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    Translation Kollaboration

    | NY, USA | Language & Words, School

    (Campus security has stopped a lost visitor, and is trying to work out where he wants to go. The visitor speaks very poor English, but the officer is trying his best.)

    Visitor: “I want go, skink labatree.”

    Security: “You wanna go where?”

    Visitor: “A skink labatree.”

    Security: “Oh, that’s, like, a little lizard. Reptile lab? Lizards? Snakes?”

    Visitor: “No, no, a skink labatree. Kell skinky.”

    Security: “Kill? Like, animal disposal?”

    Visitor: “No, no! I want call my daughter, but…”

    (The visitor holds up a cell phone.)

    Visitor: “No battery!”

    Security: “Ahh, okay. Wanna try mine?”

    (Security offers the visitor his phone.)

    Visitor: “No, no, I don’t know she kell. No battery my kell.”

    Security: “Hold up a sec.”

    (Security points to his cell phone.)

    Visitor: “Kell phone, no battery!”

    Security: “Kell laboratory?”

    Visitor: “Kell labatree!”

    Security: *scribbling on a piece of paper* “Skink?”

    Visitor: *overjoyed* “Yes! Skink labatree!”

    Security: “Okay, let’s go!”

    (On the paper: “SCIENCE.” I later learned that the visitor had taught himself English almost entirely by reading, and assumed all ‘C’s were hard ‘K’s.)

    Ink And You’ll Miss It

    | Gainesville, FL, USA | Rude & Risque, School

    (Our university has been around for a while. As such our mascot, Albert, has changed a bit over the years. I overhear an amusing conversation at a register next to me, the Sunday after a big win. Customer #1 is buying a shirt with the old-style Albert on it.)

    Customer #2: “Man! The old style Albert is so lame looking!”

    Customer #1: “Dude, what about the one on your butt?!”

    Customer #2: “Oh, yeah!”

    Coworker: *laughing* “Yeah, right.”

    Customer #2: “Nope!”

    (Customer #2 pulls down his pants just a bit, but at this time I can’t see it.)

    Coworker: “I thought you were joking!”

    (Customer #2 laughs and moves over to my register, as I’m now free.)

    Coworker: “Wait, can I see that tattoo again?”

    Customer #2: “Sure!”

    (He pulls his pants down a bit again, and this time I can see the ‘old style’ Albert indeed tattooed on his butt.)

    Customer #2: “Yeah, never get a tattoo while drunk.”

    Not Exactly A Bright Spark

    | CA, USA | Extra Stupid

    (Through my high school years I had worked as a contractor. When I go to college I help pay my way through by being a maintenance worker in the dormitories. It is my very first week of work, and I receive a work order that the power is out in the wall opposite the entry door. I arrive at the apartment and the resident lets me in before returning to her room. I proceed to check every outlet in the room and find they are all working perfectly.)

    Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, which wall was it that has no power? There seems to be a mix up in the description I received.”

    Tenant: “Oh, it’s this one right here.”

    (The tenant points to the wall that was described and tested first.)

    Me: “Well, what kind of problems are you having with it? I tested it and the outlet on this wall seems to be working just fine.”

    Tenant: “No, the outlet is not working. There is no power. See, look!”

    (She flips the switch to the lamp that is plugged in up and down a few times.)

    Tenant: “There’s no power!”

    (I bend down to check under the lamp shade and see a clearly blackened bulb. Upon unscrewing it, it makes the distinctive rattle.)

    Me: “Well, here is your problem: the bulb is dead.”

    Tenant: “What do you mean it’s dead?!”

    Me: “Well, the bulb is burnt out. I can get you a new one; it’s no problem.”

    Tenant: “Well, how can you even tell?!”

    Let’s Hope He’s All Talk And No Trousers

    | MI, USA | Rude & Risque

    (At my job, we plan and host events for a small private college community. I am manning the phones, and I get a call from a retired professor trying to order tickets to a popular event that had sold out the week before.)

    Me: “I’m so sorry, sir, but tickets sold out last week. If you like, I can put you on a waiting list in case someone cancels their reservation.”

    Retired Professor: “Sure, sweetheart, let’s do that. We can always cross our fingers and hope that someone dies.”

    Me: “…That, too.”

    Retired Professor: “So, if I get a call from you, I’ll put pants on and bring the check over to the office?”

    Me: “Okay…”

    Retired Professor: “Or, maybe I’ll forget the pants. At my age, pants are optional.”

    Me: “I envy you.”

    Retired Professor: *has a wheezing laugh attack* “I hope I cheered you up on this rainy Monday, sweetheart! Have a nice day!” *click*

    Polly Want A Chromosome

    , | USA | Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals

    (I work at my University’s call center, soliciting donations from alumni. We are required to update alums on school news. I’m describing the new biology building to one alum.)

    Alum: “Can I use it?”

    Me: “The building? Well, it is mainly for current students and faculty, but you are always welcome for a guided tour.”

    Alum: “I want to clone my parrot.”

    Me: “Pardon me, what was that?”

    Alum: “My parrot. It died. But I saved its body in my freezer. I want to clone it.”

    Me: “Ma’am, even if alumni were able to use the building, our facility does not have the equipment necessary to clone your parrot.”

    Alum: “No! You don’t understand! It was exceptional; it would stack rings and cups for hours. I want you to clone it.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m actually a biology major, and I assure you, we cannot clone your parrot.”

    Alum: “Well, I’m going to contact the Biology Department. They’ll be more helpful than you are!”

    (I’ve always wondered if she did, and if so, what they thought of the request!)

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