Physicists have yet to postulate the "goal-to-rectal-discomfort" equation, but in short, it goes as follows: "the greater the goal, the greater the pain in the ass." It applies to pretty much everything worth doing, from writing a book to knuckle-walking across the Australian outback in 48 hours just to say you did it. But at a certain point, the relationship between variables flips. When a goal gets so lofty that it descends into idiocy, like proving the Earth is actually triangular, the rectal discomfort factor just keeps climbing.
DNA testing is useful for solving crimes and diagnosing disease, but it can also be spectacularly unuseful when it's wielded as a weapon for petty revenge. It didn't help anyone when a Taiwanese college student found $1.92 worth of yogurt missing and declared, after her roommates went all Spartacus, that she would hunt down the thief by any means necessary.
It didn't help the police, to whom the woman took the empty bottle that she'd found in the trash, demanding a full investigation. It didn't help local taxpayers, who shelled out $500 for the DNA testing of each of the woman's five roommates against the saliva on the bottle, not to mention the man hours it took police to fill out forms and dust for fingerprints (really). It certainly didn't help the roommates, one of whom was eventually charged with the theft while the others were forced to live out a Arrested Development storyline through no fault of their own. It didn't even help the "victim," who was still down one bottle of yogurt.
But by god, she did it anyway. She knew that vindication tastes sweeter than any cultured dairy product, so she followed through on her threat and succeeded with flying colors. Let's hope she's not studying anything too powerful.
In 2019, 40-year-old Brian Couture of Forest Grove, Oregon decided he deserved the $740 his daughter earned selling cookies more than she did, so he was clearly already a monster. Theoretically, that's the hard part: becoming so morally bankrupt that stealing from an actual Girl Scout, let alone your own, is an attractive possibility. From there -- again, *theoretically* -- it's easy to explain missing money to a child. Maybe she lost it. The dog ate it. It turns out the tooth fairy is a loan shark, and she came to collect. There was absolutely no need to stage a whole-ass robbery, but apparently, the only thing Couture halfasses is the development of his conscience.
That's actually what got him in the end. He called the police early in the morning of March 9 to recite the story he'd cooked up of fighting off a burglar who unfortunately managed to beat it just before the police showed up to flaunt their badges, toss around some yellow tape, and hound the whole block for the alleged suspect. As the day dragged on and no suspect turned up, the police started wondering about the lack of signs of forced entry and asking Couture some uncomfortable questions, so it turns out he could have planned it a *little* better. Eventually, he cracked and admitted to the whole thing. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for a minimally competent investigation.
Mike Merril was just like anybody else. By day, he was a customer service rep for a small software company based in Portland, Oregon, but in his wildest dreams, he was the successful CEO of a number of enterprises. The guy lacked no ideas for his own whiskey-tasting society, video games, and other predictable "guy in his early thirties" projects. What he lacked was the funds, but he knew that anything could be a commodity in the world of capitalism, including a human life. To raise the capital he needed, Merril decided to offer his own self on the stock market. He divided himself into 100,000 shares, each pegged at $1, and put them up for sale.
By purchasing a piece of him, his shareholders -- mostly personal friends and family -- bought the right to vote on decisions in his day-to-day life on a website Merril created. The questions shareholders could upvote or downvote ranged from how long he should sleep on a given night to whether or not he should get a vasectomy, though you'd think that decision would be the sole domain of whomever bought the dick innards. It went bad in exactly the way you think it did, considering that he had a girlfriend at the time (should have shelled out for the dickards, sweetie). But hey, at least he made ... $929? The invisible hand does it again!
"Famous Hungarian Train" sounds like a shitty Leonard Cohen cover band, but there really is one. The route from the city of Debrecen to the town of Mateszalka is a legend among locals, not for being haunted or anything cool like that but for being so damn slow. It only covers a distance of about 50 miles, but it takes almost two hours to do it. People joked that they could go faster on their own two feet. So one guy did.
A member of a group called MateszalkaLeaks dressed up as a snail before they were filmed casually jogging alongside the slow-paced train, easily beating it.
Silly as their feat might have looked, it did resonate. As the video got out and wrangled up some like-minded protesters around the fact that a train outraced by a guy in a snail suit is better off at the dump unless fixed, the authorities promised they'd look into repairing the portions of the tracks blamed for slowing down the train. Only time will tell if the secretly haunted track takes its own revenge.
According to Ivory Washington of Des Moines, Iowa, people mind their own business too much. To test this theory, he decided in 2019 to build a bomb in broad daylight in a public area of a suburb of Des Moines. For perhaps the first time in history, someone was disappointed that no one called the police on them, so he went downtown, walked into a sushi restaurant, sat down at a table, and did the same thing.
Again, nobody paid much attention to him, probably because he was acting weird and we've been taught that it's impolite to gawk at weirdos. In fact, that's exactly how the restaurant's patrons said he was acting. The manager noticed that he was moving from table to table and plugging something into the power outlets now and then but thought he was just charging his phone, which would be the normal thing for a customer in a restaurant to be doing with the power outlets.
Frustrated by the fact that the people of Des Moines relentlessly assumed the best of him, Washington eventually called 911 himself to report that *someone* was building a fake bomb in the restaurant and that someone was him. Fortunately, for the first time in this story, police didn't do the reasonable thing and dismiss this fake-bomb self-snitch, because when they got there, they discovered that the bomb was indeed very real and could have been easily accidentally detonated, likely killing everyone within 10 feet of it. Washington finally got what he wanted, which was apparently "charged with building a bomb."
Top image: Braden Collum/Unsplash