Sometimes experts are the best people for the job, but sometimes, absolutely clueless people can solve problems, too. Hence the common saying: “If it’s stupid and it works, it’s not stupid.”
A Reddit user asked the site for examples of this phenomenon in action. Some of the responses are impressively stupid indeed, but hey, they all worked.
1. Fixing a car with a soda can.
“My dad fixing my car muffler with a soda can. I forgot about it until just now and I sold that car 5yrs ago. […]
He’s a welder and he’s known for fixing everything with duct tape-for real, for years our pants were hemmed with duct tape.
Whatever he did, it ran for years without a problem before I sold it. Looking at other comments, I’m thinking he either clamped it or welded it.”
2. Fixing a car with a penny.
“As college student had a shitty car.
Wouldn’t crank and found the copper tab from the solenoid to the starter had broke, leaving a gap. Thought “copper…..pennies is copper” so jammed a penny in the gap and it started right up.
For months I kept a cup holder full of pennies so I could crank the car.”
3. Fixing the Mars Rover with a shovel.
“They just sent an order for a rover on Mars to hit itself with a shovel. It worked.
4. Fixing a server with a toy clown.
“Many moons ago we had a server that needed to be rebooted manually because the OS was really fucked. At 20:00 daily. Couldn’t reinstall or fix because it had a software with a license that could be lost if reinstalled. And couldn’t be reapplied because the maker had long ago left the market and no support or contact.
So our option was to be there daily at 20:00 or find out something.
We set up a toy of a fighting clown with a metal bar attached to its fist to trigger daily at 20:00. It was triggered with an integrated circuit with a timer. At 20:00 the toy was powered on, launching its fist with the attached bar against the server’s power on/power off button. First punch powered it off. At 20:10 it was triggered again, powering on the server.
We had this running for 6 months until we were able to reverse engineer the software’s functionalities and our coder made a program fully compatible with some of our scripting-foo.”
5. Using a laundry service to move.
“A friend of mine was about to move to a new apartment. Neither new nor old apartment had a washing machine and it was a trek to the coin-op laundry.
They called up a local laundry service. The service came to the old apartment and picked up almost every bit of clothing, bedding, towels, etc they owned. The service washed, dried and folded it all. And delivered it back again…. To the NEW address!!!
Friend saved a bunch of effort moving it all, a ton of time doing the laundry and the total cost of the service wasn’t much more than the cost of all the quarters for the coin-op machines and the detergent. And it made moving so much less stressful too.
This was in a big city with a lot of these laundry services. So YMMV. But it was beautiful and brilliant.”
6. Keeping track of the remote with a spatula.
“We kept losing our stupid little Apple TV remote in the cushions of our living room furniture so I took a small rubber spatula and duct taped it to the remote.
Haven’t lost it since.”
7. Eating kids vitamins.
“I struggled for years with anemia no one could find the cause for. Kept getting really sick, and every iron supplement caused severe side effects. (Extreme constipation and gi bleeds)
After YEARS of trying to figure it out, the best solution was to take two children’s Flintstones with Iron. Works perfectly. After so many attempts at medical intervention about it, it turns out the thing that fixed it was a couple cheap kids vitamins that can be found at any drugstore.”
8. Preventing crimes with empty cars.
“In the Florida keys, they have old cop cars on the side of the road to prevent speeding. Most of them don’t have cops inside them, or engines for that matter.
One of them actually had a mannequin dressed as a cop inside.”
9. Preventing crimes with fake cameras.
“Fake security cameras for a fraction of the cost of real security cameras but with a huge decrease in theft or vandalism.”
10. Fixing a toilet with a wine cork.
“I’ve got a sailboat, and we switched out the conventional style head (toilet) that had a holding tank to a composting head that’s like a fancy bucket that makes dirt. We had removed the holding tank, and were out sailing, when I hear my dad call for help down below.
It turns out that when we have heavy wind coming over the left side of the boat, the vent for our holding tank goes underwater, and it was just letting in lots of water. Dad’s there plugging it with his finger, but we need something to stop it up so he can get back above deck so we can actually sail.
Fortunately, we had drank some wine aboard a few nights prior, and the cork was still on the corkscrew. It fit the hole perfectly, and we figured “that’s good enough to get us back home so we can make a proper repair.”
That was 3 years ago, the cork’s still working great!”
11. Play football like a child at recess.
“In American football, there’s an offensive method/system called the “Run ‘n’ Shoot.” It was inspired by a high school football coach watching younger kids play football at recess. He watched them as they simply ran everywhere, just trying to get open, with no set routes (the pattern or path a receiver runs to catch a pass). Normally, routes are very rigid and coached with a lot of detail. He noticed that whoever was playing QB would often be running side to side to get away from the other kids chasing him, then would throw the ball when he found someone open. Another observation is that before the play began, kids would line up all over the yard, side to side, to get as open as possible. He also noticed that the kids were having a lot of fun doing it!
He wanted to have an offense that was fun for his players…so he built an offense based on spreading his players across the field, and having one or more players running “routes on the fly,” where a player would have anywhere from one to potentially four routes they could run after the play began. On almost every snap, his QB would run to the left or the right before throwing the ball, so he could run the ball away from the defense if no one was open.
It fucking worked, and it became one of the most influential pass-first offenses in the game’s history.
TL;DR: An American football coach built an entire offensive system based on observations he made watching a bunch of kids playing football at recess.”
12. Use a tire as a bumper.
“Placing used tires against your garage wall to cushion your front bumper from making potential impact in tight quarters.”
13. Buying 30 bottle openers.
“My friend and I were roommates – single guys. We owned one or two bottle openers and could never find them to open beer bottles, so next time we were at the liquor store we bought about 30 of them for 10c each and literally just threw them all over the apartment.
That way if you were looking for one, there was always one right next to you. It actually worked out so fucking perfectly I can’t even describe it in words to make you understand and to this day even thinking about it relieves me of stress.
There is something about being handed a beer and knowing there is a bottle opener within 2ft of you no matter where you are in the apartment that is calming on a deep emotional level.”
Lesson learned: no matter how stupid it sounds, it’s worth a try. It might just turn into the best solution ever.
What do you think? Got any “so stupid, but it worked” stories?
Share them in the comments!