Screw-ups happen in any line of work -- sometimes you file a report with the wrong department, sometimes you forget to include the extra pickles. And on some occasions, your whoopsie is "accidentally passing a law that affects millions of people." Indeed, when the government has a brain fart on the job, the results can be way more disastrous. Like so ...
#4. Deputies Accidentally Direct Abuse Victims to Sex Hotline
Talking to abuse victims and giving them the support they need requires tact and empathy, two things law enforcement agents aren't exactly known throughout the land for. That's why the local sheriff's office in Lake County, Florida, just handed victims this pamphlet with a bunch of support numbers they could call:
"Eh, let's just recycle the Sheriff Has a Boner Support pamphlet. What could go wrong?"
What the victims didn't know -- until they called the number and heard heavy moaning on the other side -- was that the "24-hour hotline service" actually referred to a sex line. Apparently, these exact pamphlets have been going out for several years and no one noticed the mistake, despite the fact that the real support center doesn't even have an 800 number. On the upside, those sultry-voiced sex workers were probably a lot more qualified to talk to victims than the cops.
#3. Florida Accidentally Bans the Internet
Back in April, Florida passed a bill that banned all slot machines and Internet cafes within the state to help crack down on their giant gambling problem (as gambling excessively is the only way to tolerate living in Florida). However, since whoever wrote up the bill was probably some senior citizen for whom "getting online" is something you do at the bank, the bill's wording was so bad that it technically banned all devices connected to the Internet, including computers and smartphones.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"This is dumb even for our state ..."
The anti-Internet bill is currently the subject of a lawsuit. Whatever the outcome, what's certain is that all of you reading this in Florida are filthy outlaws right now, and we've automatically reported you to the FBI.
"I didn't choose Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi chose me."
#2. The IRS Accidentally Makes Thousands of Social Security Numbers Public
Every once in a while you hear about a game company getting hacked, forcing users to change their password to something a little safer than "password." What's more alarming is when the company itself posts the private information for all to see ... or when that "company" is actually the government. Which is exactly what happened a few days ago, when the IRS accidentally published tens of thousands of Social Security numbers online. Unfortunately, you can't just log in and pick a new one in this case.
Apparently, some distracted IRS worker just forgot to redact the SSNs when uploading a new database. How do you forget to put a black bar over thousands and thousands of lines? Isn't that something that sticks in your mind?
"No, I definitely spent all afternoon doing that ... or was I playing Candy Crush?"
#1. Costa Rica Accidentally Legalizes Gay Marriage
Gay marriage has been gaining traction over the last few years, but the truth is, it's still pretty illegal in most of the world. Just over a dozen countries have recognized it, and last week, Costa Rica became one of those countries. By accident.
We've never seen this movie and never will, but we're pretty sure that's the exact plot.
You see, some sneaky Costa Rican lawmakers decided to reword a part of a law that they were sure would pass, presumably named "The Free Penis Enlargement for Congress Members Bill." The law talked about "the right to recognition without discrimination contrary to human dignity," something that conservative lawmakers happily signed up for ... until they realized that "human dignity" includes gay folks, too. And that's how Costa Rica became fabulous.
Well, more fabulous.
Bombs are frightening, and there are some folks out there who -- out of paranoia or tattoos fueled by youthful indiscretion -- see Ted Kaczynski's mugshot whenever they close their eyelids. Therefore, nowadays just about anything and everything can be interpreted as a bomb threat. Here's some of the most oddball shit to recently be mistaken for deadly explosives. We're surprised the whole world doesn't crash to a halt whenever a television station airs a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.
#4. Modern Art
In June, artist Russell Jaffe received a call from police after a piece of his artwork -- a smashed television he wrapped in poetry containing such zanily scrawled phrases as "IT IS YOU MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE" -- shut down downtown Iowa City for several hours. What happened? A buyer who had recently purchased the artwork from Jaffe left the piece in a "community exchange" booth near the Iowa Arts Festival, and somebody reported the objet d'art to the police. They proceeded to annihilate it with a robotic water cannon, the kind of critic nobody warns you about in art school.
"Seriously, I'm just so over postmodern hobo-nism." -HydroBot7500, Iowa City PD, HuffPo/Arts Asst. Ed.
Just recently, Al Jazeera released a leaked government report on the days leading up to Osama bin Laden's surprise bullet party with SEAL Team 6, providing an illuminating look at how the terrorist leader stayed hidden for an entire decade. This 300+-page file reveals that bin Laden's methods of evading capture often amounted to cartoonish buffoonery coupled with blind luck, making him closer to George Bluth than Jason Bourne on the scale of fugitive masterminds. Here are some of his most nefarious tactics ...
#4. He Wore a Silly Hat to Avoid Satellite Detection
Today's babies are born into a world of economic uncertainty, political gridlock, and '90s-kid parents who think "Britney" is the correct spelling. Also, most disturbingly, parents love naming their babies after the shit they see on TV and forgetting that humans tend to stick around a lot longer than the average ratings sensation. That's why in about 20 years you'll see a lot of embarrassed adults with baffling names like ...
#5. Khaleesi (from Game of Thrones)
Just in case you're too cheap to get HBO, "khaleesi" means "queen" in the fictional language of the Dothraki from Game of Thrones. Despite being more of a title than a name, last year the word showed up on the birth certificates of 146 American baby girls whose parents apparently anticipate them to blossom into sexy dragon ladies who get nude a lot.