Munchkin On Steroids

, , , | | Learning | July 20, 2019

(My husband is a very large, hatchet-faced retired Marine with huge hands and feet. He teaches at a small K-8 rural school. He is a kind and funny man but rather formal with people he doesn’t know, and he can be a little intimidating, especially as it’s common knowledge among the staff and parents that he’s a combat veteran. One day he is standing in the cafeteria with another teacher and the superintendent of schools, waiting on the children to come back inside from an activity.)

Other Teacher: “Did you see that [Small Girl] brought a treat for the rest of her class?”

Superintendent: “What did she bring?”

Other Teacher: “Lollipops!”

(As if on signal, my husband begins to sing and dance the Lollipop Guild song from “The Wizard Of Oz” movie. He finishes just before the kids hit the door.)

Husband: “And in the name of the Lollipop guild… we’d like to welcome you to Munchkin Land!”

(He then snaps back into his normal unsmiling, stern mode as the students stream past.)

Superintendent: “That… was the most incredible thing I’ve seen this year.”

Other Teacher: “Yes, but you know that nobody is going to believe us!”

To Be Fair, That Makes Some People Go “Moo,” Too

, , , , , | | Learning | July 18, 2019

(I am an assistant junior preschool teacher. Our class consists of kids age eighteen months to three years. This happens while reviewing animals with a pair of twins in the class.)

Me: “[Twin Sister], what animal says, ‘moo’?”

Twin Sister: “Cow!”

Twin Brother: “Vodka!”

(The lead teacher and I go dead face, wondering where on earth a near two-year-old could hear the word “vodka” and say it with such clarity.)

Me: “Did he just say, ‘vodka’?”

Lead Teacher: “I think so. [Twin Brother], what animal says, ‘moo’?”

Twin Brother: “Vodka!” 

(He is clearly proud of himself because he thinks he said the right word. By the end of the day, my coworker leaves instructing me to tell the twin’s mother what her son said and ask if she knows why.)

Me: “So, [Twin Brother] said something today and we really don’t know where he heard it.”

Twin’s Mother: *shocked* “Oh, really? What was it?”

Me: “Well, we asked what animal says, ‘moo,’ and [Twin Sister] said, ‘cow,’ but [Twin Brother] said, ‘vodka.’”

Twin’s Mother: *sighing with relief* “Oh! He’s saying, ‘vaca.’ It’s Spanish for ‘cow.’ I’ve taught them a couple of words and numbers in Spanish.”

The Twilight Of Our Youth, Part 8

, , , , , | | Learning | July 16, 2019

(When I am in sixth and seventh grade, the entire female population of school is abuzz with excitement for the Twilight books. One of my best friends at the time happens to have the last name Cullen. This is a regular occurrence for people who haven’t met her before:)

Girl: *seeing my friend’s name written on her folder, backpack, etc* “Oh! You like Twilight? Which one are you ‘married’ to?”

Friend: *exasperated* “None of them! I was a Cullen first!”

The Twilight Of Our Youth, Part 7
The Twilight Of Our Youth, Part 6
The Twilight Of Our Youth, Part 5

Get Her A Book On How Libraries Work

, , , , | | Learning | July 14, 2019

(During my school holidays, I work for a while in the library of a combined elementary and middle school. This particular school is very near the town’s library. Our books and theirs are all clearly labelled with the respective institution names. However, we frequently get students returning the town library’s books to us and vice versa. The school’s policy is to not help them to return it to the town library, so that they will learn not to make this mistake. I’m used to it, as they’re kids, and they usually get it after a simple explanation. And then, you get this:)

Parent: “My son got a call from the library saying they still owe books, but he returned them all last week!”

(The school does not call to chase for books; we have a more relaxed policy and don’t even fine for overdue books. The mention of the call is enough for me, but most customers aren’t satisfied until you actually show them the record.)

Me: “Okay, let me check the system.” *pulls up the record* “Ma’am, the system shows that he doesn’t have any books on loan.”

Parent: “Yes, they’re from the town library.”

Me: “Oh, in that case, you need to call them to check with them.”

Parent: “But he returned it! I was waiting downstairs; he said he was going to run to the library and drop them in the book drop.” *points to our book drop*

Me: “He returned the town library’s books here?”

Parent: “Yes! So, why are there still books on his account?!”

Me: “Ma’am, our system is different from the town library’s system. He cannot return their books here, or vice-versa.”

Parent: “Yes, he can! My son said he can!”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, he may put the books into our book drop, but if we scan it, it won’t be found in our system record. We will see that it’s not one of ours and put it aside for the student to come back to collect it.”

Parent: “Why didn’t you inform us?”

Me: “We do not have any record of which student borrowed the book.”

Parent: “But he borrowed it; it should show his name!”

Me: *patiently* “But our system is different from the town library’s; it will not show the name of the person who borrowed it.”

(The parent keeps this up for some time. I’m trying my best to explain it patiently, but she doesn’t get it. The elementary school students understand this better than she does! I end up using the dumbed-down parallel I give to the younger students.)

Me: “It’s just like if you go [Famous Fast Food Chain]; you cannot buy a [Rival Chain’s Signature Burger] because they are different stores.”

Parent: “You must have the book on the shelf. You can check the shelf and see that he did return it!”

(I check the cupboard where we keep the town library’s books that have ended up in our book-drop, but we do not have the title that the parent mentioned.)

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, we don’t have it. Are you sure he returned it here?”

Parent: “Yes, he did. Why won’t you believe me?” *points insistently at our book-drop* “I’ll get him to come and prove it!”

Me: “Okay, you can ask him to come by.”

(Would you believe it, some days later, the parent comes back again. This time, she has complained to the school office, who apparently was finally able to get through to her that our library systems are different.)

Parent: “My son returned the town library’s books here. Do you have them?”

Me: *checking to see if they have been found over the last few days* “Yes, here you go.”

Parent: “The person who called me said there’s a fine for overdue books.”

Me: “You’ll have to check with the town library, as [School]’s library does not implement a fine for late returns.”

Parent: “But it’s not fair! We shouldn’t have to pay a fine!”

Me: “Sorry, I have no control over that.” 

(I have a feeling I know what’s coming. Sure enough, she delivers.)

Parent: “No, I shouldn’t have to pay! My son returned it here!” *points petulantly to our book drop* “How can you charge me when I returned it here?!”

Me: *facepalm* 

(I mean, I can excuse a kid for not being able to tell the difference, but this is an adult in her forties!)

Money Doesn’t Organ-ically Come From Nowhere

, , , , , , | | Learning | July 13, 2019

(I work in the finance office of a university. This story was told to me by my coworker. Note that this took place over the phone with a student in online classes.)

Student: “When am I getting my financial aid stipend? I need that money.”

Coworker: “It looks like your funding is scheduled for [date two weeks later]. Once that hits your account at the school, we will review any excess funding and send it out to you within fourteen days.”

Student: “Why’s it going to take so long? I need that money now; can’t you move it up?!”

Coworker: “Unfortunately, we have to adhere to federal guidelines on when financial aid funding can be distributed to your account and will not be able to move up that date.”

Student: “But I need that money. I have to pay my rent and I have medical bills.”

Coworker: “I’m sorry to hear that, but I…”


Coworker: *after a brief pause* “Well, I am very sorry to hear that and I hope that things get better soon. We won’t be able to move up your disbursement dates, but if you check back in with us after we’ve received the funding, we may be able to expedite your stipend.”

(The student seemed satisfied with that resolution and ended the call. When she shared this story with me later I couldn’t help but speculate, “Wouldn’t your organs just falling out of your body, I don’t know, kill you?”)

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