X-tra Stupid

| Madison, WI, USA | Learning | February 14, 2017

(While finishing my Master’s in 2009, I am volunteering at an academic conference. My job is to make sure organize the presenters’ files, and to run our audio recording software that syncs with PowerPoint. It is the lunch break.)

Me: “Hello, everybody. I’m sorry but we are having a problem with our recording software. It doesn’t work with the newer PPTX format so could you please convert your slides into PPT and re-submit them? Thank you.”

(Shortly afterward, another student comes up to me.)

Student: “I was trying to convert my PowerPoint into PPT like you said, so I deleted the X at the end of the filename, but now it won’t open at all.”

Google Your History

| Paris, France | Working | October 31, 2016

(My coworker and I are talking about one of the famous scientists at this conference who happens to have the same name as an American burger chain, although the scientist is from South Africa.)

Coworker: “You would think parents would at least Google their kids’ names.”

Me: “Think about what you just said. She’s a middle-aged lady.”

Coworker: “[Burger Chain] has been around for a long time. I would guess it still existed then.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure Google didn’t!”

Curse Of The Irish Accent

| London, England, UK | Friendly | September 2, 2016

(I have a terrible “social memory.” I’m rubbish at accents, names, faces, and remembering details about people’s lives. I meet a guy at a conference who works in my industry. I’ve known him for over a year; we get on really well and usually have a drink or ten at overnight conferences. We are chatting at lunch.)

Me: “What part of England are you from again?”

Guy: *looking shocked* “I’m from [same IRISH town as I’m from]! Come on, I’ve told you that before.”

Me: “Was I drunk at the time, though?”

Guy: “But… could you not tell from the accent?”

Me: “I never noticed you had an accent. Oh, that’s probably because it’s the same as mine.”

Memento Mommy

| London, England, UK | Related | March 25, 2016

(I’m 18, attending a Marxism conference with my mum as an attendee for the first time. While my parents took me most years when I was younger, I stayed in the crèche while they attended talks, and haven’t been in about 10 years. We’re in the grounds of the university it’s held in, looking for our next talk, when we spot an old friend of my parents…)

Mum: “Oh! Look, [My Name], it’s [Friend]!”

Friend: “Hi, [Mum]! I haven’t seen you in years; is this your son? He’s a lot bigger than I remember!”

Mum: “Oh, yes, this is [My Name]. [My Name], you remember friend, right?”

Me: *very dryly* “Not even a little I’m afraid. How old was I when we last met?”

Mum: “Oh, you must have been three or four years old. She used to babysit you, remember?”

Me: “Mum, I don’t remember anything from before I was about six…”

(We must have met 10 or 15 old friends she hadn’t seen in years, yet this conversation was repeated nearly every time…)

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