Best comments evar, vol. I

Ransom Riggs

Know what makes mental_floss a great blog? You commenters out there! No joke: these posts take on a life of their own when the comments start flowing. Case in point, a simple post I did a few months back about strange gravestones, where I presented four or five examples of such, flowered into a veritable cornucopia of shared experience when more than 120 people chimed in with stories about their own strange gravestone sightings. We writers love it! So in honor of the awesomeness (and sometimes, the shocking candidness) of our commenters, I'm reposting some of the best comments I've gotten.

In response to a recent post about lower intestinal distress, commenter Moon responded with this hilarious anecdote:

On a business trip to a Central American country, we went on an boat excursion that included a snorkeling stop. I noticed that we had anchored close to a city, but did not think much of it. I swam around for a while and dove down to get a closer look at some fish. As I was ascending, someone kicked the snorkel out of my mouth and I swallowed a large mouthful of water. As we were taking the bus to the airport the next day, I started feeling a little ill. By the time we got to the terminal, I needed to go. So I went. About a half hour later, again. Half an hour later, again. By this time, I was raw and I was in trouble. However, the fun continued. I was dehydrated, so I had to drink. If I drank was water, a half hour later, out came something very close to water. If it was a soft drink, half an hour later, it was the Pespi poopsie. And I can't even describe the exquisite agony caused by barely processed grapefruit juice making its grand re-entry through an opening that had by then been essentially acid washed and sandpapered.

This pattern continued through a four hour flight, the car ride home, and the rest of the evening. Any and all medicine took the express out of town, so to speak, offering me no relief. I was exhausted. Unfortunately, I fell asleep. One of the benefits of being awake, even if miserable, is that it gives one the ability to sense a need to find a toilet and to take the appropriate steps to control one's functions until properly positioned on said equipment. Sleep deprived me of this ability, with predictable results. This being my first toilet training accident in approximately 37 years, I was appalled and vowed to remain awake and vigilant. This vigilance lasted approximately one hour, at which point I fell asleep and again made boom-boom in my drawers. And twice more that night. My wife slept through all of it. She did not realize what had happened until she discovered the next morning four pairs of freshly washed (and seriously bleached) underwear. Although I feel no moral culpability, to this day, I consider myself diminished in her eyes.

Thanks, Moon, for the best comment evar! But wait, there's more!

THE POST: Should You Wake A Sleepwalker?
We're still getting great sleepwalking stories in response to this post, which went up more than five months ago. Here are a few of my favorites, from commenter Lebetho:

In a famous family story, my grandpa (while sound asleep) went into his parents' bedroom, took out his dad's favorite pajamas from a drawer, went to the kitchen, placed the pjs in a roasting pan, put them in the oven, and turned it on. My great-grandma watched the whole procedure just to see what he would do next, but she woke him up before he managed to start a fire.

... from commenter Kare:

I have walked in my sleep since I was two. Once I was found running around on the roof of our house with our dog Buzz keeping me from jumping off the roof. After that my Mom used to to tie me to my crib by the ankle with pantyhose (per Doc's orders).

... from Mary:

One night as my husband and I sat watching TV, we heard one of the kids walking around upstairs. I went to the stairs to see who it was just in time to see my young son begin to pee through the stairway spindles. He really had to go and there was nothing I could do to stop him. Another time, we heard him get up and this time we ran upstairs - just in case. We were too late. He had opened the door of my nightstand and was standing there going full blast all over its contents. Needless to say, we started waking him up for a trip to the bathroom every night.

... from sleep-shopper Cynthia:

The most dangerous thing I ever did was "sleep shop" on Amazon once. I was quite surprised when I got e mail notification that I had placed an order at 3:15am. I liked what I had ordered in my sleep though and decided to not cancel the order. I did turn the "one touch shopping" option off on my Amazon profile however.

... and finally, a creepy one from Lisa:

When my brother was about 9 or 10, he got up one night, got my dad and took him downstairs to our bathroom. Mike then proceeded to sit down and explain to Dad that he needed to build a room just like this because Dad was going to die soon and Mike wanted a place to come and visit him. He went on and on about it, refusing to let Dad take him back to bed unti he promised to build the room. The next morning Mike didn't remember any of it, but Dad said it had made him really nervous.

THE POST: How Do Your Memories Smell?
In response to a post about how memory and your sense of smell are inexorably linked, and how the loss of your sense of smell can thus be an emotional blow, I got several stories about people who'd lost their senses of smell or knew people who had. Apparently, there's a lot of ways to lose it, including, according to commenter gibsontor:

Someone sucker punched my father as he was walking down the street with my mother, and when he hit his head on the pavement he permanently lost almost all of his sense of smell. For the last 25 years he's been dumping tons of pepper on almost everything. When I was five, he made me lunch, and I refused to drink my milk, even though I'd asked for it. I told him it tasted funny, but he said it was fine, and wouldn't let me leave the table until I drank it. I refused, and sat there until my mother got home and tried it, and told my dad it had gone very sour. Now that I think about it, that might be why he never drinks milk"¦

THE POST: 129 Cats Just Wasn't Enough
This post about a Siberian woman who owns 130 cats sparked a discussion about animal hoarding. Turns out lots of people have known or come into contact with hoarders, which seems universally to be a sad experience, but the strangest hoarding story comes from Doc:

Here in Aiken Cty, SC we've had a guy on the news a few times recently - has 50 dogs and 150 goats on a few acres on the edge of town. Claims the dogs are for "protection". Has a tendency to walk some of his dogs on the dirt road in front of his place wearing nothing but his underwear and a .45 Long Colt. Has been known to point aforesaid Colt at passers-by and his neighbors, one of whom took umbrage at this display and shot one of the dogs, then the owner. Dog died. Owner lived, although with a multitude of rather interesting scars to his face where he took a load of birdshot at fairly close range. Local Sheriff is "investigating". No charges filed so far, but I haven't seen today's local news"¦

THE POST: It Could Happen to You: Caffeine Shock
Could and did, according to many a commenter, like latte-happy commenter Tara:

I just came off from a 14 hour night shift at work, and I needed to stay up the rest of the day due to my cousin being in town, so I decided to drink some caffeine and stay up. At first I drank 2 Cafe Lattes. Then I still felt sleepy so I drank 2 double shot drinks from Starbucks. A couple of hours later I drank 2 shots of espresso. About 4 hours later, after being up for a little over 24 hours, and being about an hour away from home, I drank a 24 ounce Pepsi to keep me up so I could "safely" drive home. When I got home I had been up about 26-27 hours. When I tried to calm down and go to bed I started shaking real bad. Then it started being EXTREMELY difficult to breathe. My legs were real weak, so I almost fell when I tried to get out of bed, but I managed to make it to my hallway before I couldn't go any further. I sat down in my hallway and started to cry hysterically for no reason at all, and I couldn't stop. My heart was also palpitating. I was convinced I was going to die right there in my hallway. So, convinced I was going to die anyway, I decided to drag myself to the kitchen and take 2 Tylenol PM's just to see what it did. About 15-20 minutes later I was much more calm, so I went and laid down in bed and fell asleep in less than 20 minutes, woke up the next morning, and was fine. Needless to say I do NOT drink caffeine as much as I use to. I use to drink quite a bit when I worked on nights. After that I tried to quit completely, but that didn't last too long. I'm starting to drink a bit much again. Every time I get carried away with coffee, or tea, I always think of that night.

A cautionary tale for all of us. (I type as I sip espresso.)

Thanks for all your great comments! There's so much more to share, which I'll be doing more of over the coming weeks. Keep 'em coming!