Had To Go Back And Think About It

, , , , | Learning | June 21, 2017

(My graduate program has several international students, and many are taking English classes to improve their English. In our large common office, it is typical for them to ask the domestic students for help with their English homework. Most days I am glad to help, but sometimes I get busy.)

International Student: “Can you help me? What is the difference between ‘think of’ and ‘think about’?”

Me: *distracted* “I’d love to help, but I have an important deadline in a few hours, so I don’t have time to think of any examples right now. Is it okay if I think about it and get back to you later?”

(Everyone stares at me.)

Officemates: “Did you… Did you do that on purpose?”

Me: “What?” *replays response in my head* “…oh. Nope.”

Hanging Themselves

, , , , , | Learning | June 16, 2017

(We are in math class and this one kid is talking. Note that my math teacher has a sarcastic sense of humor.)

Student: *talking and generally being rude*

Teacher: “Well, [Student], if you think you don’t have to pay attention, why don’t you teach the class?”

Student: “Seriously?”

Teacher: “Sure!” *she hands him her keycard and everything*

Student: “Okay, class, so as Ms. [Teacher] was saying…”

(The teacher sat down in his seat, and started playing hangman with us. By now half the class was playing hangman and the other half was chatting to themselves, no one paying attention to the student. That was the best math class ever!)

Brightening Up Everyone’s Day

, , , | Working | June 14, 2017

(I and several others have started working as part of an office team, and our manager has been doing an induction. He is wearing a ridiculously bright furry jumper that is almost offensive to the eyes. We have all remarked on it in private, but not directly to him. One man in the group takes serious issue with it, criticising him heavily during our lunch break while he isn’t in the room. It has gotten to the end of the work day and induction.)

Manager: “…and that is pretty much it. Any questions?”

Man: “What’s with that jumper? Are you gay or something?”

Manager: *taken aback* “I am, actually, but that isn’t why I wear it.”

Man: “Okay, why then? I don’t want to have to work with THAT—” *pointing* “—assaulting me every day.”

Manager: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Our commercial manager has a daughter who is autistic, and sometimes she has to bring her in if she can’t find a carer. She responds well to bright colours. She doesn’t fuss as much, she’s more comfortable, and it makes her smile. So I have always tried to wear something bright on the off chance that she appears.”

Man: “It isn’t your responsibility to do that.”

Manager: “But it is. Sometimes life deals you a bad hand and you just have to handle it as best you can. I employed [Commercial Manager] because she’s good, and if wearing a silly bright jumper makes her want to stick around a little longer, then that is something I am willing to do.”

(I was actually moved to tears by this, as was everyone else. The man just grunted and since then made it clear he wasn’t interested in mingling with the rest of us. Thankfully he has an office that he doesn’t come out of often. I’ve also taken to wearing bright cardigans to work. They aren’t as bright as our manager’s, but the commercial manager’s daughter seems to appreciate it. It really brightens your day seeing her come in with a smile from ear to ear at you all in acid green.)

This Class Just Went Atomic

, , , , | Learning | June 14, 2017

(I’m TAing a freshman physics class. The professor is brand new, and since he’s still learning his way around a classroom, I’ve been asked to write up my thoughts on his teaching. We’re coming up to the end of the semester, and he’s had a rocky year, but has improved a lot this semester.)

Professor: “Now, does anyone have any questions?”

Student #1: “Yeah, uh… can I ask a question that’s not related to the class?”

Professor: “I suppose so.”

Student #1: “You worked for the government before you came here, right?”

Professor: “Yes, I did. I worked for the Air Force, and for National Institutes of Health, and then–”

Student #1: “But what did you DO?”

Professor: *quiet for a second* “I’m afraid I can’t answer that.”

Class: *intrigued murmurs*

Professor: “Look, I decided to teach so I could get away from some aspects of –”

Student #2: “CAN YOU TEACH US ABOUT NUCLEAR BOMBS?”

Professor: “Uh…”

Student #2: “CAN YOU TEACH US ABOUT NUCLEAR BOMBS IF WE DO GOOD ON THE FINAL?”

Professor: “Fine.”

(The last day of class is supposed to be a debrief of the final exam and question-and-answer time. However, when it arrives…)

Professor: *showing a slide that says ‘TOPIC ONE: FINAL EXAM SCORES’* “I’m sure all of you are excited to find out how you did on the exam. The median was a 94. The highest was 100, and the lowest, I’m very happy to say, was an 89. I’m very pleased with these results.”

(He advances to the next slide: ‘TOPIC TWO: HISTORY, DESIGN, AND THEORY OF ATOMIC WEAPONRY,’ and the class cheers wildly.)

Professor: “As [Student #2] would say: you did good.”

(After the class ends, the TAs are helping him pack up the classroom. When the last of the students have left…)

Professor: “If any of them Google my name, they’re going to work out that I spent my life improving the design of safety railings. How long do you think I can keep up the mysterious government agent act?”

(We all scored him well.

Might Need A New Nickname

, , , , , | Right | June 12, 2017

(I work at a big chain grocery store in the deli. We have several regular customers who are bad enough to earn nicknames. This guy is simply “the a**-hole.” He is always rude and will ask for excessive condiment packets which our manager finally limited because of him. I get to deal with him after the limit was set.)

Customer: “Can I get a corn dog and some mustard?”

Me: “Sure thing.” *packs up the corn dog and four mustard packets, making sure he can see*

Me: *prints the tag* “Here is your corn dog and I gave you four packets of mustard in the bag.”

Customer: *snatching the bag from me* “Can I get more mustard and some ketchup, too?”

Me: *grabs two packets of ketchup* “I can give you the ketchup, but I can’t give you any more mustard.”

Customer: “What the f***? Give me some more.”

Me: *used to the swearing and bad attitude from him* “Sorry, but we have a limit on how many packets per customer. I actually gave you more than I am supposed to.”

Customer: *goes off on a rant full of swearing*

Me: *upset and annoyed, I don’t even try to pretend to be nice* “Can I get you anything else today?”

Customer: “F*** you, you f****** b****!”

Me: “Have a nice day, sir.”

(As we only have one other customer and my coworker is with them, I quickly walk away before letting my language slip, but can’t manage to shake off the insults. I am not being paid enough to put up with his BS and still be nice to him. The next few times he comes in, I don’t even bother to put up a fake smile for him. He always grumbles about the condiment limit and I ignore him and move on to the next customer, all smiles again. Surprisingly, he not only notices, but it turns out he cared because after a couple weeks, this happens while I’m alone.)

Customer: *rushes up to my counter as I finish up with a customer* “Hey!”

(I think, “here we go again” and take a deep breath, but before I can say anything:)

Customer: “No, no, no. I don’t want to buy anything. I just wanted to say I’m really sorry.”

Me: *genuinely surprised* “Oh? Um… okay.”

Customer: “I’ve been having a really bad couple of weeks and I’ve been an a**-hole to you. I’m really sorry. You’re just doing you’re job I won’t do it again. Do you think we can be friends?”

Me: *completely taken aback* “Um… yeah. Sure. Thank you for apologizing. Do you need anything today?”

Customer: “No, I just wanted to make sure I’d catch you whIle you were working.”

(He left and my coworkers came back a few minutes later.  I told them “the a**-hole apologized” and they didn’t believe me until I told the story. He was never rude to me or anyone else after that. I have no idea what caused it, but it was a nice change!)

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