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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.


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