Brazilian police reported last week that a prisoner spent 5 years digging an escape tunnel that ended up in the middle of the guards’ office. He literally emerged from a hole in a wall into the hands of the guards.

After all that effort, he just went from one pickle to another.

Kind of sounds like all of us in 2022.

Despite our best efforts to tackle the big problems — inflation, crime, climate change, hunger — we ultimately just managed to get ourselves into more pickles. So here we are, entering the new year with a big mess on our hands, a deadlocked Congress, and the vast majority of Americans believing we’re heading in the wrong direction.

But one thing remained steady throughout all the turmoil of 2022 — weird and wacky news stories. I love these stories. They’re not only the perfect distraction from the seriousness of life, but they re-affirm for us that, at least compared to some people, our lives and the people around us are actually quite normal.

Nu?Detroit published lots of important work this past year. Hopefully, you found our content educational and thought-provoking. But, as a public service to our readers, we bring you a sampling of some of the weird and wacky stuff this last year that might give you a much-needed chuckle. You will not find it educational or thought-provoking, but it may just be the funniest 2 minutes of your day:

Procreation Litigation. An Indian couple is suing their son and daughter-in-law for not giving them a grandchild. They claim they invested $650,000 on their son’s educational and living expenses and now he and his wife have one year to either have a baby or repay that money.

You might think this would cause a lifetime rift between them, but I’m guessing that, if there’s ever a baby, all will be forgiven the first time the parents need a babysitter.

How Did This Get Here? Police in Clearwater, Florida, stopped a driver at 4:00 am because his lights weren’t on. Things quickly escalated when they suspected the driver was intoxicated and smoking pot. Upon his arrest and booking at the station, the cops performed a strip search and found cocaine and methamphetamine wrapped around the man’s penis. The man denied the drugs were his.

No word yet on the search for the third party responsible for wrapping drugs around the penis of this innocent man.

A Dream Job About Nothing. A 38 year old Japanese man is literally paid to do nothing. “Basically, I rent myself out. My job is to be wherever my clients want me to be and to do nothing in particular." He’s been hired over 4,000 times, doing things like waving through a window at a stranger, playing on a seesaw or sitting at a restaurant in silence with a client.

I know a lot of guys who would be perfect for a job like that. Actually, come to think of it, a few of them would probably screw it up.

Three’s a Doll. An English woman was so unhappy with her husband’s heightened libido that she had a sex doll made that looked exactly like her. “It was the best decision and has definitely improved our sex life,” she says. “If I’m not in the mood he’s got Dee [their name for her].” It didn’t take long for Dee to become more than just a bedroom toy. Soon, Dee became a TV-watching companion and started accompanying them on car rides. “We’d never put her away in a cupboard. She has had a positive impact on us as a couple...

If anything, she’s brought us closer together.”

Husband and wife report that they couldn’t be happier with Dee. Dee has yet to offer any public comments. She’s probably just content that in between ‘working’ she gets to watch TV and go on car rides.

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday. A two-headed tortoise named Janus just celebrated his 25th birthday. Janus has two hearts, two lungs — and apparently two personalities. According to one of his caretakers, Janus’ dual personalities sometimes lead to conflicts between the two heads. One is curious and strong-willed, while the other is passive and loves to eat. Perhaps this is the year the latter will finally come out of his shell.

You Think They’ll Notice? U.S. Customs agents recently discovered that a man traveling on a bus at the Canadian border was smuggling three Burmese pythons in his pants. Burmese pythons are among the largest snakes in the world and their importation into the U.S. is strictly regulated. The man now faces federal felony charges with a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The arresting officer denies that she said to the man, “Is that three pythons in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”

A Cluckin Bad Idea. We all know that chicken soup and NyQuil are popular treatments for the common cold. Recently, a number of Tik Tok videos challenged young people to combine the two by cooking chicken in NyQuil. The videos — called “the sleepy chicken challenge” — went viral as many people thought the idea sounded brilliant. Finally, the FDA felt compelled to weigh in, writing “The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is. But it could also be very unsafe. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs.”

No word yet on whether the young people who took the sleepy chicken challenge are heeding the FDA warning — or cooking the chicken in something besides NyQuil — like Robitussin, perhaps.

I’m (Still) Lovin’ It. An Illinois couple were recently doing renovations on their home. Behind a wall they discovered a 1950 bag from McDonalds with 2 unwrapped hamburgers and a half-eaten order of French fries. They were shocked at how intact the food appeared, so they sat down and ate it and it tasted fresh and delicious (ok, that last part wasn’t true but you get the point).

Between non-stop political news, economic troubles and global conflicts, the news in 2023 is bound to be rough and tumble. I’m sure I’ll follow my share of it, but I’ll also keep one eye on the sublime and ridiculous stories. That’s where the laughs are — and I’m sure we’re going to need them.

Plus I want to know how that turtle is getting along with itself.