Balls are Always Dropping (But Sometimes with Disastrous Results)


It’s been a month since the most famous of all balls dropped—The Times Square Ball. But balls, well, they’re always dropping. And unlike New Year’s Eve—where, you know, a literal giant orb drops from the tip of Times Tower as the seconds count down to the new year—the most memorable instances are more of the figurative variety. As in, majorly screwing up because you didn’t do your due diligence.

But rest assured if you’ve ever dropped the ball, because there’s no way you could have blundered as badly as the ball-droppers listed below.

Blowout: For legendary drummer and crazy person Keith Moon of the English rock band the Who, bigger was always better. Except for the time he allegedly paid a roadie to put gunpowder in his bass drum. Unfortunately for Moon, the roadie put in a little too much—ten times the amount Moon typically used for his makeshift pyrotechnics—causing a massive explosion. Moon ended up stuck with some shrapnel, lead guitarist Pete Townshend was left partially deaf, and one roadie sheepishly ducked out of the building as fast as he could.

Rotten Apple: Losing your phone is the worst. Losing an iPhone prototype, the security of which you’ve staked your career on, is worse. That’s precisely what happened to an unfortunate Apple software engineer who left the not-yet-released iPhone 4 at a San Francisco beer garden in 2010. Worse yet, the lost phone found its way into the hands of the last people Apple would want cracking the thing open—tech bloggers at Gizmodo. Like clockwork, their subsequent “iPhone 4 exclusive” broke the blogosphere, spoiling Steve Jobs’ big reveal.

Marks, Set, Sleep: 800 meter runner Siegfried Willem “Wim” Esajas was to be Suriname’s first ever Olympian at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. That is, until he slept through the event after being given the wrong starting time by the head of Suriname’s Olympic delegation, Fred Glans, a mistake that left the entirety of Suriname waiting an additional eight whole years to watch one of their own participate in the Olympic Games.

Metric Mix-up: Sometimes teamwork doesn’t make the dreamwork. At least, not when NASA and Lockheed Martin collaborate to make a state-of-the-art satellite. During the orbiter’s 1999 conception, NASA’s engineers worked on the metric system while Lockheed’s worked on the US Imperial system (i.e. inches, feet and miles), an incredibly important detail that went inexplicably unnoticed. That is, until the spacecraft’s navigation system malfunctioned post-launch, sending the $125 million dollar craft hurtling into deep space.

Boo Boo Boo: Sometimes when you start a business you’ve got to pinch a few pennies. Which is exactly what entrepreneur Lewis Teague was attempting to do when he moved a cemetery to build the Cuesta Verde housing development. What he didn’t take into account, though, is that a ghost, angered that Teague left the bodies when he moved that cemetery, would steal one of his employee’s daughters through a TV and hold her hostage in the spirit world. Welp, that’s exactly what happened—and all because he only moved the headstones. HE ONLY MOVED THE HEADSTONES!