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The Stagehands Can But Make A Fire (Extinguisher) Of Him…

, , , , , , , | Working | January 20, 2023

In the late 1990s, I worked as a production assistant for a company that did an outdoor Shakespeare show every summer. The year I worked there, the show was “Julius Caesar”.

At one point during the show, while Caesar was giving a speech, several actors onstage held lit lanterns on long poles — none of those fake battery-operated lights but real live fire in the lanterns. Best practices dictated that we have a stagehand standing just offstage with a fire extinguisher the entire time those lanterns were lit.

One night, while this scene was occurring and Caesar was giving his speech, one of the lanterns broke and hit the stage, still lit. The stagehand immediately stepped onstage and shot the lantern with a blast from his fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

There was a moment of stunned silence from everyone: the stagehand, the actors, and the audience. And then Caesar, gravely and sincerely, turned to the stagehand and exclaimed:

Caesar: “Thank you, citizen!”

And he promptly turned back to the audience and returned to his speech without missing another beat. 

It was one of the most masterful recoveries from an onstage problem I’ve ever seen.

Should’ve Taken That Yes When She Had The Chance

, , , , , , , , , , | Working | January 16, 2023

I went for a job interview at a college for a position as a Lab Technician. The Ph.D. boss did mention that the lab techs all work eighty-hour weeks for a salary of $21,000, even though it was a big-name university. But the interview went well otherwise.

Me: “Yes, I’ll take the job.”

Boss: “I want you to wait a few days and think about it.”

A few days later, she called me and said the salary had dropped to $17,000 — actually standard for peon lab techs — but ever eager, I said:

Me: “Yes! I’ll take the job!”

Boss: “No, I want you to take a few more days and think about it, and I’ll call you back.”

The next day, I accepted a different $21,000 salary job, so when she called with a third offer of a $10,000 salary per year, saying that I could also work for another research lab to make enough money to pay rent, I politely declined. Cue the outrage.

Boss: “How dare you lead me on like that?!”

I ran into her and her terrified and stressed lab tech crew years later and confirmed that I had dodged a bullet when I walked away.

The Gates Of Kindness

, , , , , , | Right | January 6, 2023

My mom was flying back from a relative’s wedding and was stressing out over stuff. She accidentally left her phone in a bathroom… realizing only after reaching the baggage claim, past security, which of course she couldn’t get past without a ticket. The information services desk told her to try to find a cleaner who would be allowed back through security.

She and my dad looked but didn’t see one. They went to the exit where people were coming out of the secure area and stopped some women, asking if they were in a rush and explaining the situation.

Meanwhile, Dad called the phone, and someone picked up and told them what gate they were at. The helpful women rushed over there, retrieving the phone and saving the day.

A bit of genuine kindness from people makes a stressful day better.

Toughman Versus Racist: A Foregone Conclusion

, , , , , , , , | Right | December 30, 2022

I’m in a sports bar, and playing on one of the screens is a show called “Toughman Contest.” The premise is novice amateur boxers competing against each to test their skills.

One of the contestants is a Black man in magnificent physical shape with amazing brute strength, plowing his opponents over like a tank and scoring knockouts in the first minute. It’s amazing that boxing promoters aren’t beating this guy’s door down!

A trio of guys is standing next to me, watching as well. One of them speaks up.

Guy: “Bulls***! Put the [racist slur] up against an in-shape and well-trained white guy and let’s see how long he’d last! Guarantee you, it’d be over by the second round!”

Me: “How about you step in the ring with him, call him that to his face, and see how long you’d last?!”

Other Patron: *Chiming in* “Guarantee you, it’d be over by the second punch!

Other patrons glared at the guy. It quickly became obvious that they’d just made a frosty environment for themselves; they took the cue to quietly slink over to a table in the back and shut up for the rest of the time they were there.

It’s Like The Days Of Radio Dramas

, , , , , | Working | November 15, 2022

I’m sitting at the gate at the airport. I’ve been largely ignoring the PA since they’ve been making boarding announcements for another flight at a neighboring gate. Then, I hear something over the PA that catches my attention.

Airline Employee #1: “I didn’t know you had friends.”

A few people in the waiting area laugh. A few moments later, we hear another announcement.

Airline Employee #2: “I have a lot of friends!”

More laughter.

Airline Employee #3: “Only someone without friends would say that.”

Airline Employee #1: “How much do you pay the ones you have?”

I repeat: this entire conversation happened OVER THE PA, broadcasted to everyone in the multi-gate waiting area. Much to my disappointment, at this point, the employees stopped using the microphone to joke around, but it certainly did break up the monotony of waiting for my flight.