Slapstick Mishaps That Ensued From Absentmindedness

In a famous story from Douglas Adams’ book So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, the protagonist Arthur recounts a time he sat down at a table to enjoy a coffee, newspaper, and packet of biscuits he’d recently purchased at a shop. To his horror, a man sitting across from him grabbed the packet of biscuits, tore it open, and started eating them. Instead of saying anything, Arthur passive-aggressively reached into the packet and took what was rightfully his, hoping the man would get the message. But the man continued eating the biscuits, and the two of them shared the whole packet until it was gone. The man got up and walked off, leaving Arthur dumbfounded by the stranger’s audacity. But indignation quickly turned to humiliation once Arthur picked up his newspaper and found his unopened packet of biscuits sitting underneath.

Adams’ story is the perfect illustration of how we humans have a talent for getting lost in our own little delusions, so much so that we often find ourselves in some pretty embarrassing situations. Absentmindedness mixed with unwarranted self-righteousness is a recipe for humiliation. Yesterday, Twitter user @Sonic_Screwup admitted that they’d recently grabbed a stranger’s fried chicken out of his hands thinking they were free samples, a hilariously cringey confession that prompted hundreds of people to recount their own mortifying moments of absentminded stupidity. The thread is full of anecdotes reminiscent of Adams’ biscuit story from So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. We’ve picked out our favorites from the thread. 

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