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    Studying Post-Grammatic Stress

    | Bozeman, MT, USA |

    (I work for the university Psychology department where several labs have students participate in experiments. A girl is wandering around the hall looking lost.)

    Me: “Excuse me, but you look a little lost. Can I help you find something?”

    Volunteer: “Yeah, I signed up to participate in an experiment, but I don’t remember which one or what the requirements were.”

    Me: “Alright, that’s fine. We can look you up on one of our computers. Can I have your name?”

    Volunteer: “[Name].”

    (I go to the office computer and her name, the experiment and the requirements.)

    Me: “Alright, well it looks like you’re going to be in the lab down the hall and the only requirement is that you should be a native English speaker.”

    Volunteer: “Oh, but I don’t know that language.”

    Me: “What language?”

    Volunteer: “Native English, I’m not familiar with that language, only regular English. I’ll just go tell them I can’t do it. Thanks!”

    Alternative 5-Year Calling Plan

    | Georgia, USA |

    (I am at the Admissions office at my University. A co-worker leaves a message with a younger kid telling them they’d “call back later” to speak to the adult.)

    Me: “Hello, [college]?”

    Caller: “Oh, this is a college?”

    Me: “Yes ma’am?”

    Caller: “Well then why were you telling my kid you were coming to our house?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean.”

    Caller: “Someone called my house the other day from this number and told my 5-year-old daughter that they would “come over later.” Why would anyone be coming over later?”

    Me: “I believe they probably said “Call back later.” That’s what we usually say if a younger child answers the phone.”

    Caller: “Oh, so now you think my 5-year-old is dumb?”

    Me: “I never said that ma’am, we just usually don’t leave messages with young children.”

    Caller: “If my daughter couldn’t take a message, I wouldn’t let her answer the phone!”

    Me: “Well, with all due respect ma’am, she did tell you we said we would come to your house, which is not correct at all.”

    Caller: “Yeah, well your people should speak more clearly, she’s only 5! She gets things wrong sometimes!”

    Double The Pictures, Half The Brain

    | Mexico City, Mexico |

    (I am giving information about documents students need to bring to their university interview.)

    Me: “We’ll need you to bring your birth certificate, an ID, your high school diploma and 8 black and white photos for your file.”

    Customer: “Eight photos? How?”

    Me: “Yes, 8 black and white photos.”

    Customer: “You mean 4 black and 4 white?”

    Women’s Studies, Not Studying Women

    | Sydney, Australia |

    (I work in enrollment in my university.)

    Me: “What degree would you like to enrol in?”

    Customer: “I don’t know.”

    Me: “Well, what are you interested in?”

    Customer: “Hot girls.”

    Me: “You mean ‘Women’s Studies’?”

    Customer: “Does that have lots of girls in it?”

    Me: “Pretty much all girls.”

    Customer: “Awesome, I’ll do that.”

    (Note: ‘Women’s Studies’ studies feminism.)

    Helping The Needy

    | Salem, OR, USA |

    (To make the day more interesting, I am asking the prospective students about their Halloween.)

    Me: “So how was your Halloween? Did you dress up?”

    Student Caller: “I was Spock, of course.”

    Me: “Awesome. Live long and prosper.”

    Student Caller: “The needs of the many…”

    Me: “…are greater than the needs of the few.”

    Student Caller: “Or the one.”

    *long pause*

    Student Caller: “Marry me?”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Student Caller: “What, is this moving too fast for you? Okay, how about a date? Coffee? I can be there in 4 hours!”

    Me: “Uhh… I don’t think this is appropriate. If you have any questions, you can call the office of admissions-”

    Student Caller: “Wait! I need to tell my mom I’ve met the future Mrs. Finkler!”


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