It’s Pretty Clear Who The “Bad Guy” Is

, , , , , , | Related | May 12, 2020

For the record, I still don’t know if I’m the good or the bad guy in this story. While I’m proud of myself for finally speaking my mind, I recognize that my actions were incredibly unprofessional.

Some background is required. Several years ago, I was part of a group of friends who met at [Person #1]’s house to play board games once a week. After several months with this group, I was let in on the Big Secret: [Person #1] was cheating on his wife with [Person #2]. I was let in on this secret in order for [Person #1] and [Person #2] to be able to act like a couple in front of the group of friends away from [Person #1]’s wife and discuss their relationship without having to hide the affair around the group.

The expectation was that I would keep the Big Secret. I was incredibly uncomfortable with this arrangement; I hadn’t asked for the information and did not want it. I think affairs are horrible and I felt terrible for [Person #1]’s wife. Things went sour shortly afterward, and I ended up leaving the group feeling extremely bitter. I should point out, however, that I never gave up the Big Secret.

Fast forward to this year. I work for an internationally-known gaming convention at the front desk, and this year I am taking time cards as the convention comes to a close. With this convention, employees go by pseudonyms instead of our real names. Someone I vaguely recognize hands me their time card. He looks at me and as I start to realize who it is, he says, “Do you remember me?” Just as I figure out who he is, he says, “You used to come over to my house to play board games.”

Yes, it is [Person #1]. I reply with, “And you’re cheating on your wife.” It just flies out of my mouth before I realize what I’m saying. He grows cold, says, “Yes, I am,” and walks off.

I’ve already handed the time card to my immediate supervisor, so I ask her to rifle through the cards. She pulls one out and reads his real name, and I start cursing. I start imagining all the different kinds of trouble I’m going to get in for being so rude to a coworker. I explain everything to my supervisor, and she advises me to walk around the expo hall for the next hour to calm down. I do as she recommends, and when I come back, I talk to the manager of all of the convention employees.

I explain to the manager my shared history with [Person #1], and before I can finish telling her what happened an hour earlier, she starts laughing! She says she finds the whole thing hilarious and that she would have done the exact same thing I did. [Person #1]’s behavior is disgusting and I have nothing to worry about. What a relief!

I go back to work with a huge weight off my shoulders. Because I went right to the top, I’m safe if [Person #1] complains to his immediate supervisor. And hey, I finally got to speak my mind!

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A Healthy Vocabulary

, , , , , , | Related | May 12, 2020

I was born with a host of congenital birth defects and spent the first six years of my life confined to a wheelchair. I was a patient at a nationally-known philanthropic children’s hospital and they flew me in once a year for followup procedures and the like. 

The hospital was located in Salt Lake City, which is also known for being the location of the headquarters for a certain religious movement.

After one of these yearly followups, my mother and I were at the airport to fly home. I was five years old. It had been a long week, my mother was exhausted, and I was being a handful. So, finally, my mother wheeled me to the window and told me to watch for when our plane came in in an effort to get me to quiet down.

Everyone else at our gate was a group of religious missionaries reading their holy books, so the entire gate was pretty quiet.

Soon, I saw the plane taxi into our gate and I called out to my mother, “MOM! MOM! THE PLANE IS HERE! AND BOY, IS IT A BIG MOTHERF*****!”

The only sound that could be heard after that was the sound of the aforementioned holy books slamming shut.

My mother wished the earth would just open up and swallow her right then. She walked over, grabbed my chair, and took me right into the bathroom where my rear was warmed soundly. Afterward, she asked where I’d heard that word and I told her that some of my older cousins and their friends use that word all the time. Their father got quite an earful from my mother later.

Fast forward to a year later. We arrived at the airport to go back to the hospital and my mother said, “Sweetie, do you remember this place?”

I looked up at her with huge eyes and responded, “Yeah! This is the place where you can’t say no bad words!”

My mother just about lost it.

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Parents, Man

, , , , , , | Related | May 11, 2020

I’m a transman. Before realising I wanted to transition when I was twenty, I struggled with my sexuality, believing myself to be a lesbian, which my parents — of course — passed off as a phase, before I realized I was “sort of bisexual.” (My actual sexuality is more complex than that, as I understood some years later.)

After I’ve been living as male for a while, I have a long-distance relationship with a lovely woman for a couple of years. It fizzles out, and a while later, I start talking to a sweet guy online.

Here is how my mother and my stepfather take that.

Mother: “Oh, did I tell you that [Older Cousin] is getting married?”

Me: “No? I didn’t even know she’d been seeing anyone since she broke up with her last boyfriend.”

Mother: “Yeah, he works in the medical industry. Quite well off. He’s called John.”

Me: “Huh. I’ve been talking to a guy called John who’s interested in me.”

Mother: “Wait. Really?”

Me: “Yes?”

Mother: “I thought you were straight now.”

Me: “What?!”

Mother: “I mean, after [Ex-Girlfriend]—”

Me: “I’ve always been into both men and women! That hasn’t changed because I finally had a longer-than-brief relationship with a woman!”

Mother: “Oh. Well, how do you know he’s really into you?”

Me: “…”

Mother: “I mean… what if he just wants—” 

She gestures towards my crotch.

Me: “Because. He’s. Gay.”

Also, I don’t think most straight men want to sleep with someone who is a man, and both looks and sounds like it, simply because he has a vagina. Come on, now.

After I get with this guy, this happens.

Mother: “I told your dad—” *meaning my stepfather* “—about you and John.”

Me: “Oh?”

Mother: “Yeah, he didn’t get it.”

Me: “What’s not to get?”

Mother: “Well, he doesn’t understand what the point of being a man is if you’re just going to have a relationship with a man anyway.”

Me: *Pause* “Oh, my God.”

Anyway, “John” and I eventually got married, once we were legally able to. He’s pretty fantastic. My parents behaved terribly on our wedding day, and that was the final straw on top of a whole bale of being awful. I’ve cut ties with them, and that’s also been pretty excellent!

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A Fitting And Tasty Tribute

, , , , , , , | Related | May 11, 2020

My grandma was… eccentric, to put it mildly. She was a slight kleptomaniac, she took no s*** from anyone, she raised eight kids alone after her husband died, she worked at a chocolate factory for thirty years because it meant that she and her kids had a steady supply of candy, and she absolutely loved throwing parties and having people over.

When she dies, we decide to throw her the best wake we can, and as such, almost everyone who comes brings cookies, coffee, soda, sandwiches, PLENTY of chocolate, and maybe a flask or two. The funeral home has a couple of sitting areas set up in the basement, so we stake one out and turn the wake into an all-day affair, with people coming in and out as they can. 

A couple of other wakes are going on, as well, and toward the evening, we notice a little boy from another wake, maybe seven years old, sneak over to the sitting area we’re using, steal a couple of cookies, and run back.

Me: “Did he just…?”

Aunt: “Yeah. Man, I would not have had the guts to do that at his age!”

Cousin: “To be fair, that family has been here for at least five hours; that’s pretty long for a kid that young.”

Aunt: “And we definitely have the better snacks!”

I look, and sure enough, the sitting area that the other family is using has coffee and a veggie plate — nowhere near as attractive to a little kid as our overflowing array of goodies.

Me: “You know, I think Grandma would’ve approved. Remember when she stole the serving plate from the restaurant at [Uncle]’s wedding?”

That led into another round of stories about my crazy, awesome grandma and got us laughing too hard to be too upset. When his parents came down, the little boy kept glancing over, wondering if we were going to tell on him, but it was so much like something my grandma would’ve done that we couldn’t be annoyed. It was a nice laugh when we badly needed one!

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Take A Deep Breath

, , , , , | Related | May 10, 2020

This takes place before the recent disease outbreak hits the US shores but is still making big headlines all over the evening news, which my elderly mother watches religiously. She’s also an avid Facebook user and believes that anything on Facebook is true.

One afternoon, I help my mother open Amazon packages and put her new over-the-counter meds away. At the end, I gather all of the air-filled packing pillows that came in the box

Me: “Oh, boy! I have air pillows to pop!”

Mom: *Suddenly angry and anxious* “DO NOT POP THOSE IN HERE!”

Me: “Why? What’s wrong with popping the air pillows?”

Mom: “Don’t you know?! I saw it on Facebook! Those are manufactured in China! They’re filled with Chinese air! We could get that awful illness!”

I stand there for a moment, my brain trying to make sense of what she said.

Me: “Mom, these air pockets came from Amazon. They’re filled in the Amazon warehouse. I’ve seen them do it! So, these are filled with—” 

I look at the box code.

Me: “—Dallas air, not Chinese.”

She stares at me for a moment.

Mom: “Are you sure?”

Me: “I’m 100% sure, mom. Remember, I worked at the local warehouse a few years ago. They have a little machine that fills them on demand right there in the warehouse.”

Mom: “Oh. Okay. You can pop those, then.”

Of course, now, every time we get packages with the air packing pillows, I show them to my mom and jokingly ask, “Do you want some Chinese air?” She is NOT amused.

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