Can’t Put Her Finger On The Problem

| Milwaukee, WI, USA | Right | October 8, 2013

(I work at the touch tank at a local aquarium. We invite guests to dip their fingers in and stroke the aquatic life as they swim past, provided they don’t put in more than two fingers at a time so as not to overwhelm the animals.)

Me: “And over here we have lake sturgeon and blue gill, both native to our own Lake Michigan!”

Guest: “What are these?” *points to starfish tank*

Me: “Those are red knobbed starfish, ma’am. They’re native to the Indian Ocean.”

Guest: “And I can touch them?”

Me: “Absolutely! We only ask that you use two fingers at a time.”

(The guest nods and proceeds to stick her thumb and forefinger into the tank, pull the starfish out, shake the water off it, and place it in her purse.)

Me: “Ma’am! Taking the marine life out of the tank is very dangerous! Please! I’m going to have to ask that you put it back!”

Guest: “But I wanted to take it home.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s a living creature you have there. We can’t just let people reach in and take out our animals!”

Guest: “I only used two fingers!”

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Proposition 8 Makes No Sense At 9

| Baltimore, MD, USA | Related | February 25, 2013

(My sister and her family live several states away so we don’t get to see them much. During a visit, my parents take my nephews, who are 9 and 8 years old, to the aquarium. My dad and the youngest go to use the restroom leaving my mom and the 9 year old to chat.)

Mom: “So, do you do stuff like this with your other grandparents?”

Nephew: “No, the only place they really bring us is church… but I don’t really like the pastor there.”

Mom: “Oh, why not?”

Nephew: “Well he’s against gays… and Uncle Brad is gay… and I’m for Uncle Brad.”

(When I was told about this conversation later the evening I gave my nephew a big hug for standing up for his Uncle Brad.)

Better Keep Him At Arm’s Length

| Philadelphia, PA, USA | Right | July 20, 2012

(I work at an aquarium. I am petting one of the starfishes in the touch tank when a middle-aged man comes up to the tank. A coworker working the tank is telling us facts about starfishes).

Coworker: “A really interesting aspect about these guys is that if one of their arms was severed, they could grow another one.”

Middle-aged Man: “So, you mean that if I cut off one of its arms it would grow right back?”

Coworker: “Well yes, but—”

Middle-aged Man: “What if I cut off TWO of its arms? Would they still grow back?”

Coworker: “Well, I’m—”

Middle-aged Man: “I know! I will cut off ALL of its arms! Let’s see if it can rebound from that!”

Coworker: *freaked out* “Thank you for all the interest everyone, but the touch tank is now closed for the day!” *moves all the starfish back towards him and closes the tank*

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Size Matters, Part 7

| Chicago, IL, USA | Right | April 4, 2012

Small child: “Mommy! I just saw a fish that was as big as Aunt Karen!”

Mom: “There is NO fish that’s as big as Aunt Karen.”


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He’ll Grow Up To Be A Fine Customer (From Hell) One Day

| Newport, OR, USA | Right | March 23, 2012

(I’m helping visitors touch some of the animals on exhibit. One of the boys in the crowd is getting too rowdy with the snake I have out.)

Me: “I’m going to need you to step back so someone else can have a turn.”

Boy: “Why?”

Me: “You’re being a little to rough with the animal. You can come back later, though.”


Me: “Um…how?”

Boy: “It’s because I’m black!”

(Note: I’m white, and so is the boy.)

Me: “Um, you’re white.”

Boy: “Oh, so now you’re being a reverse racist!” *storms away*

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