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You Catch More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar, Part 3

, , , , | Right | January 27, 2023

After years of being unable to file her taxes (that’s worthy of a whole other story) my daughter finally got returns and a hefty check. She decided to treat me to dinner at a well-known steakhouse chain.

Our server was a trainee but was doing well. While waiting for our fried onion bloom, we got in our meal orders, and those were fine. The waiter checked on us.

Me: “It’s all delicious, thank you. But you might mention to the chef that my steak was medium, not medium rare.”

Horrors, right?

Waiter: “I can have them completely remake that if you like.”

Me: “Oh, no, please don’t. This is fine as medium.”

The waiter retreated, and I thought that was the end of it. But a few minutes later, a manager showed up.

Manager: “I understand that your steak was overcooked.”

Me: “No, not really overcooked. It’s a medium instead of medium rare.”

Manager: “We can make you a fresh one that’s medium rare.”

Me: “No, please don’t bother. I grew up eating steaks medium, so I’m perfectly happy with this.”

I was worried this was going to turn into the “Dirty Fork” sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, but the manager seemed satisfied. Once again, I thought that was the end of it. But ten minutes later, the manager was back with our bill.

Manager: “Sorry about the steak. As an apology, we comped the onion bloom.”

My daughter and I looked at each other in surprise. We got a free expensive appetizer because…. we didn’t throw temper tantrums?

You Catch More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar, Part 2
You Catch More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar

Dodged A Bullet (Or A Fist)

, , , , , , | Related | January 27, 2023

We lived in the same house for over a decade when I was a child, and I’d long since memorized the layout well enough that I could have run the hall blindfolded, which I sort of did. My father was quite insistent on not wasting electricity on extra lights, so when I decided to head upstairs for the night through darkened hallways, rather than having to turn on and then back off a half-dozen lights along my way, I’d generally trust to my memory — and a protective raised hand in case I misjudged the distance — to make it upstairs without the lights.

I was headed up to my bedroom one evening when I was an older teen. There was enough light still filtering in from the windows to sort of make out the halls downstairs, but the light didn’t quite reach up the full length of the stairs to the hallway above. This time, as I approached said hallway, I suddenly had an overwhelming sense that there was some looming presence waiting for me in the darkness above.

Logically, I figured it had to be my imagination, so I wasn’t really scared. After all, it wasn’t as if someone could have snuck upstairs to wait in ambush without my noticing. Still, it could do no harm to humor my instincts; it might even provide a mildly amusing distraction to do so. So, even though, I was certain there was nothing to worry about, I still played along. I moved cautiously forward in a sort of lazy bastardization of a defensive fighting stance, not quite being willing to risk feeling stupid by taking on a full combat stance over something I was sure I was imagining. I even moved toward where my instincts told me the presence was, instead of going the opposite direction to my bedroom, to figure out what had been negligently left in the hallway that could have triggered my instincts.

It seems my subconscious must have detected some signs too subtle for my conscious mind to process because it turned out there was a looming presence, which suddenly charged at me as I approached it! With my body already primed and ready, my instincts took over, shifting my weight into a proper stance even as I started to launch a punch. While I’ll never claim to be a master martial artist, years of training had at least taught me how to throw a proper punch.

It was only after my instincts had taken over that my brain caught up. I realized the only people who could have reasonably made it upstairs without alarming me were the ones that were supposed to be there, and come to think of it, didn’t that dark figure charging at me have roughly the right size and bulk to be my father? With this realization, I tried to pull my punch, fighting against the momentum my punch had already built by then. I managed to slow it just enough that it was little more than a tap on my father’s stomach, light enough that he apparently brushed it off without realizing what it was as he started laughing and gloating that he had surprised me.

In actuality, between my first instinctual response and then my distracted attempt to stop it, I hadn’t had time to really register any fear. Instead, I told my father he nearly got punched, but my dad seem to think this was just me saving face and didn’t realize how serious I was about the warning. Realizing there was no way for me to prove how close my father had come to a solid punch to the gut, I gave up and went to my bedroom, letting my father have his undeserved sense of triumph at his ambush.

Yet the memory has still stuck with me, even decades later. There’s just something that amuses me about how undeserved his excitement was and just how close he was to regretting his ill-planned ambush. But sure, Dad, go ahead and think you won that round.

Sweating Without A Sweater

, , , , | Friendly | January 27, 2023

Two days before Thanksgiving, I go to the store to pick out an outfit for the holiday. I remember seeing a specific sweater at this store before, so I am hoping it’s still in stock. I get there, and of course, it is nowhere to be found.

So, at this point, I’m just wandering the clothing department, trying to find something else instead. (Mind you, I am an extremely indecisive person.)

I walk by this woman and think nothing of it. I move to another part of the department, and again we pass, making eye contact this time. Funny coincidence, sure, but I continue minding my own business, trying to decide which sweater I want to try on. I’ve found multiple I like at this point, but I haven’t picked any up since I’m still not sure which one I want.

Finally, a third time, I pass this woman. This time, she decides to confront me.

Woman: “Are you following me?”

Me: “Nope, just wandering the department.”

Woman: “Are you sure? We keep running into each other.”

Me: “Yep, weird coincidence, huh?”

Woman: “Well, I’ve seen you multiple times now, and I haven’t seen you pick up one thing.”

I’m trying to brush off the anxiety that’s creeping up.

Me: “Yeah, I just can’t decide what I want. I keep going back and forth between a few things I want. I’m pretty indecisive, and there are a lot of options I like here.”

She clearly doesn’t believe me.

Woman: “Oh, yeah, this store is just the bee’s knees. Well, don’t you think it’s weird that I’m asking you this question?”

Me: “I mean, I get why you’re asking.”

Woman: “Oh, you do?”

Me: “Yeah, really interesting how we keep accidentally running into each other.”

By this time, my heart is racing and my social anxiety has peaked.

Woman: “Well, if you aren’t following me, then why are your cheeks getting red?”

Because you’re making me uncomfortable, lady!

Me: “Honestly, I don’t know, but I can promise you I’m not trying to follow you.”

Finally, I decided I’d had enough of this conversation, so I pretended to like the sweater I was looking at, picked it up, and raced as far away from that lady as possible, never looking back.

And that’s the story of the time I almost had my first public anxiety attack — all because the store was out of the sweater I came in for!

Not The “Hit” Party Activity She Was Looking For

, , , | Right | January 27, 2023

Customer: “Can I get a piñata shaped like Baby Jesus?”

Me: *In horror* “Ma’am, do you really want to hit Jesus with a stick?”

She quickly realized what she had said and was horrified, too.

So Not Getting The Point, Or The Points

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 27, 2023

I give my class a two-part assignment: answer some questions about the reading and then participate in the in-class discussion. Participation is graded on whether you show up and say at least one thing within a small group — nothing big.

A student doesn’t attend class and doesn’t explain their absence, so they receive credit for only the reading questions — five of ten points. They come to talk to me about two weeks later.

Student: “I don’t think it’s fair that I only got five points. Why didn’t I get all ten points?”

Me: “Because you only did half the assignment; you didn’t attend class for the discussion.”

Student: “I don’t think it’s fair, though. Can I have the other points back?”

Me: “No, you only did half the assignment.”

Student: “You didn’t say on the sheet that I was supposed to attend class. Can I have the other points back?”

Me: “When I introduced the assignment, I said you have to attend class to get full credit. The information about this group of assignments posted online says you need to attend class for full credit.”

Student: “I don’t think it’s fair. Can I have the points back?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “It’s only five points. Can’t I just have the points?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “Can I do another assignment?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “Can’t I just do an extra credit assignment?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “It’s not fair!”

Me: “If you don’t like it, you can talk to the department chair and I’ll go with her decision.”

Student: “No, no, that’s not necessary! I just wondered if I could have the points.”

Me: “No!”

Student: “I didn’t know I had to come to class.”

Me: “No! This is really my final word. If you can’t accept it, you really need to talk to the department chair.”

Student: “No, that’s not necessary. This is not a big deal. I just don’t think it’s fair. It’s only five points.”