Work sucks. It’s boring, it’s soul-killing, and it really cuts into your “me time.” Work also limits our chances of accomplishing something really great. Like becoming famous, releasing a number one single, or travelling the world. Unless of course you’re one of these 10 people, who accomplished all that and more by doing literally nothing.
10. Guy is Sent for Random Meeting in DC, Meets Obama
Usually if you want a chance to meet the President, you either have to be a high-ranking government official, an adorable child, or a childish government official. Okay, so the President travels the country meeting people all the time. But if you wanted to actually sit down and have a conversation with the dude, you usually need to be pretty important. Or, you could just turn up to a random company meeting, like one unnamed low-level CAD specialist from a Utah based company did.
Apparently, the unnamed man got to sit in a roundtable meeting with Barack Obama after his company received a letter inviting a representative to hear a speech given by the Commander in Chief. Thinking the White House just wanted a seat-filler, they dutifully sent a random, low-level employee. They didn’t realize the President actually wanted to speak to the representative personally. As a result, some randomer from the IT department got to chill with the President of the United States for the entire day, and got paid for it. A story that will no doubt win him countless bar bets in the future.
9. Guy Enters Wrong Poker Tournament, Wins
Depending on who you ask, poker is either a game that requires cast iron will and Rain Man levels of mental skill, or a game of luck decided by who has the biggest…um, “pair.” If you’re Christian Pham, however, it’s simply a game that requires turning up on the day.
In 2015, Pham rolled into Vegas hoping to sign up for a no-limits Texas Hold ’em tournament. Instead, he accidentally signed up to play no-limit deuce-to-seven draw lowball, against 200 of the best players in the world instead.
Pham didn’t even realize his mistake until he sat down and got dealt the wrong amount of cards. That gave him no time to drop out, or hide under some coats until everything blew over. Inexplicably, despite having no idea how to play the game and having thousands of his own dollars on the line, Pham won. Reportedly, Pham was so clueless he had to resort to asking other people at the table how to play mid-game.
Normally this would have been a death sentence for a weaker, less awesome player. But many of the other people at the table took Pham’s cluelessness as a very convincing bluff. They ended up folding on hands they may have won. Eventually, Pham picked up enough of the game from the opponents he didn’t scare off to sail to an easy victory. For his win, Pham pocketed just over $80,000 and a solid gold bracelet. Meanwhile, we can’t even win a game of Overwatch.
8. Graduate Student Turns Up for Interview, Ends Up on BBC News
Unless you’re planning on committing an act of international terrorism, or are a cat that works for David Cameron, your chances of appearing on a BBC news report any time soon are fairly limited. Which makes sense. The BBC is a sacred institution, committed to the highest standards of journalistic integrity. It’s not like they would just throw anyone on air and let them talk for several minutes about a topic they don’t understand. Except for that one time they totally did exactly that.
In 2006 a guy named…erm…Guy Goma, turned up at BBC studios to interview for a data cleansing position in the building. At around the same time, the BBC was expecting a technology expert named Guy Kewney to come on air and speak about a recent Apple court case. A BBC receptionist, upon being asked to fetch “Guy” for his interview, mistook Goma, a Congolese business student with a heavy accent, for Kewney, a bearded white guy. The BBC then brought him on air to speak about the case. Goma, thinking he was just taking part in a very unorthodox interview, heroically attempt to answer questions from the anchor before being dragged off air. Kewney himself watched on in confusion from a different reception area down the hall.
Goma’s hilarious expression at realizing he was on live TV, coupled with the fact he actually tried to answer the questions being asked, made him an overnight celebrity in the UK. He landed a number of additional TV appearances, including another interview with the BBC. As for the interview he was actually meant to be attending that day, he didn’t get the job because he turned up late. Figures.
7. Steven Seagal Became an Action Star Because He’s Boring
Steven Seagal, for our younger readers, is a bloated, ham-filled ponytail with the acting range of a stock photo frozen in carbonite. Despite having no charisma, screen presence, or redeeming qualities as an actor whatsoever, Seagal was mysteriously considered to be a bankable action star throughout the ’80s and ’90s. He appeared in dozens of movies that went straight to DVD faster than a Land Before Time sequel.
Seagal’s unprecedented success, in spite of being as interesting to watch emote as a sloth having a prostate exam, has led to questions on how he ever got into showbiz in the first place. As it turns out, Seagal may only be famous because of a bet.
Specifically, a bet made by Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz. Ovitz once boasted that he could make even the most objectively, off-puttingly vanilla, and uncharismatic everyman in the world into a celebrity. Now, there’s no definite proof that Ovitz made Seagal famous to win this bet. But it’s worth noting that literally from the first moment he became a Hollywood star, the press have made it clear that Seagal is famous solely because Ovitz went above and beyond what you’d expect from an agent. That’s caused many to assume that he did indeed do it to prove how great an agent he was. After all, the only connection either of them had prior to Seagal’s movie career is that Steven occasionally taught Ovitz how to apply a wrist lock. Speaking of unlikely movie star fame…
6. Woman Buys a Cat, Becomes a Movie Star’s Manager
Managing a movie star generally requires an intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of Hollywood. You need the ability to dodge a cellphone being thrown in a fit of anger, and a list of contacts in the industry longer than a giraffe’s scarf. For Tabatha Bundesen, all she had to do was buy a perpetually angry looking cat named Tardar Sauce. Or, as she’s known on the internet, Grumpy Cat.
Because the world isn’t fair, as a result of Tardar Sauce’s popularity, Tabatha has been interviewed by the likes of the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine. She’s gained backstage access to events like WWE Monday Night Raw, who inexplicably wanted the cat to appear as a guest star. Seemingly in a bid to have the government introduce a Coogan Act for animals, Tabatha makes her cat pose for photos with the (paying) public on occasion. She also travels the country, making it “sign” copies of the book it “wrote.”
In addition to this, the cat has had a motion picture made about it, as well as having its likeness committed to wax in the world-famous Madame Tussauds. All profits have been split between Tabatha, her brother (who takes the photos and posts them on Instagram), and the cat’s agent. Yes, this cat has an agent and an official photographer. Owning a cat requires just an insane amount of time and effort, of course. They do all of that laying around and being lazy. So naturally, Tabatha had to quit her job at Red Lobster to dedicate her time to taking care of Tardar Sauce and counting her money.
5. Man Writes Single Letter, Gets Thousands of Dollars
The name Dave Rhodes likely means little to the majority of people reading this. But in certain circles, he’d be considered something of a legend. In short, Rhodes wrote the first known email chain letters begging for money, infamously titled “MAKE.MONEY.FAST”.
The email basically asked the receiver to mail a single dollar to every person on a given list of names, before adding their own name to the bottom. They’d delete the name at the top, and forward the updated list to everyone they knew. Of course, the whole thing was a scam. This being the internet, that didn’t stop it from spreading like an oil slick in a pool with a wave machine. Supposedly it netted everyone on the original list thousands of dollars, including a mysterious individual identified as Dave Rhodes. The original writer of the email.
But here’s the best part: nobody knows who this mysterious “Dave” is. Which is probably a good thing, since the scam is like 10 different kinds of illegal. As a result, we have no idea how much Dave (if that’s even if his real name) netted himself from the scam. But we do know that he will live on forever in infamy as the original baller of the chain email scam. Which is something, we guess.
4. Kid Eats Sand, Gets Kidney Transplant for Dad
Kids are idiots. As a byproduct of living in an age where everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times, all of the stupid crap kids do can be captured and shared online. Forever crystalizing their most embarrassing moments in a medium that will exist forever. Making sure they will never escape public mockery. Oh, what a beautiful world we live in.
Sammy Griner’s mother, Laney, probably wasn’t thinking about that when she took a photo of him eating a handful of sand as a baby. Nor was she probably thinking about the long-term consequences for her son’s life when the image became the basis of one of the most popular and enduring internet memes. So, she decided to license the photo for financial gain. Even after revealing in interviews that her son is embarrassed by the fact millions of strangers know what he looks like, Laney heroically decided to keep profiting from the picture because if she didn’t someone else might.
In 2015, Laney decided to use her son’s internet fame to raise awareness of a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Griner’s father. He has been suffering from kidney failure since before Sammy was born. Thanks almost entirely to Griner’s position as “Success Kid,” the campaign was, well, a success. It raised nearly $100,000 towards surgery and after care costs. While Griner’s father has yet to find a kidney donor, thanks to his son deciding to eat a handful of sand at 11 months old, he can rest easy knowing that the cost of the procedure is covered. Meanwhile, thousands of babies around the world continue to do absolutely nothing of note whatsoever, making Griner’s accomplishments all the more impressive.
3. Man Sells Fish, Accidentally Writes Hit Song
In 2012, a Pakistani man working at an East London Fishmongers was asked by his boss to think of something to yell to entice customers. After careful consideration, Muhammad Shahid Nazir wrote an offensively catchy song he simply dubbed “One Pound Fish.” The song proved so popular, people visited the stand just to hear Nazir sing it. Eventually, it was filmed and put on YouTube.
The resulting video was a viral hit. Following its success Nazir, even auditioned for the British version of The X-Factor. Nazir was told point blank by the judges that he had no future as a singer. Warner Records, however, disagreed. They gave Nazir a recording contract and put out an “O-fish-al” music video for the song. The dance version ended up charting at #28 on the official UK singles chart, #4 in the official Dance Charts, and #1 in the UK Asian Chart. The song was so popular that at one point it was even a serious contender for the 2012 UK Christmas #1. It was narrowly edged by the winner of the X-Factor. You know, the show that said Nazir would never be a serious singer.
But Nazir’s good fortune didn’t end there. After his career took off, the government took a look into his background and found that he’d actually arrived in the UK on a student visa and had been working illegally. Now, you’d think this would be a bad thing. But unknown to Nazir, his song had actually become a smash hit in his native Pakistan. That means he was briefly deported to his home country as a millionaire pop star. Not bad for a guy who just wanted to sell some cheap fish.
2. Woman Gets Free Round the World Trip for Sharing Someone Else’s Name
Travelling around the world is an endeavor that takes months of planning, a serious financial commitment, and an intricate knowledge of what innocent hand gestures would get you slapped in the face. For Elizabeth Gallagher, though, all she had to do was email a guy who’d recently split up with his girlfriend.
You see, in 2014 a guy named Jordan Axani had booked a round the world trip for himself and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Gallagher. Er, a different Elizabeth Gallagher, we mean. Shortly before the trip, Axani’s girlfriend broke up with him. To add to his woes, he found that the ticket in her name was both non-refundable, and couldn’t be changed. So, rather than travel on his own, Axani offered the ticket, for free, to any woman in the world with the same name.
Which is where the first Elizabeth Gallagher we mentioned came in. After speaking briefly on the phone with Axani and explaining how she’d always wanted to travel the world, Axani offered her the ticket. Much to the annoyance of her boyfriend. Because, oh yeah, Gallagher had a boyfriend when she agreed with travel the world with a handsome and rich stranger. Somehow that caused him to feel a little weird about the whole thing. To make things less awkward, many of the hotels the pair were due to stay at upgraded them, so that they could stay in separate rooms. So Gallagher not only got a free round the world trip, but a free first class upgrade on virtually every step of the journey, too.
1. That Freakin’ Chewbacca Mask Lady
We’re not going to preface this one with a clever introduction. There’s no humorous analogue we can make that doesn’t infuriate us. In May 2016, a woman named Candace Payne uploaded a video of herself laughing while wearing a stupid Chewbacca mask. At the time of writing this, she’s made more from that single video than many of us will in a decade.
In addition to worldwide fame and millions of hits on the original video, all told Payne has received about half a million dollars in gifts. That includes college scholarships for her entire family, an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland, and thousands of dollars’ worth of exclusive Star Wars swag. But that isn’t all. In addition to this, Payne has become such a well-known internet celebrity that she’s taken to charging people for her autograph.
To put in perspective how ridiculous this is, at the Dallas Fan Expo she charged individuals $20 for her autograph and a photo. Jack Gleeson and John Cusack were next to her, offering the same thing for free. Just let that sink in. This woman felt comfortable charging people money for a picture, while King Joffrey and Lloyd Dobler didn’t. To be fair, Payne said the money was being donated to charity. A charity people have since pointed out has a nebulous, hard to define goal that makes determining exactly where it’s going difficult. But hey, that video sure was funny, right?