It’s Warm Inside, There’s All Kinds Of Lovely Atmosphere

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 23, 2019

(My daughters and I are fans of the show “Red Dwarf” and meeting the cast would be amazing, but times in the 90s are tough for us so conventions are beyond us. One of the actors from the show, Craig Charles, is doing a reading from one of his books in a major book store in our city, so I have the idea of taking the daughter that likes it the most.)

Me: “Hi, Mr. Charles! Could my bairn have your autograph, please?”

(Craig, noticing my daughter is around five years old, asks if she knows who he is.)

Daughter: *quite clearly* “Yeah! Smeghead!”

Craig: “That’s ‘Mister Smeghead, sir’!”

(He signed her book, “Craig Charles, SMEGHEAD!”)

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Feel “Free” To Go Aww

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 17, 2019

(I train seeing-eye dogs and service animals for a living and have for the past ten years. The number of people who ignore a vest on a dog ceased to surprise me many years ago. On this day, I have three six-month-old golden retriever pups with me who are being trained as therapy companion animals — not seeing-eye dogs — so their training is a little different, and it’s not as strict as it is for dogs who need to be alert animals or guide dogs. I’ve taken them down to the dog park for socialising in their little vests that state they’re in training. When we get there, the dog park is mostly empty, save for a young couple in their 20s and their four- or five-year-old daughter. They’re throwing a ball for a chocolate lab puppy around the same age as my trio of loveable idiots, and mine are whining at me because they want to be “freed” to chase the ball. Sticking to their training, they’re sitting at my feet practically vibrating with excitement. The little girl tosses the ball and it rolls within three feet of my pups, who all amp up their whining. The other family’s dog seems to get spooked by mine, so it hangs back, and the little girl comes to retrieve the ball.)

Little Girl: “Oh! Mummy! Puppies!”

(I’m already impressed that she hasn’t barrelled forward to grab at the pups like most kids her age would do; even adults tend to think that because they’re small and cute they are up for grabs. While they all frantically wag their tails at the thought of a new friend, they stay seated. The little girl cocks her head to the side and starts sounding out the letters on their vests.)

Little Girl: “T… tr… tra… Train! Excuse me, are these train dogs?”

(Her parents have come over and we all giggle at her saying “train dogs.”)

Dad: “They say, ‘dog in training,’ sweetie. What does it mean when a doggy has a vest on with words on it?”

Little Girl: *sadly* “To leave them alone because they’re doing a job. I just wanted to look at them; they’re cute.”

(Her own puppy has sidled forward to sniff at mine, who are all ready to explode by this point but are still seated, waiting for the all-clear. The mum calls her dog back and holds his collar, apologising.)

Me: “That’s fantastic! You’re very clever. But guess what? These puppies are learning to be good friends to kids who need to feel safe and loved, so they can play. You ready guys? FREE!”

(The three balls of golden fluff EXPLODED from at my feet. They started running in circles, pawing at the other puppy, yipping excitedly, and licking the little girls’ shoes. Her face was something I’ll remember forever; a kid getting to play in a pile of puppies is something truly magical. She asked lots of questions about different kinds of helper dogs, and promised me she wouldn’t bother any dogs in vests unless their human said it was okay. Her parents thanked me, but I thanked them, as well, as learning to behave around kids is something very important to support dogs and we got in some great practice that day. That kiddo was so great for already knowing what a service animal was. I hope I can meet more like her in the future.)

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Not Too Chicken To Defend Themselves

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 14, 2019

As a kid, I had a flock of chickens that we tried to keep at 20 to 30 birds. We raised the birds for the eggs and for fun, so we took care of our sick and injured birds.

We bought two silkies — little puffball chickens — and they stuck together. One of the silkies, later named Frankenmonk — or Monk for short — ended up getting an eye infection and lost her eye around when she got a neck injury, so we put the two silkies in the garage while the one healed, and then returned them to the flock.

We didn’t know if Monk and Puff, the other silkie, were males or females as they are notoriously difficult to determine the gender on, but we knew that Puff took care of Monk. Wherever one was, the other was, too.

One day, one of our Rhode Island Red roosters — about four times the size of the silkies at the time — decided to breed with Monk, and as soon as he tried, Puff flung her body into the rooster, knocking him down. Puff and Monk then continued on their way as if nothing had happened.

In my six years of owning chickens, this is still one of my favorite memories.

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How Can She Still Be A Ray Of Sunshine Without Caffeine?

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 10, 2019

(I work with one of the sweetest girls on the earth. She constantly looks out for the younger teens, takes on more than her fair share of work, and makes sure everyone gets their break. She’s not a manager because they don’t offer enough, but everyone loves her. She is pure sunshine and always a happy person who dresses in bright colors and is always cheerful. Ironically, she’s the one we always call to deal with the angry or irritated customers because she can always calm them down. Today, I see this huge guy — he’s at least 6’5” and has to weigh at least 240 pounds — come in dressed in leather with tattoos, a beard, and longer hair. He looks like he could and would break everyone in half. He’s carrying a coffee, which is against our rules; no outside food or drink are allowed. I radio over my headset for her, letting her know this guy has coffee, and she radios back that she’ll be right over. She literally squeals when she sees him and his face lights up. He then hands her the coffee and kisses her on the cheek and she grabs his hand and drags him over to meet me, where I’m standing with my mouth open.)

Coworker: “This is my guy! [Guy], this is one of the coworkers I work with.”

Guy: “Nice to meet you. Sorry about breaking the rules, but her coffee pot broke last night and I knew she needed some caffeine.”

(We stood there chatting a bit and I found out that he helps out with the local kids’ hospital, volunteers at the animal shelter, and basically is wrapped around my coworker’s finger. Just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.)

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The Restorative Powers Of Good Parenting (And Cake!)

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | September 6, 2019

I was heading in to work one day and saw a man with his children. The man was, shall we say, a beefcake. Super muscular, short-cropped hair, tattoos — a dudebro as I like to call them. His son in the cart was crying about something, and instead of consoling him or helping, he just shouted a barrage of, “YOU KEEP UP THAT CRYING AND I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT,” over and over finishing with, “DRY IT UP. DRY IT.”

Disgusted, I headed into the store and heard other customers making fun of him. I wish I could’ve said something, but as I was in uniform, I couldn’t start a conflict with a customer.

I headed over to the bakery and started to get my tasks together. Another man and his son were looking at the full-service cake case, trying to decide on a birthday cake for the son. The dad asked, “All right, bud, which one do you want?” The little boy excitedly said, “The unicorn!” I cringed, expecting the worst from the dad. The cake had a swirl of pink and purple hair with blue and white roses. Unfortunately, in cake decorating, the terms “boy cakes” and “girl cakes” get thrown around a lot. The dad said, “Okay, buddy! Ma’am, can we get the unicorn?”

Some people are garbage, but at least there some who restore my faith in humanity to balance it all out, unicorn cake in hand.

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