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There’s Never A Wrong Time To Be Spiderman

, , , , | Learning | November 3, 2021

I was a librarian at a university. I was standing near the information desk, which is staffed by a student worker, when another student walked by dressed from head to toe in a Spiderman costume. This was nowhere near Halloween.

Student Worker: “Did you see him, too?”

That’s One Wholesome Coping Mechanism

, , , , , | Friendly | November 2, 2021

When I first started college in the early 2000s, people in my dorm “warned” me about a curious character that would randomly appear around campus at the wee hours of the morning — usually two or three in the morning — wearing a teddy bear costume, happily prancing around with balloons tied to her wrist, and hugging random strangers she would encounter. This was a town of fewer than 10,000 residents, and violent crimes were virtually unheard of; safety was not a particular issue.

People determined that it was highly probable that it was a female because of the physical stature of the mysterious person and because a few reported gathering a whiff of perfume when she hugged them. Despite the fact that she had been doing it for years, no one had any clue as to her identity or why she was doing it. Making it even more difficult was the fact that she didn’t have a routine; each encounter was a complete chance encounter, and sometimes, no one would see her for months. Even more interesting, if you tried to follow her and she noticed, she would immediately bolt and vanish with what appeared to be a planned “escape route.”

Creepy, yet fascinating.

I didn’t think much of it until one late night when I was heading home from hanging with some buddies, and right from behind a corner of a building ahead of me, a teddy bear head popped out! Startled, I froze, and she pranced out in front of me — balloons tied to her wrist as everyone said — and started doing little jumps in the air and waving at me!

Then, as they said she would, she stretched her arms out for a hug. Not quite knowing how to react, I reached my arms out, and she sprang forward and hugged me like we were best friends! She then waved goodbye and skipped away into the night.

Over the next three years, I had about four more random chance encounters with her, each one of them with her either prancing and skipping over to me and hugging me or popping up from behind a structure somewhere, doing a happy dance, and then stretching her arms out for a hug.

Her mysterious identity continued to fascinate the students on the campus, to the point where there were mentions of her in the school newspaper and someone even offered a $50 reward to anyone who found her identity.

Then, one night, I was out and noticed a figure bolting like a bat out of Hell across a parking lot and fading into an adjacent wooded area. Moments later, I heard a sickening wailing and moaning emanating from the wooded area; clearly, someone was injured.

I made my way over to find the girl in the teddy bear costume laying on the ground, apparently having tripped over something and seriously injuring herself. I helped her up and partially carried her back out into the parking lot, as she had apparently broken her ankle. I phoned for an ambulance and as we waited, I eventually coaxed her into taking off the headpiece of the costume. 

Everyone was correct that it was indeed a female, and interestingly — but not surprisingly — she looked like any average girl in her late teens to early twenties. She refused to answer any questions about her identity or what her motive behind all of this was.

When I called the police a few days later to make sure that she was okay, I was told that while she was virtually unheard of amongst the student population, she was actually known throughout the local police department. As it turns out, she suffered from schizophrenia, and to relieve some of her psychotic episodes, she found it soothing to give people hugs. Why she chose the nearby college campus (and always late at night) to do that was not immediately clear, but they guessed that she chose to dress up in a teddy bear suit to make herself look more charming and less threatening to other people.

No one saw her again after that, and out of respect for the circumstances, I chose to keep that encounter and her identity secret.

A Riveting Historical Account

, , , , , | Learning | October 18, 2021

This story happened to my wife when she was taking an oral exam at university. The subject in question was the early modern period — about 1450 to 1800. The professor in question was a kindly old man, the gentle grandfather type. The setting in question was a stuffy room in a concrete brutalist building on a warm day in June.

My wife had to give an overview of the English monarchy in the early modern period, which is a pretty daunting question. She started with the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII, etc. Meanwhile, the professor was listening with his eyes closed, nodding and murmuring agreement.

After my wife got to the English Civil War, she was struggling to recount more and ended her answer by telling the professor that this was about all she knew, silently hoping it would be enough to pass the exam. To her horror, there came no reply from the other side of the desk, only an old professor with his eyes closed, silent.

She coughed and got a soft snoring sound as a reply. She turned around to the other students in the room that were preparing their exams, but all the help she got was some muffled laughs.

My wife coughed again and scraped her chair across the floor until the old guy opened his eyes, saying, “Yes, miss, what you told me about the House of Hannover is correct.” My wife said her goodbyes and left the room, baffled.

She passed her exam, so whatever she was saying until the professor fell asleep made enough sense that he finished replying to his own question in his head.

This Professor Should Consider A Profession That Doesn’t Involve People

, , , , | Learning | October 14, 2021

I’m in an engineering class in college. The professor is not well-liked by the students or other staff, mainly because he’s lazy and rude. He once listed all the work that needed to be done on the syllabus but nothing was due until the last week of class. Two weeks before the end of the semester, he announced that there was no possible way he could grade all of the work before grades needed to be submitted, so he changed the final project to a ten-minute presentation detailing what we learned from the entire semester. Mind you, there were essays, other projects, and other homework listed in the syllabus that most of us had done and were waiting to submit. All of that work was now not needed and had been replaced by a ten-minute presentation. The procrastinators were ecstatic, but those of us who had actually done the work were pissed. All that work we had done was now worth NOTHING! We all passed with flying colors just by copy and pasting the syllabus objectives and BSing the rest of the presentation.

Another time, the entire class was gathered around the work table. One of my classmates just happened to be a woman who was eight and a half months pregnant, and it was obvious that this was the case. The professor was talking and paused, presumably to invite someone to answer. She began to speak when he held up a finger and stuck it in her face. 

Professor: “Hold on, I was having a pregnant pause.”


Both Involve Opening The Hatch And Tossing In Some Liquid

, , , , | Related | October 7, 2021

When I am away at college, smartphones are just becoming a thing, but I don’t have one to look things up spur-of-the-moment. One afternoon, right after I turned twenty-one, I decide I want to try making my dad’s family-famous margarita recipe, so I text him.

Me: “Hey, Dad, can you send me your margarita recipe?”

I quickly move on to chores while I wait for his response. I have never before had occasion to open my new car’s hood myself, but I need to refill the wiper fluid. I spend a few minutes trying and failing to open the car’s hood — failing to know or look up that there is a latch — so I text my dad again shortly after my first text.

Me: “Do you know how the hood of my car opens?”

I get a reply pretty quickly.

Dad: “The length of time between those texts concerns me.”

It was just his dry humor; he knows I don’t drink and drive. He did send me the recipe, and ten years later, I at least know how to do simple things like open a car hood.