Didn’t See That (Second) Coming

| Detroit, MI, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Religion

(I run an independent coffeehouse on the main drag in a small town. A regular walks in, doing her usual purposeful strut to the counter.)

Me: “Hey [Name], how’s it going?”

Customer: “Good. You know what I want?”

(I nod as I begin making her nonfat, no carb latte with extra ice.)

Customer: “You know, I like Criss Angel…”

Me: “Yeah, he’s… something all right.”

Customer: “You know…” *drifts off for a second before coming back down to earth with the rest of us* “I really think he’s the second coming…”

(I stop what I’m doing to look at her as I wait for the punchline. Turns out it’s not coming.)

Customer: “He can do everything Jesus could do.”

(I’m still waiting for the ‘HA! Funny huh?,’ but I see she’s dead serious and waiting for commiseration.)

Me: “Criss Angel is a magician.”

Customer: *nods smiling*

Me: “An illusionist. He does tricks.”

Customer: *her smile slowly fades to a look of total desolation* “Oh.”

(I finished her latte and rung her up. She didn’t say anything else and walked out looking much less sure of herself. I almost felt bad.)

Girls In Love Will Always Be A Mystery

, | Toronto, ON, Canada | Books & Reading, School

(I am at a school fund raising fair. At one table they are selling books and they have a category of ‘mystery books’ where the books are wrapped so you can’t see what you were getting until after you had paid your dollar. I am standing beside the table when I hear a voice:)

Customer: “Oh, jeeze!”

(Looking over, I saw a teenage boy holding a mystery book that he had just bought and opened. The title of the book was ‘Girls in Love.’)

Dethroning Assumptions

| NY, USA | Books & Reading, Geeks Rule, Movies & TV

(During a quiet moment at work, I overhear a college-aged guy snickering as he watches a woman in her mid-twenties at the next table. She’s reading ‘A Game of Thrones.’)

Woman: *finally sets down the book and smiles politely at him* “Can I help you?”

Guy: *still snickering a little, gesturing to her book* “Let me guess. You’re reading those because of the show, right? And the hot guys on it?”

(This is so out of line that I consider intervening, but before I can, the woman the guy the most condescending smile I’ve ever seen in my life.)

Woman: “I’m sorry. How old are you?”

Guy: “What? Why?”

Woman: “This book came out in 1996. I’m curious to see if you were even alive when it was first published.”

(The guy gapes at her, then scowls, mutters a sexist slur, and gets up to storm out. The woman notices me watching and grins.)

Woman: “This is my fourth time through these books, and I bet you anything I was reading the first one before he even knew how to read. Plus I’m gay, so I actually watch the show for the hot ladies!”

(Faced with this, I do the only thing I possibly can and bow deeply to her.)

Me: “Khaleesi!”

Not What They Pictured

| FL, USA | Extra Stupid, Funny Names

(I’ve been showing my paintings at outdoor art shows for five years. I sell originals and prints, called giclee prints. Increasingly, as people look at my work and ask if I’m the artist, they seem genuinely surprised. Why, I have no idea. A couple of my neighbors and I were just talking about this when two women started flipping madly through my print rack, clearly marked “Giclee Prints (geeclay)” with the sizes and prices.)

Customer: “Is this you?”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Customer: “REALLY?”

Me: “Maybe you ladies can help me with this. We were just talking about how surprised people are that I am the one who painted these. Why is that?”

Customer: “Well, you have to admit, Giclee DOES sound like a boy’s name.”

Me: “Actually, giclee is the name of the process to produce the prints. It’s a French word. I am not giclee.”

Customer: “Well, maybe I want to talk to this Giclee guy. Where is he?”

Making A Bad Impression

, | Japan | Crazy Requests, Military, Politics

(I am the operations manager of an overseas military TV and radio station. In place of regular commercials, we run locally-made information spots. We get feedback through an email system, mostly complaints about stuff out of our control, such as TV shows and music selections. A few months ago, we got an email from an irate listener complaining about a radio spot advertising the base library, where one of the producers did an imitation of former President George W. Bush. He was livid about the disrespect to our former Commander-In-Chief. I responded professionally, explaining we often use humor in our spots to make the information memorable, and the impression was fairly innocuous. He kept emailing back more irate, insulting military broadcasters, questioning our patriotism, accusing us of communism, etc. Finally, he came to our station to personally confront me. The following exchange occurred in our lobby.)

Irate Marine: “Your excuses are just that! The ‘humor’ of that imitation is offensive and disrespectful! How dare you demean the former president!”

Me: “Well, he didn’t seem to think so.”

Irate Marine: “… What?”

Me: *points to framed picture on the wall* “See that?”

(It’s George W. Bush in our production room laughing with a young Marine.)

Irate Marine: “He came here?”

Me: “Years ago, I’m told. See that Marine in the photo? He’s the one who voiced and produced that spot. That photo was taken while he was playing the commercial for The President. He apparently has a better sense of humor about himself than you do.”

Irate Marine: *walks out the door, mumbling* “Well, it’s STILL disrespectful!”

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