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Warning: Take The Advice Of Writers With Caution

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 26, 2022

I’m an aspiring writer. And I have writer’s block. It’s been bugging me for quite a while now, and nothing I do seems to work. I go to a writer friend of mine and ask for advice.

Me: “How do you deal with writer’s block? I mean, you never seem to have it. What’s your secret?”

Friend: “Okay, I’ll show you. Get out your computer and open up your manuscript while I get the stuff.”

He walks out of the room and I do so. He comes back in a few minutes and slams a bottle of wine down onto the table. He pours me a glass.

Friend: “Drink this, and then start writing. Any time you get stuck, take another sip.”

Me: “Seriously? Your magic cure for writer’s block is to get drunk?

Friend: *Shrugs* “It works.”

I give him a deadpan look.

Friend: “Right, remember Julia, the main character of my novel?”

Me: “Yeah, the evil empress.”

Friend: “I wrote most of her backstory while utterly hammered.”

Me: “But Julia’s your best character! The most well-written!”

Friend:Exactly.”

I wordlessly downed the entire glass of wine immediately. My friend silently nodded and refilled the wineglass.

I don’t remember much of what happened next, but I woke up the next morning with a horrible hangover and a significant expansion to my manuscript, which, after editing, I found to be a workable plot.

I haven’t yet had to revisit the bottle, as my muse has somewhat returned, but still, maybe my friend really was onto something.

Normally, We Say, “Eyes On The Road,” But This Is Better

, , , , , | Learning | November 5, 2021

I bought my first car and went to driving school very late. I was nervous, and before the driving lessons, I asked my old friend, who was my age but had already been driving for ten years, to give me a private lesson in his car.

He readily agreed, and we went and found an empty country road where I took the wheel and drove up and down for some hours, just to get the most basic skills, feeling the brakes, clutch, changing gears, etc. My friend was riding shotgun and gently pointed out my mistakes.

After some time, I felt more confident, so I thanked him and asked if there was any general advice he would like to give me before I went to the driving school. He thought deeply for a minute or so.

Friend: “When driving, do not watch the pedals.”

Not what I expected, but trust me, VERY good driving advice!

“Allowed” Doesn’t Mean “Required”

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: GentleBreeze90 | September 29, 2021

I work in a UK electronics store — one of the smallest of this chain in the UK. Non-essential shops have been allowed to reopen; some opened straight away, but others have taken a slower approach to opening.

We’ve been preparing to open next week while on “click and collect” only for this week. The front of the store is plastered in posters stating we are currently closed. We have the door closed off with cones and warning tape. Nonetheless, people keep coming up to the door bemused that it’s not opening automatically.

I am outside doing a job that includes transporting sandbags, and as I am bringing two trolleys of bags into the store, I have to move the cones to clear my path to the door. For some reason, certain types of customers can hear the space between the two cones and home in on it. As I’m moving the bags inside, I see movement in my peripheral view. A guy is barreling toward the front door, staring straight ahead — the standard “I know I’m not supposed to do this, but if no one makes eye contact, I don’t have to stop” move. I step in front of him.

Me: “Hi, anything I can help you with?”

Customer: *Annoyed* “I hope so. I need a printer.”

He tries to continue walking forward, but I get in front of him again.

Me: “Sadly, the shop isn’t open for customers today; however, we are offering click and—”

Customer: *Annoyed again* “The government has said that you have to be open!”

Me: “Well, as I’ve said, we’re only open for click and—”

Customer: “This is unacceptable!”

He stormed off. I was mind blown about how he would have stormed into the store and argued about getting served despite our obviously not being open. Did he think we’d just cave if he argued hard enough?

You’d Butter Forget Those Old Wives’ Tales

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 31, 2021

One Christmas Eve, when I was eleven, I decided to make myself some tea. I put a pan of water on the stove and tried to turn on the burner on our gas stove. The burner wasn’t igniting and so I moved the pan and bent over to check if the pilot went out. Just as I bent over, the burner flared to life and caught my hair and my ear on fire.

I panicked and ran screaming into our front room where my mom was visiting with a friend. My mom stood up and literally smacked the fire out with her hand.

Mom’s Friend: “Put butter on it!”

My mom ignored her and got a wet, cool washcloth for me to put on it.

Mom’s Friend: “[Mom], you should put butter on it.”

After about a minute, my mom took a look at my ear and made the decision to take me to the hospital.

Mom’s Friend: “She doesn’t need a hospital, just butter.”

No butter was used and we went to the hospital. I was seen fairly quickly and it turned out that I had second- and third-degree burns on my ear. Normally, they would want to admit someone with the burns I had, just to be safe, but since it was a holiday and I was a kid, they let me go home with some special burn cream and painkillers. 

Before we left, my mom mentioned to the doctor how her friend kept telling her to put butter on the burn. He was aghast. He wrote a note on the paper they used for sick notes for my mom’s friend detailing why not to put butter on a burn. I was kind of out of it when I got home, so I don’t know if my mom ever gave her friend that note, but I don’t remember her ever saying to put butter on a burn again.

Why Don’t You Leave It To The Experts, Buddy?

, , , , | Working | January 18, 2021

I’m helping support a stand at a work convention for the company I work for. We resell technology from various overseas companies as their UK partner. It’s high-tech, industry-leading stuff. The stand is just to get our name out there.

We get through the morning without incident, and then, I hear my boss mutter:

Boss: “Oh, no, not this guy.” *To me* “I will let you handle this one.”

Me: “What? Who?”

Man: “Hi, [Boss], didn’t know you would be here.”

Boss: *With some mock enthusiasm* “Hi, [Man], good to see you here.”

Man: “So, you have some new technology?”

Boss: “Actually, [My Name] can give you the full introduction.”

Me: “I… Err… Sure. Let me power it up.”

I go through the technical details, benefits, and basic uses. I explain what software it’s compatible with and answer all his questions. I feel like I have done pretty well. But [Man] wants to know more.

Man: “How much is it?”

Me: “Prices will vary for each user depending on training, hardware, and software requirements. I can take some details and someone can go through it with you?”

Boss: “They start at £30,000.”

Man: “Oh, that’s expensive. If you sold them for £5,000, you would sell far more.”

I grapple with his logic and how he thinks companies can just sell things for massive losses, regardless of production or development costs. But my boss interjects again.

Boss: “Thanks, [Man], I will pass it on.”

The man disappears.

Boss: “He always does this; he comes round and acts interested, even calls the office. Then, he tells us how to run the business. He will be going around the whole convention. They nearly banned him last year. But you did fantastically.”

I was put on “[Man] watch” and became a bit of an expert on getting rid of him the quickest.