The phone can connect anyone to anything at a moment’s notice, making it responsible for more painful mistakes than alcohol and red and blue wires combined. Human beings can’t be trusted with each other at the best of times and so giving everyone access to everything is the conversational equivalent of the end of a Tarantino movie: a lot of very angry people and imminent pain.
We’ve found three of the worst mistakes ever made with phones.
1. Autocorrecting SCHOOL to LOCKDOWN
West Hall high school just learned an important lesson in teaching kids how to spell. Which is worrying, because they’re meant to be teaching the lessons, and that’s one they should already know. When one student texted “gunna be at west hall today” the computer intelligently decided that it had to fix that, though the way it sent a “gunman” instead of “gunna” was probably an overreaction. The student then proved that the school really needs to up their teaching game by sending the text to the wrong number, and when an anonymous stranger receives a text like that it’s actually faster than dialling the police yourself.
The school was sent into lockdown, because American schools now have more advanced safety procedures than American airlines, and remained so for a day while police searched for what appeared to be the world’s quietest and least-attention seeking armed lunatic. Authorities were lauded for thinking of safety first, because nothing is better for kids than terrifying them with imaginary attackers for a day and teaching them that most urgent warnings from figures of authority are actually meaningless.
2. An Olympian Error
If you were at the Olympics you’d probably go to the events. If you were at the Olympics as a contestant, you’d probably go to your event as early as you could without actually hitting people in an earlier event. That’s because you’re not an idiot. Patrick Beckert was not an idiot. He either decided the Winter Olympics didn’t really count, a strange thought for a speed skater, or thought that “substitute” meant “free holiday”, because when officials tried to announce that his impossible dream of competing on the golden stage had come true, he wasn’t there. And had switched his phone off.
We’ve all missed calls, but we’ve never missed our calling in life. Some tried to vindicate Patrick by saying how unlikely it was he would be called, (he was fourth choice in a list of four), but that only compounds the incredible good fortune he squandered by not doing his job. And that’s still us being incredibly generous, by calling speed skating a “job”.
3. Wrong Number Shooting
Wrong numbers are incredibly annoying. If you’re a total sociopath. Most of us just say “wrong number” and hang up, blocking it if the sausage-fingered idiot dials again. That’s because we have other things in our lives, and consider them worth more than being shot over a misdial. You can see where this is going.
Two Georgia men were accidentally connected by a wrong number, and whoever one of them was trying to call should consider themselves grateful he never got through. A series of somehow hostile texts elevated to phone calls, then agreeing to meet in parking lot, where things went so exactly like you’d expect things to go when two angry idiots meet - one of them was shot, and the other’s car was damaged. We’d normally report the gunshot wound as more serious. But in this case the car would at least have been useful to other people.