That Story Was In-Tents

, , , , , | Related | April 20, 2019

(When I am a kid, my family — parents, two brothers, and me — live in an apartment. One night, we have some family friends over. The adults are in the dining room laughing and talking while the kids are all in the bedroom goofing around. From the dining room, it is a straight shot back to the bedroom, so the door is opened and the adults can mostly see everything. We have a bunk bed that one of my brothers and I share and a toddler bed for our little brother. We also have those pop-up parachute-fabric tents that you can create mazes out of. My brother decides the best thing in the world would be to flip one of the tents on its roof and jump off the top bunk into it in his stocking feet. What the adults hear:)

Brother: “Watch this!”

(They hear the bed creak, followed by a thump as he hits the ground. Then, silence.)

Me: “Um, maybe you should go show that to Mom.”

(Mom, whose back is currently to the bedroom, glances at the family friend.)

Mom: “Do I want to know?”

(My brother went running down the hall to tell her all about it. He’d ended up smacking his face on the metal on our little brother’s toddler bed and given himself a bloody nose. All in all, not the worst injury he’s had. He probably wouldn’t have had as much issue if he hadn’t decided to jump into the tent with his socks still on.)

Real Men Don’t Hold Their Children To Bizarre Gender Expectations

, , , , , | Related | April 19, 2019

(I work at a gift shop for a zoo. Today, a young boy, probably around four or five, enters with his parents. The mother tells him he can get one thing, and after a little bit of looking around, the boy reaches for a plush mermaid.)

Boy: “I want this one!”

Mom: “No, you’re a boy. Pick something for boys.”

Boy: “But I want a mermaid!”

Mom: “I said no. You’re a boy. Pick something else!”

(The boy is clearly upset, and his mother is starting to look angry. The boy looks down at the mermaid in his hands again.)

Boy: “But I want this one…”

(The mother takes the mermaid out of his hands, throws it on the shelf, and grabs him by the arm.)

Mom: “Fine. You’re not getting anything, then!”

(She drags the young boy out of the gift shop, and he’s now starting to cry. The father, who was watching all of this in silence with an equally angry look on his face, waits for the mother to get out of view, picks the mermaid up, and comes to my register to pay for it. Before I can say anything, he whispers quietly enough that none of the other children in the shop can hear him.)

Dad: “I’ve had it with that b****. If my son wants a mermaid, my son’s getting a f****** mermaid.”

(He apologized for his wife causing a scene, and I gave him my employee discount for being such an awesome father.)

Nothing Like Peace And Quiet

, , , , , | Related | April 19, 2019

Once or twice a week, my mom will call her parents to check in on them. One day, she tries to call them but the call doesn’t go through. She tries again and the same thing happens. She waits an hour or two before trying again, and she still can’t get a hold of them. She tries on both the home phone and her cell phone. Nothing. Eventually, she calls her brother and asks him if he’s been able to call their parents. He tries and he can’t get through to them, either.

The next day, Mom tries to call her parents a few more times, but still can’t reach them. She decides that if she can’t reach them by the end of the day, then she will drive over to their house the next morning — her day off. My uncle has the same thought, and since he lives closer to them, he drives over to their house that day after he gets off work.

Turns out, there is a setting on my grandparents’ phone that allows them to block all calls. My grandfather was tired of scammers calling his house, so he fiddled around with the phone and found out he could block calls. My mom was relieved when my uncle called and said that they were alive, and they’d just thought their children’s numbers were scam phone calls. It took a few hours, but my uncle and grandfather managed to fix the phone. My grandfather will never live that down.

It’s A Small, Small World, But Not That Small

, , , , , , | Related | April 18, 2019

It was summer and we were loading up to go to Disneyland. My son was six years old and was very excited to see Mickey Mouse.

En route, we found a mall to stop for a bathroom and a chance to stretch our legs.

There was a little play area in the mall with the kiddie rides where you put in a quarter and it bounces you around for thirty seconds. We decided to let the kid have fun because we’d been sitting for a while and he probably needed to blow off some steam.

About ten minutes later, he came up, hugged us both and said, “Thanks for taking me to Disneyland. It was fun even though I didn’t get to meet Mickey Mouse.”

It was very tempting to turn around and save several hundred dollars by pretending the play area was Disneyland, but we continued on our way.

He was even more impressed with the real Disneyland.

And yes, he did meet Mickey Mouse.

Egg-Citing Times When Mom Is Away

, , , , , , | Related | April 17, 2019

When I was young, my mom ended up going out of town for a couple of days, leaving my dad and me to fend for ourselves. At some point during this time, we decided to hard boil some eggs to make egg salad sandwiches for lunch. Unfortunately, neither of us knew how long the eggs should boil — this was before the Internet, so we couldn’t Google it.

I remembered hearing the phrase “three-minute egg” before, so we decided to try that out. Alas, that turned out to be the correct time for a soft-boiled egg and the yolks were still liquid. We put most of the eggs back on to finish, but there was one egg that we’d already peeled before we realized this, and we weren’t sure what to do with it. We didn’t want to put a peeled egg back in the pot, but there was a microwave just sitting there…

Common wisdom states that the egg would now explode in the microwave, but that isn’t exactly what happened. After a minute or two, the egg looked fine and I guessed it was probably done, so we decided to cut it up. I put it on the egg slicer — the kind with an array of metal wires — and pushed down to slice it.  

In my memory, this is the point where things seemed to happen in slow motion. I remember that the egg seemed a bit resistant as if it was more rubbery than it should be, so I pressed down harder. I also vividly remember hearing a soft hissing noise caused by the escaping steam and the sudden realization that something was about to go very wrong. Before I could act on that feeling, however, there was a loud ka-boom!

When everything settled down, it turns out no one was injured, but it was a massive cleanup job. As the egg exploded, it exploded through the wires of the slicer and shredded itself, tossing tiny bits of egg all over the kitchen and even into the dining room next to it.

My dad and I cleaned up everything we could find, finished making our sandwiches, and decided that we didn’t really need to mention this incident to my mother when she got home. However, our secrecy was all for naught, as almost as soon as my mom walked in the door she asked, “Did something happen in the kitchen?” She was slightly shorter than my dad and me, and she was standing there looking up with a puzzled expression, trying to figure out why there were tiny bits of egg yolk stuck to the underside of the cabinets. We came clean immediately, and thankfully she got a laugh out of our culinary incompetence.

Since then, I’ve often wondered if I could standardize the process and create a weaponized egg that explodes on impact. The engineer side of me wants to try it out just for curiosity’s sake. However, the adult side of me can’t really think of a good use for such a thing that would be worth the extensive cleanup involved. I suspect I’m destined to never know more details about how to create such a unique egg explosion.

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