5 Huge Monster Versions of the World's Most Annoying Things
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 ...
Drivers in China Got Stuck in a Traffic Jam for Several Days
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.
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.
An Iowa Man Hiccuped for Nearly Seven Decades
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.
"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.)
The 90-Decibel House Cat
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.
South Africa's Driving Test Is a Kafkaesque Nightmare
Getting a driver's license is an annoying rite of passage every young person hoping to ever get laid must go through. It's not exactly fun to have to drive in a car while being judged by a jaded DMV employee who, let's face it, probably has it in for you due to the fact that your job doesn't entail getting into a two-ton death trap with a kid still learning his way around his privates, let alone a vehicle.
Playfully saying "Your job fucking sucks" rarely improves your chances.
But even if you get an absolute hardass for your driving test, you have a pretty good shot of making it. After all, nearly every pizza-faced, squeaky-voiced teenager gets their license, often on the first try.
Or at least that's the case in most countries ... but not South Africa. South Africa's maddening approach to driver education is less about teaching people to drive and more about teaching them to suffer. Known as the K53, the South African driving test is so difficult that it set off riots in 2007. It's hardly the worst thing to ever happen to the South African people, but we do think it's gonna make the basis for a pretty kickass sci-fi picture one day.
"Who Will Pass?"
Exactly how batshit insane is this test? Here are some of the things you get points off for: Did you forget to engage the hand brake every time you stopped? OK, that's reasonable. But did you make a single clicking sound while doing it? Sorry, you have to engage the hand brake silently. Points off. Don't check your mirrors every seven seconds? Points off. Glance at the gearshift while you're driving? Points off. Forget to check that your headlights and taillights are securely attached before you get in? Points off! Forget to check beneath your car for leaks? Points off, you reckless maniac!
And just to make it more interesting, there are myriad ways you can instantly fail the test. For example, if your car rolls backward for even an inch during stopping or starting, that's an insta-fail. Presumably at this point you're ejected from the car, James Bond-style.
Or the car explodes. No points off for this, surprisingly.
And what's South Africa's reward for this draconian driving exam? Worse drivers. The test is so impossible to pass for most people (fewer than 4 in 10 pass) that they decide they don't need any of that highfalutin nonsense and just drive without a license. Coincidentally, the rate of traffic fatalities is 20 times higher than in the United Kingdom (and five times higher than in the U.S.). So we guess the lesson here is that they should make the test so easy, even stupid 16-year-olds can pass, and maybe they'll actually bother to study for it and learn something.
One Man's Static Electricity Gets a Whole Building Evacuated
Static electricity seems like the awesomest thing ever when you're 10 years old and rubbing your feet on the carpet to pretend you're Raiden from Mortal Kombat, but it kinda loses its luster once you're an adult and its only purpose is zapping your hand every time you touch a doorknob. Still, it's only a minor annoyance -- it's not like you're going around like one of Zeus' drunken cousins, scorching shit willy-nilly with no control over it.
Unless, that is, you live in Australia and your name is Frank Clewer.
Ah, ol' "Electrocutor" Clewer.
Clewer woke up on a chilly September morning in 2005 and decided to put on a spiffy combo of a synthetic nylon jacket and a wool shirt before heading to a job interview (we're guessing it wasn't a management position). What he didn't know was that the shirt and jacket would rub together, passing electrons around and storing up a little bit of a static charge -- and by "a little bit," we mean so much static that when he walked into the reception area for his interview, he heard what sounded like a goddamn firecracker going off. Probably figuring someone had eaten Chipotle for breakfast, he sat down in the waiting room.
Everything seemed normal until the carpet began to smoke for no apparent reason. No one, including Clewer, thought that a person could be responsible for the weirdness, so rather than burning him for witchcraft before he burned them, they called the fire department, which evacuated the building. Meanwhile, loud firecracker noises continued following Clewer around, and small burn marks appeared on the floor wherever he walked.
Killing anything hiding there, which was a relief, considering where he lived.
When the situation got to the point where Clewer scorched a piece of plastic just by sitting next to it, the firemen decided to confiscate his jacket and test it. It had built up at least 30,000 volts, which is just shy of "full-on fire emergency." How the hell is that possible? Many on the Internet believe it isn't, while an actual expert at Sydney University said it was unusual and would require perfect conditions -- meaning that, yes, apparently you can cause a disaster with your wardrobe choices if it's dry enough, you step on the right type of carpet, and nature is feeling pissed off at you that day.
Anyway, we don't know if Clewer got the job, but we're guessing his chances weren't that good.
You can contact Eddie with writing opportunities, or just to say hi, at email@example.com.
Related Reading: If you hate traffic jams, read about these poor fools who spent twelve hours inside their cars. And did you know some annoyances can boost human creativity? Drunkenness is a big one. And if you're all about some video game annoyances that need to die, we've got those too.