The Trojans and the horse. The three pigs and the big bad wolf. Plaxico Burress and guns.
Life is full of cautionary tales both real and imaginary, and they're here for a purpose: to save you from swords, animals and moral decay. We can learn from them and flourish, or ignore them and die screaming in the woods.
I, for one, prefer to take notes when life gives me lessons. I also like humorous, Darwinian lessons more than the stabby, tragic kind—which brings us to today's subject of funny cautionary tales.
Not all important lessons are matters of life and death. Some are hilarious, and you should enjoy every goofy moment as they unfold.
After all, the best way to learn the importance of shutting your mouth is watching a goalie dislocate his jaw while shouting. Yup. That happened. Let's talk about it.
Alex Stepney Dislocates Jaw Yelling at Team
Bob Dear/Associated Press
This virtue gets swept under the rug often in our "make your voice heard" age of public dissent, but sometimes it's best to just keep your fat mouth closed.
Manchester United goalie Alex Stepney could've benefited from this wisdom in 1975 when he dislocated his jaw while screaming at his own teammates. His jaw had been inflamed earlier in the match by an opponent's shoulder, and the added stress of his constant yammering managed to unhinge it completely.
Lesson: Check yourself before you wreck your mouth.
Kicker and Punter Burn Themselves with Fondue
Doug Benc/Getty Images
There is no injury more punter-y than a freak, fondue set accident.
Jacksonville Jaguars punter Chris Hanson and kicker Jaret Holmes were having a private dinner party in 2002 when a vat of scorching hot cheese fell on their legs and arms. Hanson and his wife were attempting to move a fondue pot when the object slipped out of their hands and hit the tile floor like a burning cheddar bomb.
Hanson received first- and second-degree burns on his hands and feet—which hurts and is awful. On the flip side, cheese-related injuries such as this aren't exactly unavoidable.
Lesson: Never trust the voodoo that fondue do.
Leon Lett Celebrates Too Early
What do you think Leon Lett is doing right now?
My first guess would be "McRibbing." Second guess would also be McRibbing. And I would be wrong.
The former Dallas Cowboys linemen known the league over for getting stripped at the goal line during Super Bowl XXVII is now a string bean. Lett has lost the equivalent of a baby calf in weight and now works as a defensive line coach with his former team.
As for his cautionary tale, Lett's fumble against the Bills was a clinic in not counting eggs, if you will.
Lesson: No one likes a braggart. Or the Cowboys.
Metta World Peace Gets Abducted
Never trust anyone and always take an Uber.
These are the lessons Metta World Peace taught us when he unwittingly stepped into a limo for a quick, terrible ride with Jimmy Kimmel's cousin Sal.
Kimmel teamed up with Peace's former teammate Amar'e Stoudemire this June for a simple but effective ploy involving a fake charity event and a limo ride from hell. Wearing a disguise, Cousin Sal picked up the former New York Knicks forward and proceeded to break every rule in the chaffeur's handbook. He asked questions, told bad jokes and essentially caged one of the most volatile human beings to ever don an NBA jersey.
Bear in mind, they did all of this to a guy who had agreed to come out and speak at a charity event in his free time.
Lesson: Never do anything nice for anyone.
Bill Gramatica Injures Himself Celebrating
Ah, yes—the age-old story of Bill (NOT Martin) Gramatica and the celebratory ACL tear.
The worst part about Gramatica's incident, which occurred during a 2001 game against the New York Giants, was the timing. He knocked in a decent kick in the first quarter to put the Cardinals up 3-0.
It wasn't a last-second miracle. Confetti was not raining. Nothing had been won. All that happened was the team lost its overly excited kicker to the second-most pointless self-inflicted injury in NFL history.
Lesson: Act like you've been there before.
Joel Zumaya and His Sore, Rock God Wrist
"For those about to rock, we advise against it."
That's my AC/DC tune for Joel Zumaya, who missed most of the 2006 ALCS with soreness in his right hand due to Guitar Hero-related overuse. The former Detroit Tigers player played the game feverishly, to the point where the team had to ask him to stop destroying himself on a proxy guitar.
Lesson: Moderation in all things, including pretend guitar-playing.
Rasheed Wallace Ejected for Staring
To this day, "Whack! You're out!" remains the high water mark for phrases a referee can use while banishing a player.
That being said, staring isn't the coolest way to get yourself thrown out of the game, as Rasheed Wallace proved during the 2000 NBA Western Conference Finals. The former Portland Trail Blazer mounted a silent protest against referee Ron Garretson with his eyeballs and eventually earned himself a trip to the showers.
So, while keeping silent usually keeps you out of trouble, replacing words with ocular murder daggers isn't a preferable alternative.
Lesson: Lurking never made anyone less conspicuous.
Joey Crawford Ejects Tim Duncan for Laughing
Right or wrong, you have to be aware of and make room for Joey Crawford's swaggering god complex.
The veteran ref has a knack for overreaction and has been known to use his whistle to dish out heavy-handed punishment to those who offend his senses, and his biggest overstep came against the least likely target in Tim Duncan.
The referee allegedly asked the San Antonio Spurs big man if he wanted to fight before ejecting him from a 2007 game, saying Duncan was "mocking" and "laughing" at officials. Crawford was suspended by the league for the rest of the season after for the incident, all the while telling newspapers he would go back and eject Duncan if he had to.
Even in defeat, Crawford is his own judge and jury.
Lesson: Mean and power drunk are no way to go through life.
HS Kicker Gets Ejected for Back Handsprings
It's human nature to be afraid of things that are new and confusing, but this referee went into full rejection mode when a kicker starting flipping backward during a high school football game.
The young man was just engaging in...well, let's just call it an "alternative" form of motion, but the official couldn't allow something of this awesomeness to occur and ejected the player.
Lesson: Creativity can be held against you.
Fan Angers Hockey Gods, Pays for It Dearly
Call it divine intervention. Call it karma. It doesn't really matter.
Whatever forces were at work during this 2001 Blackhawks game, they acted quickly and decisively. Minutes after a fan taunted Steve Sullivan for taking a stick to the face, the universe piled it on in the Blackhawks' favor.
Sullivan scored two goals—which would've been revenge enough. The icing on the cake, however, came when an errant puck flipped out of bounds and caught the offending fan flush in the nose. You can make this stuff up, but no one would believe you.
Lesson: Spirits are real and they hate people who wear dress shirts to sporting events.
On the Twitters.