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Mother Is Magma-nimous

| Learning | September 24, 2015

(I’m a teacher in a middle school science class. During the midway point of the semester, we’ve begun to learn about volcanoes and eruptions. I used a video of eruptions to demonstrate these facts. It was a few days after a test I’d given them on the subject when I received a call from a parent.)

Mother: “If you don’t tell me who put you up to this, I’m coming down there TODAY to set you straight!”

Me: “Uh… good afternoon, ma’am. I’m [My Name], teaching science, and if I may, what on earth are you talking about?”

Mother: “I’m talking about YOU filling my son’s head with images of the earth exploding and hell spawn swarming the countryside and dragging innocents into Hell, that’s what!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Mother: “You showed him a film of Satan destroying a mountain and it’s traumatized him! He can’t stop crying!”

Me: “What’s your son’s name, ma’am?”

(She tells me who she is and I remember that her son was probably the most excited at the video, as I had to tell him four times to sit back down.)

Mother: “You atheist little s***, I won’t have you filling our children’s’ heads with lies! Mountains don’t explode! You’re trying to spread Satanism!”

Me: “Ma’am, with all due respect, how on earth do you not know what volcanoes are?”

Mother: “What?”

Me: “We live in the shadow of Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, two dormant, but still very much alive volcanoes, the latter of which quite literally exploded in 1980 and buried the immediate countryside in ash and molten rock, a perfectly normal natural phenomenon that sadly also doubled as a tragedy for anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity. I assure you, there is no ‘Satan’ involved in the process of volcanic eruptions. It’s the Earth just being the Earth.”

Mother: “You’re lying!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m very sorry, but if you insist on denying the existence of volcanoes while living next door to two of the largest and most powerful specimens in the country, then I can’t change your mind and I hope to God neither of our volcanoes erupts during your lifetime.”

(I bid her good day and hung up. The next day, I showed another presentation, this time of Mt. St. Helens blowing its side out in a massive eruption. And of course, that woman’s little boy was practically screaming in amazement. I wonder if I’ve released a brand new little volcanologist on the world.)

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