Life is full of little annoyances that drive us insane, like when you can't remember a ... you know, letter combination thing ... goddammit. However, it's easy to lose perspective and forget that other people have it so, so much worse than us. And no, we don't mean cancer patients and shit: We're talking about people who had to go up against the exact same tiny problems that bug us every day, only amplified to Godzilla-like proportions. For example ...
Everyone has at some point been stuck in a traffic jam so long and soul-crushing that it seemed like God had stopped time just to bust your balls. Afterward, you probably told someone, "I felt like I was there for DAYS!" Well, you might never tempt the fates with those words again after we tell you about the infamous traffic jam in China that went on not for an hour, or 10, or 50, but 12 freaking days.
Alexander F. Yuan/AP
Literal days. Not the type your ride home feels like.
It happened in 2010, when someone got the bright idea to do some construction work along a stretch of the busy Beijing-Zhangjiakou highway, ostensibly for the purpose of making the constant traffic problems suck less. Instead, they managed to accomplish the exact opposite. Apparently, no one foresaw that when you take an already seriously overtaxed highway and close half the lanes, everything stops. Traffic slowed to the infuriating, grandpa-like speed of 1 kilometer (a bit over half a mile) per day. The 75 miles of highway essentially turned into a big parking lot. Oh, and it was summer.
Poor saps who unsuspectingly got sucked into this automobile black hole spent as many as five days in traffic and had to keep themselves entertained playing cards, trying to find an unpooped spot on the side of the road, and occasionally getting attacked by packs of robbers (we're assuming they were dressed like Mad Max characters). Others just slept to pass the time, which of course made the traffic go even slower.
"Wow, I had the most ridiculous nightma- shit."
Meanwhile, kind locals helped out the poor drivers by giving them water and food ... at 10 times the regular price, naturally. And since few had packed provisions for a week-long trip, they could either suck it up and pay or starve.
"Here's a week-old dead possum I found. That'll be $18,000."
Amazingly, there were no reported incidents of road rage during this jam, presumably because everyone was too tired to yell and horn abusers were killed on the first day. And then, 12 days after it started, the great traffic jam of China simply disappeared. Maybe those drivers are still out there somewhere, roaming the world and solving crimes. Or, more likely, they went to work the next day and got the most incredulous looks ever from their bosses.
Having the hiccups is doubly annoying: There's the mysterious affliction itself, which feels like there's an alien half-assedly trying to burst out of your chest every few seconds, and then there's the fact that everyone around you tries to scare you while insisting that you use their infallible hiccups-stopping technique.
Isidore Stanislas Helman
"It'll cure your snoring, too."
But what's the longest you've ever hiccuped? Ten minutes? Twenty? Thirty? Iowa farmer Charles Osborne hiccuped for 35 ... million minutes. As in, 68 years. (We probably should have just said that.)
From 1922, when he was only 30 years old, until the ripe old age of 98 in 1990, Osborne suffered from the absolute worst case of hiccups in recorded history. For upward of three Buddy Holly lifetimes, Osborne hiccuped at a rate of 20 times per minute (which actually was an improvement -- they started at 40 per minute), for an estimated total of over 430 million hiccups. The dude was hiccuping when the Berlin Wall was constructed and still hiccuping when it got torn down.
He started hiccuping to the Charleston and almost made it to the Macarena.
So, what did the poor bastard do to deserve such a curse? Regular farm work. One day, Osborne was hanging a 350-pound hog for butchering when he slipped and fell. According to Osborne, "I felt nothing, but the doctor said later that I busted a blood vessel the size of a pin in my brain." Unfortunately, that little blood vessel happened to be the one in charge of inhibiting hiccup response. But hey, at least it wasn't the one in charge of inhibiting potent farts or, like, doing heil Hitlers. And yes, friends did try to "cure" him: One time, someone fired a shotgun right behind him. It probably ruined his pants, but not his hiccups streak.
Despite having to do things like eat blended food to avoid choking on a hiccup, Osborne led a mostly normal life. He learned to breathe methodically so as to suppress the noise from his perpetual parade of breath spasms, and he held several jobs in his lifetime.
He even convinced someone to marry him despite the constant interruptions during make-out sessions. However, Osborne never gave up on finding a cure because, in his exact words, "I get so sore jerking all the time."
We, uh, guess the spasms do make some chores harder.
And then, one day in 1990, the hiccups stopped. Osborne died the next year, but at least he tasted freedom. (Oh, and to every suggestible soul who got hiccups while reading this entry: sorry. We're sure they'll go away soon.)
Some pets, despite lacking intelligence in key areas like "knowing where to poop" and "basic arithmetic," seem to have an uncanny talent for calculating the worst possible moment to make noise, like when you're on the phone, or trying to enjoy a quiet, romantic evening with your computer. Still, the vast majority of pets only need to hear a firm "Quiet, boy!" or "Bad kitty" and they'll shut up. And if they don't, you can always dump them in another room and enjoy the silence. Problem solved!
However, that technique wouldn't do much good with Smokey, a British cat. Why's that? Well, it's hard to describe, so we'll just leave this video here and ask that you lower the volume if you're wearing headphones (seriously, we don't want lawsuits):
Holy shit, that is the loudest motherfucking cat in the world, and that's not us saying it -- that's according to Guinness World Records (the "motherfucking" was implied). Most cats purr at 25 decibels, but Smokey, despite looking pretty average, has a medium volume of 80 decibels and goes up to 92 when measured up close. She's the Susan Boyle of cats ... or, more accurately, the jet turbine of cats, because that's seriously how loud she is: almost as loud as a jet landing. In your house.
Although jets don't get right in your face every morning to demand fuel.
It would be one thing if this cacophonous kitty purred only once in a while, but according to her somehow still non-deaf or insane owners, Ruth and Mark Adams, she's making noise all the goddamn time -- but especially when someone's on the phone. According to Ruth, this always results in stupefied reactions from the people on the other end when they find out it's a cat making that hellacious racket and not the Germans having another go at this blitzkrieg thing.
Smokey also likes to purr when people are trying to watch a movie, completely drowning out the TV at the most climactic parts. At this point, we're pretty sure this thing is a cyborg sent from the future to prevent the Adams family from ever enjoying anything again. So why do they put up with her? Well, their daughter thinks Smokey's cute, and they've probably made a few bucks showing off that fancy Guinness certificate in TV interviews.
The glass in the frame lasted about five seconds.