There’s something about human nature that makes us secretly revel when we discover someone has trumped us in the doing something embarrassing or stupid stakes.
You can’t help but feel a tiny frisson of: “At least I wasn’t that bad,” when you hear a tale of someone’s ineptitude or downright humiliation.
I recently experienced such a feeling while reading the story about the man who finally found his car after forgetting where he’d parked it ... 20 years earlier.
That certainly made me feel better as I’ve lost my car plenty of times – but I’ve always found it in the end.
Forget “Dude, where’s my car”, this particular dude reported his car as stolen when he couldn’t find it.
But now 20 years on, it emerged the dopey 76-year-old had merely forgotten where he left it. Unfortunately, the car no longer worked so ended up at the scrap yard.
Forgetting where you parked your car – although maybe not for 20 years – is an embarrassing scenario many of us are familiar with.
Sometimes it’s because you’re rushed and frazzled when parking it. Or if you’re in an unfamiliar place, your sense of direction can get jumbled up.
Often, it can just be the car park you parked in is so vast that if you didn’t take in a landmark or the numbered parking bay, you’re left feeling at a total loss while gazing across a sea of cars.
I’ve “lost” my car on a number of occasions. While in my final year of university at Preston, I used to go to Wigan for my contact lens appointments.
When attending one particular check-up, I parked my car in a multi-storey car park. When I returned to find my car, not only could I not remember what level I’d parked on, I couldn’t even recall which particular multi-storey car park.
I finally located it hours later after trudging up and down many stairs – I knew I should have gone to Specsavers...
Then when our twins were younger, I left them at home with Hubby while I went to do some late night Christmas shopping.
To my shock, as I returned with bulging bags, my car was nowhere to be seen. Spotting a couple of policemen, I ran up to them and wildly said: “Someone’s stolen my car!”
The two bobbies were very helpful but I was starting to get annoyed by some of their inane suggestions such as maybe my husband had come down and driven my car home.
“Why on earth would he do that?” I asked crossly. “And he wouldn’t leave the children at home.”
But while I was talking to them, realisation dawned that I’d actually parked my car down a different side street – so I subtly said: “Oh it’s okay” and slunk away.
However, one of my colleagues had me howling with laughter as she told how she indignantly posted on Facebook telling her friends someone had stolen her car from a car park and instructed them to look out for a silver Toyota Yaris with her registration and to jump on the bonnet and make a scene if they saw it.
She reported the theft to police – but a few hours later, she sheepishly posted: “Call off the hunt, I found it.. it wasn’t a scumbag. I just forgot where I parked it - euh!”