Like Tolkien To A Brick Deeping Wall

| UK | Learning | March 27, 2013

(I am at an open day at school for my young son. It isn’t a faith-based school, so there are no requirements to be a particular religion. I am currently talking to the headmaster who has only been there three months.)

Headmaster: *notices my wedding ring* “What on Earth is that?”

(My wedding ring is a replica of the one ring from Lord of the Rings.)

Me: “Oh, it’s my wedding ring. My husband and I are huge Lord of the Rings fans.”

Headmaster: “What are all these demonic symbols on it?”

Me: “Oh, it’s Elvish writing, a language that J.R.R Tolkien made up.”

Headmaster: “A good Christian should never wear demonic symbols on their person!”

Me: “Oh no, me and my husband are atheists, but we want [son] to learn about different religions and decide for himself what he wants to believe.”

(The head looks taken aback by my son’s name, which is Japanese even though both my husband and I are British.)

Headmaster: “What sort of a h***ish name is [son’s name]?!”

(I am starting to get slightly annoyed now, but still persevere as it is a good school.)

Me: “We both have very common names, and wanted to name our children something that meant a lot to us, even if it wasn’t necessarily in common usage.”

Headmaster: “Well I don’t want any of your kind coming to my school and corrupting the other children, and I will send messages to the other schools in the county warning them of you! You should be ashamed of yourselves!”

(She proceeded to write “Do not accept anyone called [son’s name]” on her notepad and shooed me away. I later learnt she had been fired for turning away three Muslim families, but I still didn’t send my son to that school!)

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My Name Is Katniss Everdude

| New York, USA | Learning | March 26, 2013

(I am in a British literature class with a professor who is endearingly out of touch with the times. For example, he just discovered that phones have alarms and cameras. In class, we are discussing potential feminist themes in an 18th-century novel.)

Me: “I was reading about a theorist who said that in movies such as “Brave,” the strong female characters actually do not help women because these characters must sacrifice their femininity and become like men to be considered strong.”

Professor: “Interesting. That reminds me of the strangest movie I saw recently. I don’t even know how I ended up watching it; I think the movie I wanted to see was out of seats or something. Tell me if you’ve heard of this: “The Hunger Games?” *completely sincere* “Is that supposed to be feminist?”

Entire Class: “NO!”

(We hurry to explain to him what young adult dystopian literature is, and he seems relieved, though no less baffled).

Sibling Robbery

| Staten Island, NY, USA | Learning | March 26, 2013

(The school bus drivers are on strike. As a result, all the parents have to drive to the school to pick up their children. It can get very busy, and the teachers are struggling with coordination. I am picking up my two young sons. They are my only children. I spot them talking to a teacher.)

Me: “Come on boys, time to go home.”

Teacher: “Ah! Mrs. [name]! I’m so glad you’re here. Your daughter is waiting for you upstairs.”

Me: “My daughter?”

Teacher: “Yes. We know it’s complete chaos here at the moment, and—”

Me: “I have a daughter?”

Teacher: “—we really appreciate your patience at this time—”

Me: “But, I don’t have a daughter.”

Teacher: “—but rest assured that—”

(Since the teacher isn’t listening, I look to my two young boys.)

Me: “Why does she think I have a daughter?”

Son: “I don’t know, but stay quiet! We can take home a new sister!”

(Thankfully, the bus strike was over before I had stray children living in my house!)

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Po-tential K-atastrophe Averted

| New York, NY, USA | Learning | March 26, 2013

(I’m cleaning up from a project in the chemistry lab when a tour comes in.)

Guide: “…and this is one of our chemistry labs. This particular one is used mostly by chemistry majors who are working on their—” *to young boy who wanders off* “Excuse me, please don’t touch anything. This lab has some dangerous chemicals in it.”

(I’m currently cleaning up some of those ‘dangerous chemicals,’ so I look up. A younger boy around age eight has broken off from the group and has picked up some glassware and turned on a sink.)

Mother: “Oh, don’t worry about him. Daddy’s a chemist, so he’s used to playing in the lab.”

Guide: “Uh, well, it’s school policy that I have to ask the tours not to touch anything.”

Mother: *smirking* “That’s nice, but I REALLY think that being in his daddy’s lab has—”

(Suddenly, a professor barges through the doors to the lab and goes straight for the young boy.)

Professor: “WHAT THE H*** ARE YOU DOING?!”

(The professor TACKLES the young boy, which obviously enrages the mother.)

Mother: “What the f*** is wrong with you?! Nothing in this this tiny lab is worth so much that—”

(Suddenly, the sink explodes. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the mother finally speaks up.)

Mother: “Your wretched lab could have killed my son!”

Professor: “No, your wretched son could have killed himself and the rest of the tour!”

(They continue to yell at each other while the tour guide frantically calls security. The son wanders over to me.)

Son: “Daddy never lets me have that much potassium metal! Do you have any more?!”

Me: “Nope, that was, uh, the lab’s entire supply.”

(Security arrives and defuses the professor and the mother, who threatens to sue. A week later, instead of a lawsuit, we receive a letter informing us that if we need any more potassium, ‘Daddy’s lab’ will be happy to provide it to us for free.)

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My Tuition Is Free, But I’ll Never Be

, | NYC, NY, USA | Learning | March 25, 2013

(The coffee shop is staffed and run by students.)

Student: “Hi, can I have… uh, something with coffee that I can get quickly?”

Barista: “Got an exam coming up?”

Student: “Yeah… real soon.”

Barista: “How about the ‘exam special?’ Extra caffeinated, two bucks if you’ve got a [school] ID.”

Student: “Perfect. Can I bring a few with me? I told my friends I’d get them coffee, too.”

Barista: “Sure, we can seal them up and box them. A lot of students have asked for that.”

Student: “Sure. Can I get 11?”

Barista: “11 exam specials, ASAP!”

(Two other staff members jump into action and start assembling drinks.)

Student: “My debit card won’t go through.”

Barista: “Uh oh. It’s been working fine. Try it again.”

Student: “No luck. Let me see if I have cash.”

(Suddenly, the clock tower nearby chimes the hour.)

Student: *visibly shaken* “Oh, um, is it two o’clock already?”

Barista: “Yeah… when’s your final?”

Student: “2:10. I, uh, I only have ten dollars.” *under her breath* “S***, Doctor [Name] is going to kill me…”

Barista: “Did you say Doctor [Name]?”

Student: “Yeah.”

Barista: “Chemistry?”

Student: “Yeah…”

(The barista shoves the box of coffee into the student’s hands.)

Barista: “Leave your ten dollars and run! Run like your life depends on it!”

Student: “Auugh!”

(The student takes the coffee and flees. Now it’s my turn to order.)

Me: “I take it you’ve had Doctor [Name] as a teacher?”

Barista: “Yeah, for 20 years. He’s my dad.”

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