A Vast Ocean Of Ignorance

| Newport, KY, USA | Extra Stupid, History, Pets & Animals

(I’m an aquarium employee. As I’m standing in the coral reef tunnel, a few high school age kids walk up near me, looking up at the fish.)

Me: “Good afternoon, guys! Enjoying the aquarium?”

Teen #1: “Yeah…” *to his friends, pointing at the tank* “Hey, check out the puffer fish!”

Teen #2: “Oh, cool!” *to me* “Does it ever puff up?”

Me: “It’s pretty used to people, and there are no predators in there, so it wouldn’t puff itself up unless maybe a diver were to startle or threaten it in the tank.”

Teen #1: “Can you startle it and make it puff up for us?”

Me: *wondering how or why I would even do that* “No…”

Teen #2: *suddenly forgetting the puffer and pointing instead at the cownose stingrays in the tank* “Hey! Isn’t that what killed Davy Crockett?”

Teen #1, Teen #3, & Me: “What?!”

Teen #2: “Isn’t that what killed Davy Crockett?”

Me: “Uh… no. I’m pretty certain he died at the Alamo in the 19th century…” *thinks for a bit* “Did you mean Steve Irwin?”

Teen #2: “Yeah! Same thing.”

Me: “Not really…”

Can’t Put Her Finger On The Problem

| Milwaukee, WI, USA | Extra Stupid, Pets & Animals, Top

(I work at the touch tank at a local aquarium. We invite guests to dip their fingers in and stroke the aquatic life as they swim past, provided they don’t put in more than two fingers at a time so as not to overwhelm the animals.)

Me: “And over here we have lake sturgeon and blue gill, both native to our own Lake Michigan!”

Guest: “What are these?” *points to starfish tank*

Me: “Those are red knobbed starfish, ma’am. They’re native to the Indian Ocean.”

Guest: “And I can touch them?”

Me: “Absolutely! We only ask that you use two fingers at a time.”

(The guest nods and proceeds to stick her thumb and forefinger into the tank, pull the starfish out, shake the water off it, and place it in her purse.)

Me: “Ma’am! Taking the marine life out of the tank is very dangerous! Please! I’m going to have to ask that you put it back!”

Guest: “But I wanted to take it home.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s a living creature you have there. We can’t just let people reach in and take out our animals!”

Guest: “I only used two fingers!”

Better Keep Him At Arm’s Length

| Philadelphia, PA, USA | Philadelphia, PA, USA | Pets & Animals

(I work at an aquarium. I am petting one of the starfishes in the touch tank when a middle-aged man comes up to the tank. A coworker working the tank is telling us facts about starfishes).

Coworker: “A really interesting aspect about these guys is that if one of their arms was severed, they could grow another one.”

Middle-aged Man: “So, you mean that if I cut off one of its arms it would grow right back?”

Coworker: “Well yes, but—”

Middle-aged Man: “What if I cut off TWO of its arms? Would they still grow back?”

Coworker: “Well, I’m—”

Middle-aged Man: “I know! I will cut off ALL of its arms! Let’s see if it can rebound from that!”

Coworker: *freaked out* “Thank you for all the interest everyone, but the touch tank is now closed for the day!” *moves all the starfish back towards him and closes the tank*

Size Matters, Part 7

| Chicago, IL, USA | Family & Kids

Small child: “Mommy! I just saw a fish that was as big as Aunt Karen!”

Mom: “There is NO fish that’s as big as Aunt Karen.”

Related:
Size Matters, Part 6
Size Matters, Part 5
Size Matters, Part 4
Size Matters, Part 3
Size Matters, Part 2
Size Matters

He’ll Grow Up To Be A Fine Customer (From Hell) One Day

| Newport, OR, USA | Bigotry, Family & Kids

(I’m helping visitors touch some of the animals on exhibit. One of the boys in the crowd is getting too rowdy with the snake I have out.)

Me: “I’m going to need you to step back so someone else can have a turn.”

Boy: “Why?”

Me: “You’re being a little to rough with the animal. You can come back later, though.”

Boy: “YOU ARE BEING RACIST!”

Me: “Um…how?”

Boy: “It’s because I’m black!”

(Note: I’m white, and so is the boy.)

Me: “Um, you’re white.”

Boy: “Oh, so now you’re being a reverse racist!” *storms away*

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