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And People Said That Trick Was Useless…

, , , , | Related | December 8, 2022

My family has owned American Hairless Terriers (AHTs) — rat terriers who’ve been bred to be hairless — for decades. This is a story about one of the first we owned.

Sofie was a typical AHT. She was about mid-shin in height, and she had the run of our fenced-in yard in Maryland. One trick I taught her was “Belly Rub”. I’d shout that at her, and she’d flop on her back. I would then rub her exposed belly, much to her delight.

We never let our dogs roam free; any time we took them for walks, we would have them in harnesses and on leashes. One time, as I was about to take Sofie for a walk around the neighborhood, I stopped to talk to a neighbor. Sofie was impatient, pulling hard on the leash.

Then, suddenly, she slipped out of the harness and started running down the (thankfully not busy) street as fast as she could. (This breed is amazingly fast.)

I started chasing her but wasn’t gaining on her because I was wearing sandals. I then had an idea.

Me: “Sofie! Belly rub!”

Sofie quickly ran onto someone’s lawn and then flopped onto her back to await her belly rub. Her quick escape was foiled by conditioned training.

You. Provoked. The. Fish.

, , , , , | Right | December 8, 2022

I work in a science center/museum/zoo. We have an indoor open-water exhibit that features a raised basin with live fish. Reaching into the water and/or petting the fish is strictly prohibited. Visitors learn about this and the reasons for it — potentially aggressive fish, not introducing cosmetics, disinfectant, or bacteria into the water on the visitors’ part, etc. — before they enter the exhibition. The basin itself also features a large and visible sign asking people to not touch the water; plus, there is a staffer present for supervision. At the moment, that’s me.

Living behind the sign by the basin’s edge is a pair of large African cichlids. They are fairly territorial, especially if they have fry to protect, which these two do.

It’s a quiet day, so I’m taking my time chatting to a patron, telling them about the river landscape we’re depicting while facing toward the entrance of the room and the “Don’t touch the water” sign. A man wearing a T-shirt walks in, stops in front of the sign, and visibly reads it. He walks up to the water’s edge and dunks his arm in up to the elbow; the water doesn’t go much deeper than this. There’s a big splash, and he yanks his arm back out, screaming wordless bloody murder. His shirt is wet. 

For added humor, our crocodile, in a glass enclosure behind the man, decides to surface and snap her jaw in the water at that moment, probably in response to the noise.

The man jumps when he spots the crocodile. Then, he spots me and rushes up, sounding almost comically hysterical.

Man: “The fish attacked me! The fish attacked me!”

Me: *Trying not to laugh* “Sir, I’m very sorry, but I very clearly saw you reading the sign that says not to touch the water. This is why.”

Man: “But the fish attacked me!”

I’m still stifling laughter but trying to stay calm and polite.

Me: “Sir, you were told not to touch the water before entering the exhibition, and I just saw you reading the sign. These fish will defend their territory against intruders, especially now that they have babies. We make these rules for a reason. It’s also possible that you will accidentally endanger them because—”

Man: “But! The! Fish! Attacked! Me!”

I pause for a moment.

Me: “Yes, I understand; I saw the incident. If you are hurt, I can take you down to the first aid room. We also sell shirts at our souvenir shop if you would like a dry one.”

Man: “No, thank you… but the fish attacked me.”

He walks past me and out of the room without a look back.

The other patron I was talking to turns to me, we hold eye contact for a moment, and we burst out laughing simultaneously. 

Other Patron: *Still chuckling* “He’s lucky that the crocodile is behind glass; I wouldn’t have wanted to hear him screaming if he’d lost a hand.”

How To Not Win Friends And Not Influence People

, , , | Right | December 8, 2022

I work at a sandwich chain. These two girls around fifteen come in. One doesn’t order anything; the other gets a six-inch sandwich. The one who orders asks to leave a pamphlet with me, and I decide it’s easiest to just say yes. The pamphlet has a cartoon of animals and people sitting together with the text, “Soon, all suffering will end.”

“Great,” I think. “Vegan hippies.” But then I see “The Watchtower Society” on the back of the pamphlet. Oh-ho! Not vegans, Jehovah’s Witnesses! Even better!

Fast forward to them leaving. They purposefully leave a gigantic mound of napkins and such on the table… with another pamphlet on top of it.

Yes, they made a huge mess just so someone would be forced to come over to clean it, and thus find the pamphlet.

Why would I want to join a religion full of such inconsiderate jerks?

You Snooze, You… Don’t Lose… Apparently

, , , , , , , | Working | December 8, 2022

I used to work as a team lead for [Major Retail Chain]. This is the story of how I lost my job.

One day, we’re getting the regular shipments in. Today, we have several shipments coming in at once. All of the trucks are on time except for one. I wait on the loading dock, pacing back and forth, waiting for the last truck. 

There’s still a lot to do, so I also lead the unloading of the other trucks.

Eventually, around 12:00 — four hours after their intended arrival time — we’re out of trucks to unload, and I head out to the parking lot to take a look around.

I find the missing truck sitting in our parking lot. The driver is slumped over his dashboard. His windows are open, and I can hear him snoring.

I knock on the door and wake him up. Groggily, he drives his truck into the bay, and we unload it. Then, he leaves. I expect this to be the last I hear of it.

Around 3:00, the driver of the truck shows up again. He’s roaring angry and insists that I sign some paperwork for him. The paperwork claims that he was in on time. I refuse to sign it because it’s incorrect.

I start getting ready to go home; I’m scheduled from 8:00 to 4:00 today. My manager intervenes and insists that I sign the driver’s papers before I can go home.

Me: “The time of arrival listed on the papers is wrong, the man did not show up on time, and I had to wake him before he was able to unload.”

My manager didn’t care.

Under my manager’s supervision, I signed the papers. I attempted to change the time listed, but my manager yelled at me again — she was watching over my shoulder — and insisted I sign them as they were.

About a week later, the driver sued [Major Retail Chain] for “making him late” for his later deliveries that day. Because of the paperwork that I was forced to sign, he won in court, despite my testimony that my manager forced me to sign incorrect paperwork. (My manager testified that I signed it on my own, that backstabber.)

I was fired as a result of these events. Fortunately, [Major Retail Chain #2] was hiring.

The lesson I learned from these events has stuck with me forever. Record everything. Leave a paper trail of everything. Cover. Your. Butt.

Though it took me some time to work my way back up my ranks, I am now managing the store that hired me. My old manager, last I heard, had also gotten promoted to manage the entire district at the old place I worked. And she’s still up to the same old backstabbing, last I heard.

Professor Dumbledore 2.0

, , , , , , | Learning | December 8, 2022

I’ve got a really cool university professor. On day one, when he was showing us around the labs, he did this really cool performance.

Professor: “Ah, the door appears locked.”

Assistant: “Shall I get the key, sir?”

Professor: “No need; I’ve got my own key.”

He then pulled out a replica of the Elder Wand from “Harry Potter” and pointed it at the door.

Professor: “Alohomora!”

The automatic doors then opened immediately. Most of the doors in the lab building are automatic.

Professor: “Lumos!”

The lights turned themselves on.

Professor: “Ventus!”

The air conditioning activated.

Professor: “Piertotum Locomotor!”

A dozen Roombas all popped out and formed twin lines for us to walk through, like an honour guard.

The next year…

Professor: *In a fake Greek accent* “Now, lets-a see what’s inside you. I open your doors. Aaaaannnd flick!”

He flicked his fingers, and every single door in the building popped open as the lights and air conditioning also activated.

Then, the PA system in the building activated.

PA: *In Thor’s voice* “You flicked too hard, d*** it!”

The wonders you can do when your assistant is holding a remote control that can control everything in the building. I genuinely think that [Professor] has convinced at least a few of my classmates that he’s a real magician.