, NJ had it all: a $5,772-a-year cafeteria job at a local elementary school, the respect of her peers and a rack the size of Appalachia.
Unfortunately for Ms. Tuck, school officials found out that she had led a previous career as "Crystal Gunns," star of such docudramas as Busty Dildo Lovers #2 and Busty Dildo Lovers #5. It's unclear how officials discovered Tuck's film oeuvre, but unless she came to school everyday wearing something other than a circus tent, it was pretty obvious Tuck had some baggage.
"The vegetable today is creamed corn."
Faced with angry parents and a waffling school board, Tuck quit her job on December 12. When asked to comment on her past, she offered this pearl of wisdom: "Our president-elect has admitted to doing crack, and he's our president. Does that make him a bad person?"
20-year-old Michigan resident Spencer Taylor was so inspired by Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight that he decided to wreak a little chaos of his own. On July 27, Taylor, dressed as the Clown Prince of Crime, waltzed into Three Rivers Cinema and started boosting Dark Knight merchandise. He was apprehended by ticket takers and popcorn vendors, thereby securing his spot somewhere between Jim Carrey and Julie Newmar on the list of all-time scariest Batman villains.
Michelle Allen of Middletown, Ohio got really damn drunk on a Saturday night. While that's not out of the ordinary for some folks, let's add that Allen was working at a Halloween haunted trail, dressed as a heifer.
On September 30, Allen rampaged around the neighborhood, terrifying children and urinating on porches and yards. When the Ohio 5-0 finally threw her in the drunk tank, Allen refused to cow-tow and told authorities to "suck her udders."
As the rest of the community tried to make sense of Allen's carnage, Police Major Mark Hoffman was asking the important questions. "It's curious," Hoffman said. "When I think of Halloween or a haunted trail, I don't think of cows as being scary."
Oh, and as for why they didn't have her take off the cow costume before being photographed? Police said she was wearing nothing underneath.
On October 22, 20-year-old Ashley Todd informed Pittsburgh police that she had been mugged by a large black man, who - upon seeing Todd's McCain bumper sticker - carved a backwards letter "B" (for "Barack") into her cheek.
Conservative blogs spread the photo far and wide, demonstrating the kind of anarchy that would ensue if those crazy blacks were allowed to invade the White House.
After folks began noticing that the "B" had seemingly been carved in a mirror, gently, with a fingernail, Todd confessed that the "B" actually stood for "Big Bag of Bullpucky."
So as far as life-ruining photos go, this lone woman's apparent attempt to both turn the election and incite some kind of race war makes a huge penis costume seem like a pretty awesome idea in comparison.
For a look at some images that were supposed to happen this year and didn't check out The 8 Most Misguided Sci-Fi Versions Of 2008. Or predict next years most embarrassing photos in this week's Cracked.com photo shop contest The Most Embarrassing Images of 2009.