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It’s A Battle To Get Through To This Customer

, , , , , , | Right | December 16, 2020

A mom and dad come into the library with their daughter who is maybe nine or ten years old. I know that appearances should not matter, but I have to point out that these parents don’t look much older than their daughter. Also, it’s the mid-nineties.

Dad: “She has to do a report on a famous battle that took place in Connecticut.”

While I am by no means a history maven, I do know that there are maybe two battles that took place in the state and one of them wasn’t a battle so much as combatants marching from one state through ours to get to another.  

I recommend the other one, which was a brief incident during the Revolution.

Dad: “Naw. That sounds boring. She wants to write about an exciting battle! Don’t you got anything from newer times? Like, like, say, what’s that war about slavery?”

Me: “Sir, while many men from Connecticut served in the Civil War, none of the battles — major or minor — took place in this state.”

The daughter is looking embarrassed and bored, twirling her hair around her fingers and staring at the ceiling. I ask her if her class is reading about the Revolution. She nods.  

Me: “Well, then, your teacher wants you to write about [Town].”

She nods again.

Dad: “But what you said isn’t even a battle. They just fired on a ship. I want her to learn about a big, fancy battle.”

He turns to his wife to confer. He turns back to me.

Dad: “What about one of them what they call World Wars. You’re telling me we didn’t fight in either of them?”

Me: “We did, indeed, fight in both the World Wars, sir. But they were fought in Europe, and in the case of the second World War, also in Asia.”

Dad: “What’s Europe?”

Me: “The continent where Germany and France, Portugal, Spain, and Belgium are — to name a few countries.”

Dad: “No battles here in Connecticut.”

Me: “No battles here in Connecticut, sir.”

Mom whispers in Dad’s ear.

Dad: *With a big grin* “What about Desert Storm? That was a big war. No battles here in Connecticut?”

I have had it with this bozo who doesn’t even understand his daughter was told to write, specifically, on the Battle of Groton Heights.

Me: “That was just a couple of years ago. Do you remember there being any battles here?”

Dad: “No. But— What?”

Me:That battle took place in the Middle East, sir.”

Dad: “But that other thing is so boring.”

Me: “But apparently, it was what your daughter was assigned.”

I got her the only book we had that had a chapter on the specifics of the Battle of Groton Heights. The family left, but Dad was complaining bitterly that the Revolutionary War wasn’t sexy enough. I suspect from his enthusiasm that he really, really wanted to bond with his daughter over tanks, guns, and live ammo, and that cannons firing on a British ship wasn’t as exciting, but cheese marie, people… it’s what the teacher asked your daughter to do! Bond by helping her write the darned thing.

This story is part of our Best Of December 2020 roundup!

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