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Oy Gevalt!

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | February 7, 2022

A few Yiddish-speaking relatives of mine moved to the USA during World War II, not particularly speaking English. Some years after they arrived, someone from the home country who only spoke Yiddish came for a visit. By this time, the original folks had learned what is technically English but is spoken with Yiddish grammar and such a thick Yiddish accent as to practically be a language all its own. This language was fairly commonly spoken in their neighborhood.

Their visitor wanted to purchase some food item and my relatives sent her off to find the store: Achrusdestrit.

Out went the visitor who politely inquired of a passerby, “Achrusdestrit?” Fortunately, the person seemed to have heard of the store because they pointed to the other side of the block. The visitor happily headed off in that direction. 

However, after wandering for a while and not seeing any place with a name on it that seemed right, they asked someone else, “Achrusdestrit?” And again, the neighbor had heard of it and pointed… to the other side of the block. The visitor headed off in that direction, but again, no dice.

This repeated for about half an hour, I believe, until the visitor came back home, incredibly frustrated.

It wasn’t until years later when my relatives’ English improved even more that they were able to more clearly point out to visitors that the closest grocery store was “across the street.”

How To Never, Ever, Ever Get A Date

, , , , , | Friendly | December 21, 2021

I’m walking to work one morning. A guy driving past calls out:

Guy: “Hey, pretty lady!”

I smile and nod, but nothing more. It’s standard catcalling, except…

He proceeds to follow me for ten solid blocks, continuing to call out to me despite my ignoring him, asking for my name, phone number, etc. It doesn’t take long for me to get annoyed, and by the time he demands to know, “Why are you being so antisocial?”, I’m beginning to get frightened. Luckily, by this point, I’ve arrived at work and managed to evade him.

I don’t think about it until a few days later when it happens again. 

This time, he follows me as I’m walking home, again heedless of the fact that I’m ignoring him and that he’s holding up traffic. All I can do is keep my head down and walk as fast as possible, hoping he’ll finally take a hint and leave me alone and/or that I can get home safely.

Suddenly, I hear a car door slam and I look up to see that he’s pulled over, has gotten out of the car, and is coming toward me.

Thoroughly frightened and completely fed up, I scream as loudly as I can:

Me: “Leave me alone! You’re scaring me!”

He has the nerve to look completely shocked.

Guy: *As if I’m overreacting* “You don’t have to be scared!”

It’s been six months, and while he hasn’t bothered me since, I still jump every time I see a white SUV, wondering if he’s lurking around and waiting to strike.

The Great Bagel Caper

, , , , , , | Working | November 25, 2021

I am a customer at a local bagel shop. I always get the same thing, but there’s a kid, probably sixteen or seventeen, behind the counter, who I haven’t seen before.

I tell him my order and watch him write it down, but he mishears me and writes “papers.” His coworker, who I have seen several times, has to correct him.

He had never heard of capers, but sure, it made sense to put papers on a bagel.

We Want To Hear The Rest Of That Woman’s Story!

, , , , , | Legal | July 18, 2021

When I was fresh out of college, I got called up for jury duty. It was actually a pretty fascinating experience and I highly recommend it. Some of the people I served with, though, were… interesting.

We’d agreed on most of the fourteen or so criminal charges in the case, including two of the three counts of child endangerment. Now, we were discussing the final of those. One of the criteria we were told for being guilty of this particular charge was that the child had to feel endangered. The child in this case was a baby. All but one of us concluded that, due to the particular circumstances, the baby had no idea what was going on and thus didn’t feel endangered and thus the person wasn’t guilty of this particular charge.

The holdout was a woman from the Caribbean — I forget where precisely. I point this out only to explain the sentence structure of her argument since English was her second language or perhaps even third. This is how the argument went, verbatim.

Woman: “When I was in my country, one day, I try to feed my baby. He wouldn’t take the breast! Wouldn’t take the breast!” *Pauses* “Lightning come down, set fire to the house!”

The Rest Of Us: “…”

Woman: “…”

The Rest Of Us: “…”

Me: *Grasping at straws* “Um…okay, so… you’re saying that babies have some kind of sixth sense about what is going on around them, so this baby knew that the man was threatening him even though the baby’s mother wasn’t really worried about the guy?”

Woman: “YES! Babies know!”

Everyone else proclaimed their disbelief.

Me: “Okay, why don’t we move on to the other charges and come back to this one later?”

Eventually, we were able to convince her that, in this case, lightning not come down, not set fire to the house, as far as this baby was concerned.

This story is part of our Best Of July 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of July 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of July 2021 roundup!

No Shortage Of Gas Here

, , , , , , | Working | June 2, 2021

My carbonated water machine has run out of gas so I bring the cylinder in to exchange it for a full one. I see a set of boxes of the cylinders I need, but in front of them is a sign that says, “If you are exchanging cylinders, do not take one of these boxes. Please go to the checkout to exchange.” So, I do. I tell the woman at my register that I am exchanging my cylinder and she starts processing the exchange as I’m extracting my old one from my bag. Then, the cashier at the next register speaks to me.

Cashier #2: “If you are exchanging, you just come up here; you don’t get one of those boxes.” 

My cashier and I both look at her, confused.

Me: “That is literally what I am doing right now.”

Cashier #2: “Those boxes aren’t for exchanging.”

Cashier #1: “She didn’t bring a box.”

Cashier #2: “You just come up to the registers with your old cylinder. We have to give you the new ones from ones we have behind the counter.”

Me: “Again, that is exactly what I am doing. I do not have a box. I read the sign.”

Cashiers #1 & #2: “There’s a sign?”

Me: “Yes.”

I tell them what it says.

Me: “And that is why I came straight up to the registers and did not bring a box.”

My cashier is finishing up my transaction.

Cashier #2: “You don’t take the boxes—”

My cashier interrupts her to start chewing her out a bit.

Cashier #1: “Why are you telling her to do something she already did?” 

They were still discussing it as I left. Not sure what was so confusing about me doing what I was supposed to, not having the thing I wasn’t supposed to, and already being helped by someone else who wasn’t having any trouble.