A Physical Education

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 7, 2018

(I was always a clumsy kid, and as such, I’ve experienced my fair share of broken bones. Sixth grade is the first time I’ve ever needed crutches, and, because I am smaller and am considered “weird” by the other kids, I have been dealing with a lot of bullying. A boy steals one of my crutches during gym class for the second time in a week and humiliates me by poking me with it and telling me to chase him for it while the class laughs. I end up in the office, filing an incident report, and it is far from the first I’ve ever filled out.)

Administrator: “Honey, has this been going on for awhile?”

(I nod, still in tears.)

Administrator: “Okay, listen up, baby girl. Next time that boy tries to take your crutch, you have my full permission to take the other one and smack him upside his head with it. Nobody should be treating anybody like that.”

(I was stunned. When the kid got back from in-school suspension two days later, he tried to do it again, calling me “a little snitch b****.” I did what I was told to do, though I missed and ended up hitting him across his backside. He started to cry, and his mother came in the next day to complain, but was promptly told that it was done in self-defence and that he had been harassing me for months before this. The mother threatened legal action, but never went through with it, and the boy never bothered me again. I loved that administrator for sticking her neck out for me.)

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For Something Hot, That Was A Cool Thing To Do

, , , , , | Friendly | April 30, 2018

In a local mall, there is a stand that sells locally-made olive oils, vinegar, barbecue sauce, and hot sauces. The woman working at the stand told me this story.

She has a regular customer, a teenage boy, who likes to sample the sauces and chat with the workers. Apparently this boy has a lot of trouble with his friends, who make fun of him and pressure him into doing things he doesn’t want to do.

One day, the boy came to the stand with his friends. They started messing around, trying the different flavored sauces. They saw a sauce labeled, “Da Bomb,” which is rated at several hundred thousand Scoville units. His friends wanted to try it, but the boy was reluctant, since he knew how hot it was from experience. However, they convinced him to try it, and everyone got a toothpick dipped in the hot sauce. The woman gave the boy a stick with twice as much sauce on it as anyone else, and the boy was horrified. He tried to trade it off with his friends, but the woman was insistent that he eat his hot sauce. With the biggest, saddest, betrayed puppy eyes, the boy ate the hot sauce. “Oh. That wasn’t bad at all,” he said.

His friends were floored, and the group left, patting him on the back for being the King of Hot Sauce.

“It was barbecue sauce,” the woman giggled while telling us. “I hid the bottle under the counter making his stick. He knew what was up when he ate it, and now he gets more respect from his friends!”

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A Snake In Girl’s Clothing

, , , , , , | Learning | April 30, 2018

(For biology, the teacher asks us to pick an animal and do a presentation on it. I have a pet snake, so I ask the teacher if I can bring him. She says yes.)

Classmate: “Hey, [My Name], what’s your paper about?”

Me: “It’s a surprise.”

Jerk Classmate: “Probably some namby-pamby, princess pet.”

(I dress very girly and cute, so people often assume I’m a cry-baby princess. I decide, “Screw it. This guy had it coming,” and take Nosferatu, my pet snake, out of the cage and put him around my neck. I tap on my classmate’s shoulder.)

Jerk Classmate: “What?”

(He turns around, sees my pet, and falls on the floor in shock.)

Me: “Who’s the cry-baby now?”

(I got detention and a B, but hey, I made everyone laugh at him, and he leaves me alone whenever I bring up Nosferatu.)

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It Literally Doesn’t Pay To Bully

, , , , | Learning | April 5, 2018

My older brother set up his own software design company with a friend back in college while I was in high school. He and I were pretty close, so I ended up learning web design from him. The business took off pretty well, and when my older brother started handling more of management, he could afford to “hire” me as a remote intern, since he was operating states away and most of his contacts were nearer to me.

This was before all the “STEM for girls” took off, so computer work was not exactly a hot thing with the girls in my class. Coupled with the fact that I was a nerdy introvert, I was never one of the most popular girls in class, more so when they caught me doing “geek work.” Before I learned about storing things in the cloud, I had “missing” thumb-drives, CDs, and even laptop mice.

Once I graduated, I got into the same college as my older brother, so we ended up working together pretty closely with his friend. His friend took a liking to me, and we ended up dating, He really helped me boost my confidence and, with a fashion blogger sister, I also learned how to be more feminine. Summer rolled around and,. at the request of our college, my brother actually welcomed a group of computer science students to come in to our swanky new office and take a look at how the “unique and multi-disciplinary education at [College] can help you in your future career.” Lo and behold, my bullies were in the list of students, and my brother was only too happy to let me lead the introduction speech and presentation.

My boyfriend was the less active cofounder of the company, so he was the one who brought the group in. Considering he was smartly dressed and had a killer smile — I was a happy victim of them — he easily caught the hearts of most of the female students, especially my bullies. Then came me, practically grinning at the podium, as he introduced me as one of the first employees and his girlfriend. The bullies easily recognised my name, and even more so when I posted my high school photo as part of my introduction.

Unsurprisingly, they stood back and stayed quiet during my entire presentation. When the internship portal at the college opened, it just so happened that my bullies sent in their resumes very last-minute. And I just happened to be the unofficial but main in-charge of training new interns, especially if they have no technical knowledge but have the passion to learn. That means that I also had a hand in picking the lucky interns to the company that pays one of the highest stipends in the portal. (I checked.) My bullies had very basic technical knowledge and barely-passing grades in the courses the company was looking for.

Looks like a certain group of girls will have to settle for another company, if any are willing to take them in.

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They’re Not Making Fine Figure(ine)s Of Themselves

, , , , , , | Right | January 31, 2018

(It’s release day of a game I’ve had pre-ordered for months. I’m mildly autistic and have social anxiety, as well as having busted my arm in a fall five days prior to the incident. I’ve been at home on rest with my arm in a sling. Normally, I would ask my husband to pick up the game, but due to being stuck in the house all week and the need for a pick-me-up, I decide to brave the store and grab the game myself. I reach the store at the shopping centre where I work, and I see that the queue is six feet out of the door. I join it in disbelief.)

Me: “Must be a lot of games coming out today.”

Customer #1: *overhears and turns around* “It’s a black Friday event, so there’s a huge sale on consoles and stuff. I’m here for a PS4.”

Me: “Ah, thanks.”

(I am now wishing I’d gotten here sooner, having heard of the queues and arguments that happen over in the USA around such sales. I wait in line for the best part of half an hour, and the queue grows behind me as I move forward. A mother and her son, who looks to be in his early 20s, join directly behind me and mutter about the length of the line almost constantly. It appears to be moving slowly, but without barricades outside the shop doors, the queue is more of a rabble. As we head inside the doors, we’re corralled into a narrow queue that sorts us into two abreast at the most.)

Customer #2: *very loudly as the queue narrows* “Has that girl always been in front of us? I don’t remember seeing her there before.”

Customer #3: “She probably pushed in. I bet she was behind us.”

(As the queue narrows, they attempt to push me out of the queue entirely, blocking the entry between the barricades by standing next to each other. Thankfully, I move faster than they do and keep my place in the queue, though I’m beginning to become stressed by the sheer mass of people adding to the pain in my arm. I distract myself from their mutterings by making eye contact with the busy staff that rush by, filling orders. Most are regulars at the food shop I work at and recognize me, smiling, which helps with the unease until I tune back into the conversation behind me.)

Customer #2: “That’s horrendously rude, pushing in. We’ve been waiting here for half an hour. She should have to wait as well.”

Customer #3: “Some people just want their games so badly they just don’t care.”

Customer #1: *turning, looking irritated at their raised discussion* “She’s been behind me the entire time. Cool it.”

(I smile at him for his aid; he doesn’t seem to notice and turns back to the front, but the pair quiets down for five minutes or so. Now, the queue has narrowed, and the line seems to be moving faster, though there are only two sales points so progress is still a little painful. I’m four places from the front when they start up again.)

Customer #3: “I bet she thinks it’s fine because she’s hurt herself.”

Customer #2: “I bet she did it on purpose to get attention.”

Customer #3: “It might not even be hurt; she’s not got a cast, just a splint. It’s probably fake.”

Customer #2: “Maybe she’s using it to scam benefits to spend on games.”

Customer #3: “Maybe I should squeeze her arm and see.”

(By this point I’ve had enough. I’m in a lot of pain and under a lot of stress thanks to my anxiety, and on the edge of tears from the comments. I step into the space next to me and motion for them to go ahead of me while trying to keep calm enough to not succumb to a breakdown in public.)

Me: “Please, if your game is so important to you, save yourself thirty seconds and step in front of me already, and shut up. I’ve already waited almost an hour; a few minutes won’t kill me.”

Customer #3: *as they take my place* “About time. You should have just joined the queue like everyone else.”

Customer #2: “Rude b****.”

(I bite my lip, but I can feel myself breaking. I refuse to leave the store after waiting in the line so long, and I try to repress it, but tears still fall. [Customer #1] turns around and gives me a concerned look, but I shrug and shake my head, knowing my breakdown will only get worse if I try to talk about it. Before long, [Customer #1] is called up to a till and the pair are at the front of the line. Looking around at random parts of the shop, trying to calm down, I notice that [Customer #1] has pointed to me and is talking to their cashier, a man I know well. I offer him a weak smile when our eyes meet, and he smiles back before going back to [Customer #1]. I feel embarrassed that everyone I know from this store is going to know I cried in line now. The pair are pulled up to the second register, pick up the single item they pre-ordered: the same game as me. It comes with a free miniature figurine. They leave just as [Customer #1] does, so I head up to the till with the employee I recognize.)

Employee: “Are you all right? The last guy said that pair in front of you were being pretty rude.”

Customer #4: *overhearing at her own cash register and turning around* “They tried to push her out the queue, accused her of faking her arm injury, and insulted her when she stepped aside to let them in front to shut them up.”

Me: “It’s okay. I just want to pick up [Game] and be on my way home. I’ve had enough.”

Employee: *smiling, bags my game* “Unfortunately, we just ran out of figurines to go with pre-orders, but…” *pulls out a figurine from under the desk of his coworker, who has seen the whole exchange at her own till* “…looks like my associate’s last customers forgot theirs, so you can have it.”

Me: *smiles back* “Thank you.”

(While he is still bagging up my order and putting a 10% discount on my transaction for my experience in the queue, the pair comes back into the store and demands their figurine. My clerk turns my transaction over to a colleague, so he can handle the matter as the manager of the store. They are told that the store has run out of figurines, and that they are ejected and permanently banned from the store for upsetting another regular customer by bullying.)

Customer #2: “Well… You’re upsetting my child!” *the 20-something man just looks annoyed he didn’t get his figurine* “We’ll complain to Trading Standards! I know my rights!”

Employee: “Please do. I look forward to regaling them with the whole story.”

(The woman huffed and stormed out, leaving me feeling a little better with a smile on my face. The staff all wished me well before I left. I still have the figure — a small plastic thing, about the height of my thumb, probably only worth 50 pence — it has place of pride on my desk to remind me of the wonderful staff at my local game store!)

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